One on one with Evie Dominikovic
At her best Evie Dominikovic has played Fed Cup, reached the third round of the Aussie Open and taken Venus Williams to three sets. But with an unforeseen illness and a drop in confidence Dominikovic has lost some pace. That won't be for long however if the 24-year-old's fresh approach to tennis pays off. She chats with Ian Burrows.
You have been ranked as high as in the 60s, where do you think youíre at in your career and do you think you can get back that high?
I didnít have a good year at the beginning of this year because Iíve had chronic fatigue. Apparently I had a virus during the Aussie Open and after I got back from Bendigo I did blood tests and they found I had chronic fatigue. I wasnít really sure so I went home to Sydney to get it further checked out, to see if it really was and my doctor at home said it was. So I didnít play anything up until the end of May/June. I started playing again after the French and because I had like a couple of months off my ranking slipped like to 300. But now Iíve been playing quite well. I think I was telling someone the other day that this is probably the best Iíve played in a year and a half. Iím hitting well, but it just depends how I go in matches. Hitting doesnít really (matter). But Iím hitting quite well and Iím really happy.
Dominikovic is hoping to get back towards her career-high ranking of 64
So youíre over your sickness completely?
Yeah I am. I went for blood tests again just when I got back from overseas, like three weeks ago, and everything was great. But Iím starting to fill a little lethargic, maybe because Iím training so much.
So how much are you training now?
Just three hours a day, sometimes three and a half. But Iím really careful now since Iíve been sick, because I donít wanna get it again. Iím scared.
How do you see yourself getting back to your best form?
Well before I used to put a lot of pressure on myself. Now Iím just like taking it easy and seeing what happens. Iím playing well so if I keep playing well you never know. Iíve been up there before so thereís no reason why I canít. And with Pratty and Alicia up there thereís no reason why I canít do it. So Iím more relaxed and Iím just going to enjoy it a lot more and not put pressure on myself.
Where does the Australian Uncle Tobys Tour fit into your plans?
Iím down to around 200 again so if I do well, like a couple of year ago, I can get to like 130, which is good. Iíve got two 50s ($50,000 events) in China. Before the summer circuitís over I wanna be around 120, which I think is possible. It just depends how determined I am.
What sort of schedule have you got set out for the rest of the year?
Iíve playing all of the Australian Challengers and two in China. And maybe Dubai, which is 75 ($75,000 event), Iím not sure. So Iíll see. But if not Iíll probably just finish after the Aussie (Challengers) and do the camp at the end of the year here and then get ready for the Aussie Open. Iíll probably play New Zealand and then hopefully Sydney, I like to play Sydney, but if not probably Canberra then the Aus Open.
The 24-year-old was runner-up at the first event on the
Uncle Tobys Tour - the $25,000 Canberra Challenger
So thereís a fair chance you might have to play qualifying at the Australian Open?
Yeah well if I do well at the Sats (Satellites) you can win a wildcard, so thatís one of my goals win a wildcard.
How do you make yourself more relaxed now?
Just because Iíve been through it so many times before. So Iím not going to keep doing that. I just donít think about it anymore. I just think whatís the point of me doing that and going through that again.
Whoís your coach now?
Iím just working with Pete McCraw and Matthew OíBrien. Iíve been working (a fair bit) with Matt OíBrien. So at the moment no oneís really coaching me. Iím just hitting a lot just with myself, which is what I really need.
Who are you normally hitting with?
Just with boys. Like just hitting around here with State Pennant boys, which has been really good.
You used to travel with your boyfriend, is that still the case?
Yeah I travelled with him this year Ė that was good. If I start doing well then Iíll start travelling with a hitting partner and coach again. If it works now thereís no reason why I should change it, but because he canít take time off work all the timeÖ
Youíve played Fed Cup before, is that one of your goals to try and get back in the Fed Cup team?
Yeah thatís one of my goals to get back playing Fed Cup Ďcause itís a great week. I enjoy playing for Australia.
Youíve got pretty keen parents, do they still watch you play much?
Yeah mum still does, but mum travels with my sister (Daniella). Dani lives here in Melbourne for the AIS and mum also does. Like when my sisterís here in Melbourne mum stays down here looking after her. And next year sheíll be travelling a lot more with her than what she did this year. With Tennis Australia and the AIS they donít really like parents travelling. So yeah sheíll travel more with her next year.
Does she coach a bit?
No, but she knows. Because sheís grown up with tennis for like ages so she kind of picks up on a lot of stuff. But dad just comes to the Aussie Open. If Iím doing well heíll come to the Aussie Open for the day or the night and then go back home, because heís working at home. He loves working too much.
Do you think your younger sister has the potential to make the top 100 one day?
I think the AIS have helped her a lot this year because at home she wasnít really training as much as here. Sheís playing quite well. Sheís hitting a lot of balls and playing well. Sheís got the potential and sheís really talented, but itís totally up to her I guess.
What does a week at an ITF Challenger event consist of for you?
Well qualifying usually starts on Saturday and goes until Monday. Iíll hit on Sunday, very light Monday and play Tuesday. Or if I donít (play Tuesday) Iíll hit light again. A light hit of like an hour or an hour and a half of just hitting and maybe just a little jog or little fitness, not too much because Iíve gotta keep myself fresh. Iíll get up three hours before I play.
If youíre hitting like one or one and half hours a day, what are you doing the rest of the time?
If Iím on at 10.00am Iíll get up at 7.00. Or if I play second on after 10.00 I think Iíll still get up around that time because Iíll wanna hit before the first match goes on because you never know when someone could get injured and you could go on. So I hit like from 9.00 till 9.45 and have a shower and get ready and just relax a little. And then if I play third Iíll probably get up a little later and wanna hit before the second match goes on.
I go to bed quite early because Iím tired at the end of the day and thereís really nothing to do. I mean especially when you go to country towns. You have dinner and you just watch a bit of TV and read.
So yeah you donít really have much to do. But I think itís good to because you can just relax