Monday, February 10, 2014

A chat with rising Slovak Anna Karolina Schmiedlova

Still to turn 20, Anna Karolina Schmiedlova has reached this week her career highest ranking at number 73 in the world, but there is a lot more to expect from the young Slovak.
Collecting the interview in Bratislava

Having been a very successful junior –she reached the final at Roland Garros in 2012- she quickly translated her game to the professional tour with success.

Despite being part of the Slovak team for the Fed Cup tie against Germany, she did not have the chance to hit the court there, but nonetheless found the time for a short talk between her team-mates’ matches.

She told me she was very happy about how things are going, but as well recognizes it has been a difficult start of the season, because thanks to her new top 100 status she has played more WTA tournaments, where the level is higher from the very first rounds.

“It is different to play WTA: they are very tough and I had to play some very good players, while before I was playing in the ITF’s.” She said.

“It is much different because I can play in the first round against a top 20 or top10, like this year in Pattaya, I got to play Sorana Cirstea, she is top 30, in my first match…so it is difficult.”

She sounded very positive nonetheless and said to be ready for the challenge, but with a touch of irony added:

“I hope to get some better draws though, so I don’t always have to play against such good players immediately. In round two or three is much better!”
Credits to: robbiesaurus
Having won good matches on every surface, she has proven to be a all-round players, but she still feels her best feelings are with clay:

“I change surface a lot, but I think clay is my favourite. Roland Garros is my favourite because I played final in the juniors and the clay there is very fast so it is good for my game and I hope this year it is going to be the same as the years before.”

Her next stops are in the Americas as her schedule includes Florianopolis in Brazil and then the big events of Indian Wells and Miami, but before focusing on her future I asked her about her past and which were the matches she was particularly proud of.

“Probably last year at the Roland Garros, I beat Yanina Wickmayer and before that match the qualification was really tough too.” She said surprisingly as I expected her to mention her win over AlizĂ© Cornet in Katowice, her first ever WTA main draw match and best win in terms of ranking.

“Oh, yes…that was a really good match as well, maybe I played even better than against Wickmayer. I served really well and I feel this was one of my best matches ever.”

Credits to: si.robi
As she is ready for many weeks away from Europe shortly after the Australian swing, I ask her how does she feel about all the travelling it is required to be a top tennis player.

Well, I like travelling, but some times it is just too much for me, like I live in Kosice so it is 5 hours from here, so it can be tough as I have my brother and father there, which makes it even more difficult to stay here in Bratislava and then all the travelling for tournaments as well can be just so tough.”

She still finds a familiar environment when training in the Slovakian capital as with her lives her younger sister, who is also a promising name for the future.

“It is really good because she lives here with me in Bratislava and we practice together and of course support each other, so it is important for me to have her. Lately she has been injured so it is not a great moment for her, but now she is coming back so…”

There is no doubt that we will hear from her again in the future, because she has everything it takes to keep improving in the years to come.

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