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Eduardo von Hafe: As a young boy, I practiced and played tennis to become professional but in our country (Portugal) tennis was not an option at the time, so when I was 16 I chose to study and graduate. Do you think its possible for a boy/girl to study and try a career in tennis nowadays? Best regards, wish you success, Eduardo
Ana: Thanks for your greeting. I think it is impossible to do both full-time – there are not enough hours in the day! You can follow a tennis career and also study part-time, that is what I am doing. I take books with me when I am travelling and I have many exams to do. Education is very important. I would say that unless all the coaches think that you have a good chance of making it as a professional, studying is the best option.
Angel: Hi Ana. I read that you played table tennis with David during rain delays in Montreal. I was wondering about this, because I play tennis and other racket sports but when I play another e.g. badminton, I find it really hard to switch back to tennis because of the different weight of the racket. Is it not dangerous to play table tennis?
Ana: This is a funny question! I can understand how it is difficult to switch between racket sports, because of the different weights of the equipment and the different techniques. But when you are a professional tennis player you are used to playing tennis for many hours each day. You would have to play table tennis for a very, very long time for it affect your tennis strokes, and in any case you would get your timing back on the tennis court after about 10 minutes anyway. So I think it’s okay to play table tennis during rain delays!
Jeff Shiu: Why did you start playing tennis?
Ana: I saw it on television when I was young and it just looked really fun and exciting. It appealed to me because of this and when I started playing it definitely lived up to my expectations.
Spike: Hello Ana, I think food is extremely important to an athlete. Yet, I imagine it is difficult to find the right food when travelling to various cities for competition. How do you manage to find the right food when restaurants are your only option? Thank you.
Ana: It can be a little bit difficult but it’s not normally a problem. You can usually make special requests in restaurants and two of the meals I eat the most are salad and pasta, which are easy to change. Maybe I take a little bit more time looking at the menu and asking questions to the waiters than a lot of people!
ayse: Is it easy or hard to make great friends on the tour and if it is hard does it influence your play on court?
Ana: It is hard to make great friends with other players. It’s natural, because we are all competing with each other. If you became really good friends with someone and you had to play them, that would be very tough. I am friends with a lot of players but I can’t say we are extremely close, like I am to my friends in Belgrade.
Photo: Misha Obradovic for Story Magazine