Getting to know Marina Erakovic - on WTA Tour site yay!!!
Getting To Know... Marina Erakovic
BIRMINGHAM, UK - It's been a compelling year so far on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour with some interesting movements in the rankings, and one player to keep an eye on for the future is Croatian-born New Zealand resident, Marina Erakovic. The 20-year-old has had an impressive 2008, making her career debut in the Top 100 in March and rising to a current career-high No.64. So far this year Erakovic has reached the semifinals of the ASB Classic in Auckland – her first at Tour-level – and won ITF Women's Circuit events in Mildura, Australia and Surbiton, England, bringing her ITF career singles title tally to nine. Erakovic's successes haven't gone unnoticed and she has been tipped to be one of the next big things in women's tennis.
We caught up with Marina in Birmingham to talk about life on the Tour.
Q. What has been the key to your success this year?
I think the hard work I did last year and at the end of the year has meant I can relax more and enjoy my matches, which has helped me to secure more successes.
Q. How did you first get involved in tennis?
My dad got me into tennis. I first started playing recreationally when I was about five or six years old in Split, Croatia, and I would join my older sister on the tennis court, and it just grew from there.
Q. Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Split in Croatia, but we moved away and I grew up in New Zealand. I love it there and I've had such a lot of support from the New Zealanders. But I do go back to Croatia about once a year to visit family; I normally go after Wimbledon. It's nice to go back and it's a good holiday spot.
Q. Who were your tennis heroes when you were growing up?
I've always admired Monica Seles. I loved the way she was always so focused and showed such determination; when I was growing up I always wanted to be like that. I also liked Pete Sampras because he consistently won!
Q. What are the good and bad points of being a professional tennis player?
I'm doing something I love, I get to see the world and meet new people. But the downside is that I'm always away from home; last year I was away for nine months. And sometimes I wake up and I can't even remember which country I'm in!
Q. How do you cope with the language barriers?
Well I know former Yugoslavian as well as English, and other languages I just tend to pick up as I'm touring. In fact, friends on the Tour usually tell me the rude words. Also, hand signals seem to go a long way!
Q. Who are your good friends on the Tour?
I know some friends from back in the junior days; I generally spend time with Michaella Krajicek, Monica Niculescu, and I generally hang out with the Aussies.
Q. What's your favorite Tour stop?
I don't just have one favorite - I like a few: the US Open in New York, Québec City, Bali, Auckland of course as it's near to home, and Wimbledon.
Q. What's the strangest thing that's happened to you on the Tour?
I've lost my bag twice, and both times I have ended up winning those tournaments! I found that very strange, especially the second time that it happened. It was annoying when I lost my bag in Beijing, though, as I never got it back and it had all my nice clothes and my favorite possessions in it, too.
Q. Are you a very supersitious?
Not so much anymore. I always like to have a song in my head when I go on court, but it can be any song I've heard off the radio. When I was younger and I'd win a match I'd make sure I'd wear the same top for the rest of my matches. It would be washed each time of course!
Q. If you could play any tennis player, past or present, who would it be?
Well, since she was my hero growing up I'd have to say Monica Seles. I just wonder what it's like to be on the other side of the net to her and to see her determination. I'd also like to play against Martina Hingis - I liked her because she always played such a clever game; I'd like to know what it's like structuring a point against her.
Q. What are your goals for the future?
I'd like to break into the Top 50. I also hope to play at the Olympics in Beijing; that would be amazing. Other than that I just hope to keep playing and to stay healthy.
Thank you for everything Mercedes, now please be nice to Socrates for me, perhaps fetch him a bird or two. We love you, always.