Tsvetana Pironkova played in an excellent way at Wimbledon and managed to reach the quarterfinals. Here’s what she said about her game.
Tsveti I want to thank you for agreeing to give this interview for Sport Zone. How do you feel now that you are in Plovdiv?
Thank you. I feel really well. I have a few days to rest and relax and then I’ll starts to prepare for my next tournament.
Did you expect to be such a sensation at Wimbledon again?
Well, that was not my goal. I really love this tournament and I was very happy to play at it again. So it all came naturally. I was really calm. I was definitely in shape and also I like to play on grass. Actually the combination of all these things led to good results.
What makes Wimbledon so special?
The fact that tennis originates from there. This is the oldest tournament. The grass gives this different kind of feeling. The club is great. Tennis legends are always there. The atmosphere is simply amazing and reminds me of what tennis was back in the days. It is definitely a more special tournament.
Why couldn’t you defeat Kvitova?
I think she played better than me at least that day. She was the better player. Of course I tried my best to defeat her but I couldn’t. She is very powerful and strong. Her serve is also amazing. Probably my mistake was that my first serve wasn’t always in. My second serve was not that good either and that helped her even more.
Were you worried before Wimbledon?
To be honest, I wasn’t. I’m now quite used to it. After Wimbledon the season for me wasn’t that successful. But that’s tennis. There are new tournaments all the time and I always have the chance to prove myself. So I just relaxed and gave my all.
I ask you this because last year after you reached the semifinals at Wimbledon your father said that this is never going to happen again. However, you almost proved him wrong. What did you lack to win?
My father is very emotional and sometimes he says things like that. I think I played very well. I played at my best but that day my opponent was better than me and I couldn’t defeat her.
What did you and your father, who is also your trainer, said to each other after Wimbledon?
We just shared our thoughts about the tournament. We were both satisfied with my game.
You said that he is an emotional person. However, he seems to hide his emotions. How do you feel his support when you are on the court?
It’s important for me to see him on court. We don’t discuss strategies or tactics. We understand each other only with a look. I just like to feel his presence there. That makes me more relaxed.
How would you define the year between the period semifinals-quarterfinals?
It was a year in which I learnt a lot of things about me and about my game. This helped me to improve the way I play.
Tsveti, were you disappointed by anything during those twelve months?
No, I wouldn’t say I was. And if you actually mean my game – no, I wasn’t. I think I played well at the tournaments. I played at the biggest tournaments and against the strongest opponents. I think it’s hard to constantly play at finals and semifinals. I have nothing to be sorry about because I always give my best.
How does it feel to be part of the tennis elite and to be among all these top players which you mentioned?
That was one of the things which interested me when I was younger. My first tournament was Wimbledon and when I went there I was really startled. All these top players and my idols which I saw on TV were right next to me and they even greeted me. That was something truly unbelievable. With time I got used to that and it doesn’t affect me anymore. To be there and to be among these people is a clear sign of my success.
You mentioned the word ‘idols’. Was there ever a tennis player that you wanted to be like?
I really liked the game of Steffi Graf. She is an incredible player and professional. And also the Williams sisters.
How do you feel about the fact that next year in October Bulgaria is going to host a WTA tournament?
This is a phenomenal success for the tennis in Bulgaria. People still can’t believe it. Even I couldn’t when I first heard about it. This really is something big. This is possible thanks to the efforts of our tennis federation and the support of our Prime Minister. I thank them for that. I will be very happy if I can play at that tournament and I will try to do my best at it.
There tennis fans will be able to watch you and other great player live.
Well, yes. I think that is good not only for tennis but also for our country because it will fuel more interest toward Bulgaria.
How do you feel about the media’s attention toward you? It seems to me that you don’t like to give interviews. Is that true?
Well, definitely that is not my favorite thing. I don’t compete to give interviews or to be popular. I like to concentrate on tennis and all the things that have to do with it. And this is just a secondary thing. But sometimes you can’t avoid it because it’s part of the game.
Do you take critics?
I can only take critics from my father who is also my trainer. Everything else is just unrealistic because no one knows me or my game. So I don’t think that there is someone that could teach me more about tennis.
What irritates you?
I try not to give in to irritation. Especially when I play I try to block out everything around me and concentrate on the game.
And is there anything that irritates you out of the tennis?
I wouldn’t say there is. Probably there is something but I prefer not to discuss it.
Are you always this smiling and positive person?
Well, yes. I’m a positive person. People say I am a very sunny person. I try to ignore the bad things and look on the bright side.
What did fame give you?
I don’t think it gave me something. Fame is not what I’m interested in. I don’t focus on it. Definitely people now recognize me more. This for me is a sing that I succeeded in what I do. But I can’t say that I enjoy it that much.
What makes you happy?
Many things – my career, my family, my boyfriend.
What are your dreams?
My dreams are quite bold. Everyone needs to dream. They are about tennis – I want to win a Grand Slam tournament. This is my biggest dream.
I know that you want to have a tennis academy. What hinders you?
Well, nothing hinders me. This all depends on me and my family. A year ago the Plovdiv municipality promised us a building area here in the town. I’m not aware of some significant development with that. But I don’t want to blame anyone. Things are still in a very early stage. They could actually provide us a place for the academy. And after all I am still an active player. I have other things to concentrate on but this is definitely a dream of mine. I hope that one day it will come true.
Does this mean that you would work with children?
Yes, of course. From a young age I thought that after I stop playing I’ll do something like that. I have experience in this sport and I have what to teach them.
She is all class!