How early did you find tennis? Do you remember a moment when you felt tennis is the sport for you?
I was 4 years old when I held a racket for the first time. I actually started playing with the left hand. Funnily enough, at that age I didn’t play much, as I was focusing more on skiing. I wanted to become a professional skier and I started skiing when I was 2 years old.
I went back to tennis at the age of 9 - there wasn't much snow in that year and not much opportunity to train on the mountains. I remember I loved hitting each ball as hard as I could. I loved serving harder with the second serve than the first one.
How often do you train, and what does an average day look like for you?
I usually train six days per week and have one day off. But it depends a lot on the schedule and on the tournaments I play. I always have to adapt it, and always start my day with my meditation and ritual; I like to have my “me-time” in the morning and start the day with a good vibe. After that, I generally play once or twice a day, depending on the intensity of the practice. I'll do physical training after tennis.
Having said all this, I also focus on recovery a lot. I think it is a very, very important part of an athlete’s life . You need to take care of your body so you can perform every day at a high level.
Can you share a great tennis memory or achievement that sticks out in your mind for you?
So many big moments come to my mind right now. The semifinal at the Australian Open juniors was a very special moment in my career as a young athlete. My best ranking was no.2 in the world in juniors.
And then I have the tournament I won in Romania last year, in Iasi; my first WTA final last year in Warsaw; playing two consecutive WTA semifinals last year in September. And playing Ashleigh Barty in Melbourne two years ago - I remember it was such a privilege for me to play her here and I have a huge respect for her and what she has achieved throughout her career. I remember playing the Billie Jean King Cup matches for my country, too - that's something I could never compare with any other competition because it always gives me goosebumps no matter if I'm out there playing or cheering for my team. I love playing in that atmosphere!
Outside of competitions, what are the rewards tennis brings into your life?
Lately, I’ve been trying to find the balance between tournaments and being home with my family and friends. Being on tour and playing almost every week in different places, countries and continents is not easy to do. But this sport is what I love doing and what defines me, so I'm very grateful I get to play it at this level.
You get to travel so much and see so many countries, cultures, get in touch with so many people around the world and I am a person who loves to learn new things, to visit new places, eat different food. And it’s not only that. You also have the chance to be among the best athletes in the world, to compete against them, to watch them performing on the court, watch them training and I really like to see all that and keep learning from them.