May 4th, 2011, 08:24 PM
Join Date: Sep 2010
Re: Kristina Barrois
Kristina at the WTA column "Getting to Know":
What was it like to be part of the great German showing at Stuttgart?
KB: I cannot really explain, but we were on a run there! It was an unbelievable week for all of us, and especially for Julia. It started with the Fed Cup weekend beforehand, at the same venue. I was not on the team, but I was there supporting them, and they had a great win. That gave us a boost at the start of the tournament, then seeing how everyone was playing against the big names was inspiring. We had so much support from our home crowd, and, after some quiet years, there was a lot of interest from German TV and press. Hopefully we can keep producing such results so that we are the focus.
Has something specific clicked for you of late?
KB: No, not really. I mean, I know how I can play, but I didn't show it every time! In Stuttgart, each time I was the underdog, so I went on court with the attitude, let's see what happens. Every match I played really well, against very good players, also in difficult situations. Now I know I can do it, I'm very confident and will try to go to each match like this. I'm on my way.
Do you consider yourself a late bloomer?
KB: Yeah, maybe! I mean, I started very late on tour… I was 25. I did things the opposite way of other players. I'm young in this sense - this is only my sixth year on tour, so I haven't played for so long. I feel good at the moment, not injured or anything like this. I hope I can play some more years like this.
What were you doing before you came to tennis full-time?
KB: For three years I did what you might call a traineeship with the Ministry of Justice in Saarland. Studying and working at the same time. At the end of the three years they said I could give tennis a go full-time, and that I could go back to the ministry whenever I wanted. That's a great situation for me: If I have to stop playing tennis because of injury or get too old, I can go back to what I was learning. This is reassuring and I'm happy about it, because not everyone has it like this.
What is your goal in tennis now?
KB: I want to reach the Top 50 in the next month - that was my goal for this year. But I have to defend a lot of points in the weeks ahead - I also made the quarters at 's-Hertogenbosch last year. So it's looking good right now, but I have to keep it going.
How did you get into tennis?
KB: I began playing tennis in 1991. It wasn't a family thing; I just took it up by myself and began playing at a local tennis club.
Did you have a tennis idol when you were growing up?
KB: For sure, Steffi Graf. I met her two years ago at Indian Wells when she was playing the exhibition for Haiti. It was a great moment… I was so nervous! We spoke a few words and made a picture. It was great.
What do you consider your strengths as a player?
KB: For sure my service, and also my backhand, because I am one-handed so I can play with slice - not everyone is playing like this on the tour. These are the two important things, I think.
What's your coaching situation at the moment?
KB: I've been coached by Andreas Spaniol for the last four years. I also have a fitness trainer, Bernd Franke.
What's your favorite surface?
KB: Normally I like to play more on fast courts, like a fast hardcourt or grass. But I learnt to play on clay and my biggest wins have been on clay, so at the moment I cannot say which is my favorite. I've played well on all of them, so I'll take it as it comes!
Is there a match that got away that sticks in your mind?
KB: That I should have won? Yeah, there are a lot of them! Dinara Safina two years ago at the US Open, I lost in three sets; I also lost to Elena Dementieva at the Australian Open that year in three. I've had a few big players on the ropes, in close, tough matches. I played good matches against them, but there should be some more wins. Maybe this year it will be different... we will see!
Who has been your toughest opponent?
KB: Last year I played Justine Henin two times, both on grass at 's-Hertogenobosch and then Wimbledon, so it was tough. I liked the way she was playing, and it was a big experience to play against her.
What's the best match you've played, win or lose?
KB: I mean, against Bartoli in Stuttgart was really good. I don't know, the last two weeks I've played at a really high level. I can't choose just one match.
If you could steal a shot from another player, what would it be?
KB: I would take the service of Roger Federer. And maybe the backhand of Henin, but mine is also not so bad! Everyone says hers' was best, so I would take that.
Do you have a favorite tournament?
KB: Wimbledon and Stuttgart. Wimbledon, because of the special flair and everything that comes with that, and Stuttgart because it's my home tournament.
As a German player, has it been hard to see big tournaments like Berlin leave the tennis calendar?
KB: Yes, it's been really hard. It's 20 years, I know, since the heydays. But now we have only one tournament, Stuttgart. For me - and I think for a lot of players - it's the best on tour. We hope that maybe we'll get a second one. I hear that people are trying. It would be good even to have more 100K challengers… there are many 10K, 25K events in Germany, but for Top 50, Top 100 players, they are too small.
Tell us about your family.
KB: There's my father, Waldemar, and mother, Hilde, and I have two sisters, Simone and Carmen. I also have three nephews: Jan, Moritz and Mathis. They are eight, six and three, so they are small. When I'm at home I try to be with them as much as I can. We all live in the same town, so it's good.
Does your family go to tournaments to watch you?
KB: Not so much. My father has to work and my mother has cancer, so at the moment it's not possible that they travel with me. But I know they are supporting me from home and that's important.
What do you like to do to relax?
KB: Nothing special - being on the couch, listening to music, watching football. I'm a big football fan..my favorite teams are Bayern Munich and the German national team. I like almost all kinds of music: pop, rock, or hip hop. As for films, more comedy maybe than thriller.
What non-tennis skill would you like to have?
KB: I can't think of anything. I'm happy as I am!
Describe yourself in one word.
What quality do you most admire in others?
KB: Honesty. Friendly, for sure, and funny. These three things.
If you could meet anyone in the world, who would you like it to be?
KB: I'll say Franz Beckenbauer, a great football player from Germany. He led West Germany to the World Cup victory in '74. Google him - for sure you will find something!
If you were stranded on a desert island and could have one luxury item with you, what would it be?
KB: My mobile phone.
Do you have any plans yet for your big birthday in September?
KB: Good question. I don't know where I'll be on the day. Maybe at a tournament. If I'm at home, I'll make a big party, I think.
You've got your justice ministry training to fall back on, but is there anything else you might do when your playing days are over?
KB: Maybe I will do something else with tennis, such as coaching. Some players have told me already that I am good at this, so I could go this way. I don't know yet. At the moment I will play as long as I can, and then make a decision.
I didn't know that! That's surely not easy for her...
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