Ana is set to play four-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova in Bogota, Colombia on 6 December. It will be the 25-year-old’s first visit to the country.
As she looks forward to the event, Ana gave an interview to Colombian newspaper El Heraldo:
In the last few years we have seen a very volatile WTA circuit. How much impact do injuries have on the dynamic of the rankings?
Unfortunately injuries are a part of being a professional athlete and I have had my fair share, like any other player. But I can’t blame injuries for my performances. In some ways last year was a good year – my highest year-end ranking for some years, and I reached a Grand Slam quarter-final for the first time in so long. But I still haven’t reached my goal of getting back to the top 10, so there is a lot of work to be done.
Do you feel afraid of not being able to win another Grand Slam?
No, I am not afraid. Actually I am relishing the challenge. I feel that I still have the game to do it, and my match against Azarenka at the US Open showed that I am not too far away from being able to compete against the very top players. It was a nice feeling, being in an intense Grand Slam match against a top player, and I want to experience it a lot more.
Is the pressure greater because you have already won one Grand Slam?
In some ways it is, because you have proved to yourself, and to everyone else, that you are capable of achieving it, so the expectation increases. No matter how much belief you have in yourself, it is only when you achieve your goals, like winning a Grand Slam, that you prove to yourself how good you are. Pressure from the media increases because once you win a Grand Slam you become a contender at future tournaments.
Do you dream of being ranked in the top 10 again?
Yes, that’s my main goal at the moment. I am still quite far from achieving it: I need to be able to beat the top players. I played a great match against Na Li in Toronto but I missed a big chance to beat her. These are the kind of matches I have to start winning, in order to get back in the top 10. And it’s not getting any easier: there are many good young players around, like Sloane Stephens and Simona Halep. But I have confidence in my ability and I believe I can achieve this goal.
You wish to win the Australian Open, a hard court tournament. However, you have already won Roland Garros. Do you believe that it is more likely that you’ll win again on clay courts than hard?
Clay is probably my best surface but I enjoy playing on hard courts too. It’s hard to say for sure, but I’d probably agree that I am more likely to do well on clay than hard courts, and I love the French Open.