Just found this article about her
Miss Popularity with the big personality
Eleni Daniilidou reckons Auckland is as good a place as any to start her tennis year, and she knows the place better than most on the WTA circuit.
This is her fifth straight visit, and as long as the good vibes remain, expect to see the expressive Greek log up several more appearances at the ASB Classic, which starts today.
After all, two of her four WTA singles titles were won here, in 2003-04, and her bid to become the only three-time Classic winner begins with a potentially awkward clash against Croatia's Jelena Kostanic late this afternoon.
"I love it here," she said yesterday, dodging the raindrops at the ASB Tennis Centre in Parnell.
"I have no doubts whether to come here or not, I feel really comfortable."
The Auckland crowds took the 24-year-old to their hearts as she beat Korean Yoon Jeong Cho, then American Ashley Harkleroad in back-to-back finals.
And she won plenty of sympathy when she was bounced out in tears by Italian Mara Santangelo in the first round of 2005.
This time, the seventh seed arrives on the back of a good year, during which she achieved her goal of breaking back into the top 40.
She reached No 36 and won her fourth singles title, beating two seeds above her in Auckland this week, No 5 Vera Zvonareva and defending champion and fourth seed Marion Bartoli, en route to victory in Seoul in September.
She changed coaches in mid-season, and is relishing working with German Daniel Merkert. Early on in the year it was all "ups and downs, but then I started playing again how I want to".
Daniilidou did some time playing in qualifying events, which was physically and mentally draining. Now her sights are set on regaining her top 20 spot, her career high being No 14 in May 2003.
Battling injuries has made her a better competitor, she believes, and having a strong personality helps when times are tough.
Indeed, Daniilidou reckons personality is what makes the women's tour more appealing than the men's equivalent.
"The women's tour is better than men's. We have more personalities on court, so it's good for the sport."
And Daniilidou is prime among those who add colour to the circuit.
She has a difficult start today. Jankovic is No 51 and the Greek has won all four of their past meetings.
But it appeals as an opening day square-off which could be tight.
New Zealand leftie Leanne Baker gets the tournament proper under way on centre today and has her work cut out against China's Tiantian Sun, the Athens Olympic doubles gold medallist.
Apart from Daniilidou's match against Kostanic, the high point of the day will be the first sighting of 2004 French Open champion Anastasia Myskina. The Russian second seed plays Argentine Gisela Dulko, ranked No 59.
Myskina has won their two previous meetings and it will be a significant boilover if she doesn't make it three from three.
Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli starts her title defence against Japan's Ayumi Morita.
In other developments yesterday:
* Top seeded Serb Jelena Jankovic has missed her connection to Auckland and is now not due to arrive until late this morning. Jankovic had been expected around midnight last night. She has drawn German Julia Schruff in her opening game tomorrow.
* Frenchwoman Nathalie Dechy had to withdraw yesterday after damaging a pectoral muscle. Her absence opens the way for a lucky loser from the qualifying draw.
* Former world No 1 Paola Suarez, in her final visit to Auckland and chasing a first title, is top seed for the doubles. Now ranked No 14, she has teamed up with Slovakia's Janette Husarova, world No 38 and who won the doubles title in 1997 with Belgian Dominique van Roost.
They play wildcard entry, New Zealand's Marina Erakovic and Italian Sara Errani.
And Baker gave New Zealand a second presence in the doubles, sneaking into the main draw as the final entry, with her Australian partner, Nicole Kriz.