Article (Aug. 18, 2002) -
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old Aug 18th, 2002, 12:46 PM Thread Starter
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 333
Article (Aug. 18, 2002)

This It Girl Has Game
Despite Buzz, Hantuchova Stays Focused On Tennis

August 18, 2002
By ROBERTO GONZALEZ, Courant Staff Writer

NEW HAVEN - The marketing of Daniela Hantuchova has begun. She has been dubbed the next Anna Kournikova, but with game. Her fashion sense, good looks and style of play have captivated much of the tennis media, especially in England, where the British tabloids were fixated on her long legs during Wimbledon.

But by all accounts, Hantuchova has been able to brush away the adulation and focus on her game. She has remained modest, yet knows what the fuss is all about.

"I guess that's something that belongs to tennis, too," Hantuchova said at Wimbledon. "I'm just trying to be focused on my tennis, because for me that's the most important thing. But people like to talk about those other things, too."

She is a promoter's dream and yet, in a way, the anti-Kournikova. While Kournikova can be seen cavorting with pop star Enrique Iglesias in a music video, there are websites with pictures of Hantuchova playing with dolphins.

"She has a clean, sexy look," ESPN tennis commentator and former pro player Cliff Drysdale said. "She is definitely not caught up in herself like Anna, though Anna is a legitimate international superstar, so in a way, you can't blame her for that."

Hantuchova, 19, takes the comparisons to Kournikova in stride.

"She's a totally different person," Hantuchova has said.

Hantuchova also has something Kournikova does not: a tournament title. Hantuchova stunned former No.1 Martina Hingis 6-3, 6-4 in the final at Indian Wells, a Tier I event in California in March. She broke Hingis' service six times on her way to winning $332,000.

Saturday, Hantuchova met Amelie Mauresmo in the semifinals of the Rogers AT&T Cup in Montreal, losing 6-2, 7-6 (3).

Hantuchova is ranked No.12 in the world and is the seventh seed at the Pilot Pen, which begins main draw play today. She'll play a first-round match against a qualifier on Monday.

Pilot Pen tournament director Anne Worcester is happy to have Hantuchova in the field.

"She brings a special artistry to the game," Worcester said. "She is really creative on the court and interesting to watch. She does well under pressure."

While Hantuchova is not yet in the league of a Venus Williams in terms of marketing and ability, Worcester said it might be only a matter of time.

"I think she is a half a step away from that level," Worcester said. "I personally believe she'll be a top-10 player very soon."

Hantuchova, 5 feet 11, has an all-court game. She has impressed with her power and composure on the court. Pam Shriver, recently inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, has nothing but praise for Hantuchova.

"I love her attitude and work ethic," said Shriver, who has covered quite a few of Hantuchova's matches as a broadcaster for ESPN. "She has a good head on her shoulders. She has everything in place to allow her to reach her full potential. She is a young lady who is seriously set on the highest level of tennis."

Hantuchova's victory at Indian Wells was a turning point in her career, Shriver said.

"You felt like she was growing up and maturing," Shriver said. "Especially in the way she played in the final against Hingis, winning in straight sets. She got a little tense in big points, but she is only human. She never really got flustered."

Shriver also saw Hantuchova pair with Ai Sugiyama to baffle Martina Navratilova in a doubles semifinal in the JPMorgan Chase Open a week ago.

"I saw her play against Liezel [Huber] and Martina Navratilova and she had a couple great return-of-serve games," Shriver said. "It got so Martina and Liezel didn't know where to serve to her. Unless they served an ace, they weren't going to win the point."

Hantuchova - pronounced "hahn-TOO-koh-vuh" - was born in Poprad, Slovakia. She plays piano and speaks three languages: Slovak, English and German. She said she was introduced to tennis by her grandmother.

Hantuchova turned professional in 1999, quickly rising through the ranks in the last four years. She was No.201 in 1999 and finished last year ranked 38th.

Hantuchova credits her coach, Briton Nigel Sears, with keeping her grounded amid the growing buzz surrounding her.

"He's helped me a lot in many different ways," Hantuchova said. "Especially mentally and tactically, he made me much stronger. Physically, too."

She has been able to use that strength off the court as well. Hantuchova may be no Kournikova, but she is learning to handle the media glare, which promises to glow brighter.

"I was very prepared for this, you know, getting so much attention," Hantuchova said. "I think I know how to handle it. The most important thing is to not lose my mind and just work hard every day and be focused on the tennis."
bwguy is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old Aug 18th, 2002, 01:16 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: on a rock
Posts: 5,755
Great article!!!!

Thank you so much.

I liked that they put in there how to pronounce her name. I get so sick of even announcers saying ... Han chew KO va. It sounds so ugly. And... when her nickname should really be Tuchie.. It makes no sense.

I like Shriver's comments, but let's face it, ANYONE who beats Hingis is going to win her favor. I'd rather rely on the judgment of someone who has a smidgen. I miss Mary Carillo. How come the Canadians rate her and we are stuck with the also rans??? :whaa:
starr is offline  
post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old Aug 20th, 2002, 10:22 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 566
Thumbs up

Yeahh..thanks..nice article

goshh..why is everyone compairing her with anna! darghh! Hope she plays well in the future and not get distrubed by the ppl around her..fame..etc...

Lemme share with u guys something actually han-tu in my language Bahasa Melayu is known as ghost!! so thats why she got a unique name..hehehe

Keep on moving dani!!!
adlysha babalu is offline  
post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old Aug 21st, 2002, 03:08 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: on a rock
Posts: 5,755
Han-tu. That is interesting. Where is Bahasa Melayu spoken? I feel so ignorant that I haven't heard of this language before.

When I saw her name, I always thought of the Hanta virus that is a killer disease here in the southwestern U.S.
starr is offline  
post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old Aug 22nd, 2002, 02:32 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 566
            's our national language..and i am from Malaysia..
ermm u know where izzit?? just to make it's near singapore !!

yeahh..lots of ppl find it wierd..hantu-hantu..ghostt..
ehehee.. u from US?
adlysha babalu is offline  
post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old Sep 6th, 2002, 11:16 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 79
nice articicle!!
and i thing there is no point of comparing her with Anna K.
Heheh about the name...i prounance it really easy as a Bulgarian
madlen_bg is offline  
post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old Sep 12th, 2002, 03:17 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 570
Thanks for sharing this very good article


Good luck Nathalie Dechy & Dinara Safina too!
Freefall is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome