interview interview

Following her recent visit to Milan to take part in an exhibition, Ana was this week interviewed by popular Italian website

The following is a transcript of the question-and-answer session:

Did you enjoy the Big Challenge and your time in Milan?
I had a great time. I haven’t played many exhibitions, especially not in the past few years, so I had almost forgotten how much fun it is to be on the court, competing but with no pressure at all – it’s all for fun. The event was very well-organized and I think everyone enjoyed it. Visiting the Armani residence and meeting Giorgio was a highlight of the trip.

I had wanted to visit Milan for a very long time. Funnily enough, I visited about one month before the exhibition, before I went to Prague for the Fed Cup, so I waited many years to visit and then I visited twice in the same month!

What do you think about Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci on and off court?
They’re very nice girls. Roberta especially is always smiling. They’re fun people and they made the exhibition even more enjoyable.

On the court, I’ve had some battles with both, especially against Sara at the French Open this year. It was a frustrating match for me, but she was in awesome form and had an amazing tournament.

Roberta and I have played each other many times and always on hard courts it seems. We usually have tough matches and it was no different in Milan.

The life of a tennis player is pretty frantic. How can you overcome the stress of such a full schedule?
It is intense and there are many obligations away from the court. Sometimes it can be stressful, but it’s important to manage your schedule well. I am fortunate to receive great support from my team, including my family. They help me to stay grounded, and my management does a good job of helping me manage my time. It’s also important to take a few days off to de-stress once in a while, and actually that’s why I went to Milan before the Fed Cup, to relax and enjoy some time with family and friends.

What do you think about your last season? Are you satisfied with your results?
It was a good season overall. I think anytime you rise from 22 in the rankings to 13, you can’t really complain. I was hoping to reach the top 10 but I feel like I’ve made progress and I’m moving in the right direction. I’m well placed to enter the top 10 next season. Even more importantly, I reached my first Grand Slam quarter-final in a long time. That was an important step, and I hope to do even better in the big tournaments next year.

You were world No.1; in 2008 you won a Slam title, and now you're coming back to the top. What do you think you're still missing to win a Slam again?
Consistency is a big factor. Last season I played a few great matches, but it was too infrequent. I need to be producing my best tennis on a more regular basis. Confidence is important too: sometimes you can get on a roll, and the wins just keep coming. That’s been the case for me before, and I want to achieve that again next season.

Have you fixed specific goals for the tournaments you're going to play in next year?
For sure reaching the top 10 is a big goal of mine, and to actually finish in the top 8 so that I qualify for the WTA Championships. I prefer not to set specific goals for each tournament, because that adds pressure. Instead, I concentrate on improving each day, and if I keep improving, so will my results and ranking.