Ana was interviewed for the official programme of the Qatar Tournament of Champions, which takes place this week in Sofia. It is an event she won in 2010 and 2011, when it was staged in Bali.
The following is a reproduction of the interview with reporters Lubomir Todorov and Yavor Guerontiev:
How do you rate the Tournament of the Champions in your career?
It’s definitely one of my favourite events, and of course the tournament I’ve had the most success at – I’ve never lost in it!
What is different compared with the other events on the Tour?
There is a special feeling because there are only eight players. It feels more intimate. There are less people around the player lounge, so it’s a bit more relaxed. And there is only one match taking place at a time, so the atmosphere is always exciting.
What do you remember from 2010 and your 1st title in Bali?
I remember that I had had a difficult year but had been playing quite well at the end. I won the Linz tournament and I was able to continue that form in Bali. I remember when I arrived there thinking how fast the courts were, and that I might struggle to adapt. But I played a great match in the first round against Pavlyuchenkova and it was just a great week overall.
We hoped to see you defending the cup in Sofia. Would you have come if you had not to play the Fed Cup final?
For sure. I am very proud and excited to be playing in the Fed Cup final, but it’s also frustrating that I can’t defend my title in Sofia. It’s a great shame for me that these two events are on at the same time.
You have many fans in Bulgaria, they remember you. Do you want to tell them something?
That is very nice to hear. I am sorry that I won’t be there to see them, I’m grateful for their support and I hope to visit there one day.
What do you expect for the tournament in Sofia- the chances of the players to win?
I’m expecting an exciting event – always when a country organizes a new tournament it is very thrilling. It’s a special occasion for everyone: the organizing staff, the fans and the players.
Do you think it will be tougher for Pironkova to play at home?
For sure there will be more pressure for her but also she can try to use the home support to her advantage. I am sure she will have a lot of fans cheering for her and that can help you get through tough matches.