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Who is Jasmine Paolini, and can she become the smallest Grand Slam champion ever?

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Jasmine Paolini, born on January 4, 1996, in Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, Tuscany, shocked many by making it to the finals at Roland Garros. She began playing tennis at the age of five and also enjoyed swimming. Her father is Italian, and her mother has roots in Ghana, Denmark, and Poland. Jasmine is fluent in Polish, which allows her to communicate well with fellow tennis player Iga Šviontek, whom she will face off against in the final.

Jasmine reached the top 50 two years ago after winning the title in Portorož. She was coached by Renzo Furlan, a former 19th-ranked tennis player in the world. Although it was expected that she would reach her peak then, Jasmine continued to improve and has shown marked progress later in her career.

(COMBO) This combination of pictures created on June 6, 2024, shows (L) Italy's Jasmine Paolini celebrating after winning against Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina at the end of their women's singles quarter final match on Court Philippe-Chatrier on day eleven of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros Complex in Paris on June 5, 2024, Poland's Iga Swiatek celebrates after winning against US Coco Gauff at the end of their women's singles semi final match on Court Philippe-Chatrier on day twelve of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros Complex in Paris on June 6, 2024. Jasmine Paolini will play Iga Swiatek in the French Open final after the Italian 12th seed ended the run of 17-year-old Russian sensation Mirra Andreeva in the last four on June 6, 2024, winning 6-3, 6-1. (Photo by ALAIN JOCARD and Dimitar DILKOFF / AFP)
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(COMBO) This combination of pictures created on June 6, 2024, shows (L) Italy's Jasmine Paolini celebrating after winning against Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina at the end of their women's singles quarter final match on Court Philippe-Chatrier on day eleven of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros Complex in Paris on June 5, 2024, Poland's Iga Swiatek celebrates after winning against US Coco Gauff at the end of their women's singles semi final match on Court Philippe-Chatrier on day twelve of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros Complex in Paris on June 6, 2024. Jasmine Paolini will play Iga Swiatek in the French Open final after the Italian 12th seed ended the run of 17-year-old Russian sensation Mirra Andreeva in the last four on June 6, 2024, winning 6-3, 6-1. (Photo by ALAIN JOCARD and Dimitar DILKOFF / AFP)ALAIN JOCARD DIMITAR DILKOFFAFP

Jasmine Paolini’s mentors

Jasmine’s achievements at the top-tier tournaments include reaching the round of 16 in Melbourne and securing the title at the WTA 1000 championship in Dubai. She credits her rise to the top to her coaches, including Renzo Furlan and her doubles partner Sara Errani, a former Roland Garros finalist, someone who inspired her to excel in high-stakes matches.

Participating in the Billie Jean King Cup finals benefited the young Italian’s performance. Her unique relationship with the Italian national team selector, Tathiana Garbin, a former 22nd-ranked Tennis player in the world, also contributed to her success.

Jasmine was determined to break into the top 10 and has certainly achieved her goal, which is projected to be ranked seventh in the world after Saturday’s final. Her recent victories over tough opponents, including Bianca Andreescu and Elena Rybakina, have greatly contributed to her climb. Despite feeling nervous and discouraged before the tournament, she secured her spot in the finals with truthfully impressive wins.

The most diminutive Grand Slam champion in history?

The highlight of the season so far is her physical improvements and becoming more explosive. Like all the grandmasters of the Game, she enjoys catching balls while climbing, and this season, she is mentally more stable—she worked on it, and we can now see her cheering and motivating herself between points.

As evident, she is extremely aggressive, especially with her forehand. She spent much time with her coach analyzing her serve and finding ways to improve it. This is not easy, considering she is only 163 cm tall, but the improvement is visible. And the most important thing – her confidence, which, as she says, grew every time she played a close match with a top player.

On Saturday, Paolini can become the shortest Grand Slam champion in History. The famous Billie Jean King is 164 cm tall, Maureen Connolly is 165 cm tall, while Chris Evert and Simona Halep are 168 cm tall (the shortest man with a slam title – french player Henri Cochet). For Siner, we knew that the question was ‘when,’ not ‘if,’ but no one guessed this... At first, neither did Jasmine, but that’s why fairy tales are - fairy tales.

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