26 Jan 2017
How long have you lived in Melbourne?
I have been living in Melbourne for the last four years but have been coming to Australia since I was 15 years old. My boyfriend, Luke, who is also a tennis player was living here, so it did not take long for Melbourne to feel like home to me. We are living in Middle Park and were in Albert Park before. We really like living by the bay and the area. There are so many great restaurants and coffee shops.
Can you tell us a bit about your childhood?
I grew up in Russia but from an early age I was travelling playing tennis. I also spent quite a lot of time training in France. Tennis was something I loved to do from when I first started as a little kid and I have so many great memories of travelling playing junior tournaments and meeting other players from all over the world.
You represent Australia in tennis now, but you used to represent Russia. Are there differences in representing the different countries, and what are they?
I only represented Russia in junior events and actually met my boyfriend Luke when I was playing Junior Fed Cup and he was in Junior Davis Cup! I am so proud to be an Aussie now and already some of the greatest highlights of my career have come from representing Australia. Playing the Olympics this year and wearing the green and gold was an unbelievable experience, and I’ve made so many friends with all the other Australian athletes we were living with. Winning the Hopman Cup in January was amazing as it was the first time I had represented Australia and the crowd support was awesome. I was really blown away by the incredible level of support we received. And then in April I got to play Fed Cup for Australia for the first time. It’s been a massive year for me, and I’ve been so fortunate to have the opportunity to represent my new country at the highest level and I can’t wait to do it again!
What does a standard week of training look like for you?
My training weeks are very full with little time for socialising. I usually practice on court three to four hours per day in addition to doing weights, and also running. There is also work with my physio and massage. The days are long but I enjoy the training, I usually have one day off per week just to relax and get ready for the week ahead.
What are your professional goals for 2017?
My main goal is to keep improving. This year has been good and I have been able to maintain my ranking, which is an indicator of my performances and shows I’m becoming more consistent. Every player wants to have great results in the Grand Slams and the big events, and I am no different. In 2017 I want to continue to push deeper into the draws in these events. I have had some great results in some big tournaments but the excitement of Grand Slams and being able to go deep in one of them is definitely the next step and goal.
What do you love most about the Australian Open?
The fans are the best! My experience in Melbourne last January was awesome and the way the crowds got behind me is something I will never forget. The Aussie Open is such a fun Slam and the organisers look after the players so well. There is way more attention on me during the AO but I enjoy it and so far have played well in that environment.
Who’s been your fiercest opponent?
I would think Angelique Kerber is someone I have had some tough matches against. She is the number one player in the world, so obviously is extremely tough to beat. I also played Serena Williams first round of the Olympics and enjoyed that experience. It was a really tough draw!
Restaurant The Railway in Port Melbourne.
Cafe Dundas and Faucet in Albert Park.
View Middle Park Beach pier.
Shopping Emporium Melbourne in the city.
Walk We live across the road from the bay so going for a walk along the water is something we do regularly.
Event I love going to the footy and supporting the mighty Blues.