The stars of the World Tennis Association recently graced Malaysian courts for the ALYA WTA Malaysian Open, and we caught up with current world number 10 Elina Svitolina to get some insight into the mind of Ukraine's top-ranked female tennis player.
1. How have you prepared for the ALYA WTA Malaysian Open this year?
I have great memories from playing in Malaysia. The ALYA WTA is at the start of the year, so it's always good because most of the players are trying to play as many tournaments as they can so that we get more confident for the upcoming summer season. Malaysia is a very nice country with friendly, nice people. I'm so happy I got the chance to come back and play in front of Malaysian fans again.
2. Do you look forward to travelling to different cities or countries?
I feel very lucky that I get the chance to travel the world and do what I love most: play tennis. Before I go to a country that I have never been to, I always try to search the Internet to find some interesting places to go to while I'm there. I love experiencing new food and traditions.
3. What do you enjoy most about Malaysia?
Last year, I had the opportunity to see the Petronas Twin Towers. It was an amazing experience for me. I'm always very excited to see something new and discover new countries. What impressed me the most is the people. They are very kind and it's so nice to see so many happy faces.
4. Which match has been the most memorable thus far?
Three of my most memorable matches would be:
a) Playing at the Olympics and beating Serena Williams to reach the quarter-finals
b) Winning my biggest title in Dubai this year and reaching the Top 10 of the WTA rankings
c) Winning a title in Kuala Lumpur. My longest match was the final, which lasted for six hours (we stopped a couple of times due to weather conditions)!
5. Are you superstitious? Do you have a good luck charm that you use during or before a match?
I try not to worry about too many things. Being superstitious isn't good because it can play a bad joke on you at important moments. It's very important to have a clear head and always believe in your own power. I do have a lucky charm, though - it's a stuffed dog that I've had with me since I was four years old. It goes with me to every tournament.