When @SlavaSays, We Listen: Interview with Yaroslava Shvedova @MutuaMadridOpen
Niall Clarke, Tennis Atlantic
MADRID, May 6, 2015– Yesterday, I caught up with Yaroslava Shvedova, and talked about 2015, her partnership with Casey Dellacqua, and her career highlights so far.
Q: First of all, congratulations of yet another victory in the doubles. How do you feel it went out there today?
Slava: It was good. It’s our first tournament together (with Casey Dellacqua), and we hope to play a few more together on the clay and see how it goes. Maybe we can continue to play together, but it’s nice to win some good matches for the first time we play together. It’s going really well on court, it feels like we have played together for a long time, and have good chemistry. We are feeling each other on court really well and overall it’s been good.
Q: You had a great partnership with Vania King, and you won two Grand Slams together. Do you feel that is something you can replicate with Casey?
Slava: It’s hard to say, because we have only played two matches together. I think it’s possible, but it’s always different, because of age and the way each player plays. So it’s difficult to find the perfect combination, but hopefully we can do well together.
Q: I watched your first round doubles match, and you didn’t stop smiling! Is that positive vibe something you like to bring on to court?
Slava: Well it’s just natural (Laughs). I was feeling good and happy to play because I had some issues with my wrist this year. I was happy to play because they were telling me I needed surgery, so I am glad to be back on tour so I can play and win some matches. Casey is also a very positive and energetic person, so it was all natural.
Q: Speaking of the wrist, how is it feeling now?
Slava: I had some treatment, and for now it is good. I missed Indian Wells and Miami, because I was only half ready, but now I am ready to play.
Q: You have a good record on clay, including two quarter finals at the French Open. Do you feel you can use the clay court season to build your confidence after the injury?
Slava: Yeah, I like to play on clay and have done very well on it. I just played in Bogota and made in the final, and played some very good matches there. Here I was struggling, because of the changes in altitude and timing, but I will try stay on clay for as long as possible. Even after Wimbledon I will try to play a few more clay tournaments in Europe, because I feel I am a good player on clay and I enjoy playing on it. Hopefully I can win some matches and get my ranking back.
Q: I and many others believe you are a very talented player. Do you feel that you have underachieved in your career?
Slava: Well I still feel like I have just started. It’s nice to hear my parents say that I have already proven to everyone I am a great player with good results. I have been winning grand slams in doubles and other tournaments, so now I feel I have to enjoy myself. I share the thoughts of my parents, so I just need to keep trying and enjoy it because I still got many years left to go.
Q: What is your main goal for this year?
Slava: Just to keep myself together, and stay fit. I started well this year, but I had some mental problems last year. I felt I overplayed and was tired of tennis, but I had a very good break and practice. I had some good results in Australia before my injury, so I hope I can reach the top again and improve my best ranking.
Q: Your career high ranking is 24, which is very close to the top 20. You have stated in the past that the top 20 is a big aim of yours, so do you still feel like you can achieve that?
Slava: Yes, I think it’s possible. I have one more coach helping me, so I am building up my team and finding better team members so I can improve my game and body. I know what I need to do, so now I just need to make it.
Q: You have probably talked about this a million times already, but your golden set is probably your biggest achievement to date. So how did you feel when you heard you had accomplished this?
Slava: Yeah, I think I am the only woman in the open era to do it for now, so I hold the record. We will see if someone can beat it in the future which would be nice to see. But I still enjoy it because people keep asking me, and reminding me about it. Even today it’s twice that someone remembered it, which is a good feeling. I can’t say I am proud of it, because I didn’t feel it at the time and it wasn’t intentional (laughs), but I enjoyed the fact that I did it. It brings positive thoughts when I think of it, and it’s nice they took my racket to the museum at Wimbledon to commemorate it. I went to check if it’s still there, and it still is. It’s good that my name is now remembered in tennis history.
Q: Speaking of Wimbledon, what tournaments and preparation do you have in the build up to the event?
Slava: This year we have an extra week to play on grass, so I will try to play all of it. After the French Open I will play s-Hertogenbosch, and then Birmingham, and then we’ll see if I can qualify for Eastbourne. But for now I plan to play everything. I will be bring in my fitness coach to get me ready with some grass exercises, so hopefully I can have some good results there, because with my powerful shots and serve I can also play good on grass.