INTERVIEW: “Sometimes it feels like we’re animals in a zoo but we’re ordinary people too”

 

Today we recommend this beautiful interview made in Bucharest after reaching Quartefinals, where Sara talks about the tennis world and her personal vision of tennis players as both people and professionals.

“You are competing in Bucharest Open for the first time, how does it feel?”

Very well, I would say. The city and the tennis club are very nice. Feels good to play here and I am happy I have just reached quarterfinals.

“You stumbled on your right ankle during last match against Peer. Are you fine now?”

Yes, I am. I got some treatment from the physio and put lots of ice on it. I am ready to get back on court.

“Let’s talk about the interview your father recently did. He said in Spain journalists treat you like the King’s daughter. Do you agree with the fact that you are probably more appreciated as a player there rather than in Italy?”

I don’t. I think I am equally appreciated both in Spain and in Italy. There are lots of people who support me. In my mind it is really all about being a good example for the kids. I want to be someone to look up for, and I take pride in it whenever I succeed.

Recently, after her loss in WimbledonSimona Halep (Ndr. undoubtedly the national favorite) has been treated quite differently by some Romanian journalists, way more harshly…What is your take on that?

I think it is quite common, everybody knows that tennis world is filled with critics and high expectations coming from the outside, but still, some may often forget about its difficulties. They need to understand that tennis is no easy sport, you need to be ready to play almost every single week, plus it is not about just 1 or 2 major players – especially if it is women’s tennis we’re talking about – on the contrary, there are many who actually play on a quality level. It is not always easy as it may look from the outside.

How do you manage to overlook these negative comments then?

By closing ourselves off, I guess. Avoiding to care about who is said to be the favourite and who is the outsider, focusing on ourselves and our team to give our best. Naturally, there will always be some ups and downs but you just need to accept that.

“You are one the best returners of the WTA. Who suffers the most your game among the other players?”

I have really no idea. My goal is to step into the court to give my best. Personally, I can tell you power hitters are the kind of players I suffer the most. They do not allow me to play my game but that can change depending on different things each time. Perhaps they feel the same about me, they usually do not like the fact that I constantly put the ball back not allowing them to close the point as quickly as they wish.

“Grass season – which I know you do not like – has ended. Next week you will compete in Bad Gastein, the last clay tournament before getting to hard courts. Do you like the surface?”

Of course I do, even though not every tournament has the same type of hard court. It depends on the composition that may influence the average speed, the type of balls, the weather conditions and so on.

“You have already played and won Grand Slam titles. How do keep you hunger? What moves you to push even harder?”

I do not lack motivation overall. I am a competitor by nature. Of course there might be some low weeks. You feel the stress and you are tired, and all you could wish for is to rest a little, but anyway, I love competing and I also love to win.

“Tell us about your happiest moment on court and what are your interests outside it.”

Paris. When I defeated Sam Stosur to reach the finals. I could not be happier than that. I am playful girl, I love playing sports in general, cards, and such. Like I said, I love competing.

“What are you going to do after retirement?”

No clue. I am not the tennis instructor or coach type though. It probably won’t have anything to do with tennis. 

“We have to chance to look at you exclusively from a distance, while you are playing on court or in related sports environments such as TVs and radios… Is there something more to know to get closer to the players and understand them?”

We are ordinary people. I tell you it is not easy to trust anybody outside the tennis world, that is why some may not be inclined to share their privacy with the public. You do not just go out there and out your personal stuff under the spotlight. Nobody wants that. Sometimes it feels like we are animals in a zoo and people come by to take a look at this “different species”…but we are ordinary people too…

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