May 29th, 2009, 02:42 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: TBILISI CITY
Re: Anna articles and interviews
20 Questions with Tennis Pro Anna Chakvetadze!
by Laurel Pantin May 20, 2009
At 22, tennis player Anna Chakvetadze has already placed in the top-five worldwide players, played in the US Open, and won the Kremlin Cup in her hometown, Moscow. This girl is seriously talented! Now, she's sponsored by Fila (which means LOTS of super cute tennis dresses) and she's fighting her way back to a spot at the top. We caught up with Anna to chat about her goals, training schedule and her signature long hair!
1) When did you know you wanted to be a tennis player?
I knew I wanted to be a tennis player when I was about 14-15 years old. I didn't start taking tennis seriously as a possible profession until then, as I was playing other sports and going to school full time. Tennis was just an after school activity until I was around 14 years old!
2) What's the best part of your job?
I love being with Fila! I was so excited when my agent told me they were interested in having me endorse the brand. Fila is a classic tennis brand that has a rich history in tennis. It's fun to be the face of a big company like Fila! My former clothing company was too big and I was just one of many girls all wearing the same product. At Fila, I get to be more of an individual.
3) What's your on the court style?
I love all the Fila on-court tennis dresses. Not only are they comfortable to wear, but they are also really nice-looking! I feel confident that not only can I win matches but will also look attractive. Probably on-court my style staple is my ponytail. I haven't cut my hair in 5 years and it's pretty long. The ponytail flies around when I'm playing and once even got caught in my racquet.
4) What about off the court?
Off-court I like to be comfortable and usually just wear jeans.
5) What are your favorite wins?
My favorite championship is the US Open, because I have played well in New York and I love the city. However, my favorite tournament is the Kremlin Cup in my home, Moscow. I never felt better than when I won the Kremlin Cup in 2007 in front of my friends and family.
6) Which tennis legend would you most love to play?
I would love to see how I would have matched up against Steffi Graf. She is a legend and probably the all time best player. I think it would have been a good match.
7) What are some of your goals for the future?
My # 1 goal right now is just to get my confidence back and get back into the top 10-15 in the world by the end of 2009. I finished 2007 at # 5 in the world and I believe it is just a matter of time before I'm back in the top 10. 2008 was a tough year for me but I'm pretty happy with how I'm playing now and feel that my game is back to where it was in 2007. Now the key is just to win some matches and get the confidence back.
8) What has been the most exciting moment of your career?
Again, by far the most exciting moment was winning the Kremlin Cup in 2007.
9) What's the hardest part of what you do?
The hardest challenge for me is competing on a weekly basis against some of the best athletes in the world. Most of the girls on tour are much bigger physically than I am, so it can be very difficult and demanding on my body. I've got to manage my schedule better and make sure that I'm 100% physically in shape for the bigger tournaments.
10) What are you studying in school?
I have not declared a major yet.
11) If you weren't a tennis player, what do you think you would like to do?
I always wanted to be involved in a business of some sort. My father was a successful businessman and I have always looked up to him. I'm not sure exactly what kind of business but probably something in women's fashion.
12) What's your beauty must have item?
I love lipstick and have about 100 different kinds!
13) What's your beauty regimen?
My daily regimen is just to wash my face about 3-4 times per day. I use normal face wash soap that is not too hard on the skin and I always try to keep my face clean between practice and matches.
14) Do you wear makeup when you compete?
I don't wear make up on the court but a lot of girls do. I prefer to wear a lot of sunscreen so I don't get burnt, get wrinkles, and look too old...
15) What's your best fitness advice?
The best fitness advice is to do something that you enjoy. Find a few workouts/activities that you love doing and focus on those. Working out can be fun and does not have to seem like a chore.
15) What is your biggest beauty or fashion indulgence?
My biggest splurge was a Louis Vuitton handbag!
16) Is there a treat or snack that you can't resist?
Food! I love Russian food, of course, and sushi. I try to eat a lot of fish and stay away from fatty meats.
17) What has it been like traveling so much between Russia and the US?
I love both Russia and the US. Russia is dear to my heart as that is my home and probably where I love to be most when I'm not traveling on tour. I would say the Russian people are a bit more reserved and quiet where the Americans seem very loud and confident.
18) How do you stay motivated?
Motivation is difficult when you play for a living just about every single week. Sometimes it's hard get pumped up for a match. Often, if I've lost to the player before, I remember that bad feeling and want revenge! Sometimes, I get into some music on my iPod and that gets me going. Usually every tournament I find something different as motivation.
19) How do you stay in touch when you're traveling?
The Internet makes it so easy to stay in touch with my friends and family. We talk all the time and I don't really feel like we are that far apart.
20) Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In ten years I hope to be retired with a husband and family. I see myself living in Moscow, traveling a lot and doing some work on the side in tennis or charity.
I’d like to take Roddick’s serve, Gonzales’s forehand… As well as Federer’s backhand and mental. Then I’d be world number 1, easy! No one could beat me.
Who Dares Wins
Nothing is True, Everything is Permitted
Jul 29th, 2009, 01:31 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Re: Anna articles and interviews
Blondes Trying to Have More Fun (and Success)
Struggling Kirilenko Downs Reeling Chakvetadze in Classic
Anna: ‘It’s easier to fall than to come back up’
By Matthew Cronin
Anna C. is still trying to find herself.FROM THE BANK OF THE WEST CLASSIC AT STANFORD - It took 3 hours and 24 minutes and 257 points, but when a constantly hesitant Anna Chakvetadze was forced into a forehand error and fell to Maria Kirilenko 6-4 5-7 7-6(5), another chapter in the pony-tailed girl’s downward slide was added.
“At the end of last year I was thinking, Oh my God, I hope this was the worst year ever. And this year is even worse,” Chakvetadze told tr
The 2007 Bank of the West champion fought like hell, but for the most part, she was fighting against herself and could never come through when the most important points on her racket.
The one time world No. 5’s career has frankly become a sad story. She has as much touch as anyone on tour and may have the softest hands of anyone out there, but coming into her match against fellow 22-year-old Kirilenko, she was 9-12 on the year and hasn’t even reached a quarterfinal. Imagine that from the woman who just two years ago, was looking like a potential US Open champion.
But she apparently hasn’t completely recovered from being tied up and robbed in Moscow in December of 2007, nor from her choke to Svetlana Kuznetsova in the 2007 US Open semis.
At the early stages of sets, she’s still the same A-Chak: brilliantly misdirecting balls, flattening out forehands down the lines at the last moments, caressing drop shots, whipping crosscourt shots at severe angles, totally dictating play.
But then when she asked to do more than counterpunch – and against a fellow counterpuncher like Kirilenko that’s request on going to be in constant demand -- she freezes up, whether she over-hitting, under hitting, double faulting or pushing.
Just watching her try to close out the second set was tortuous. Playing on the No. 2 court, which is situated next to Stanford’s fabulous swimming stadium, she seemed to shrink every time there were loud and boisterous calls for the home team to respond in the pool next door.
She needed six set points to close out that set, as Kirilenko kept retrieving and she kept missing. Of those six set points, she made four errors, watched Kirilenko power a return winner off the softest serve possible and then won it when she finally forced her foe into return error.
“I’m playing better when I’m down than when I’m up,” Chakvetadze said. “I’m not concentrating enough on big points, or have enough confidence, and I’m not trusting my shots.”
She went down 0-3 in the third set, but then began to claw back as Kirilenko – who is by no means a consummate closer – was having trouble with her forehand and shot selection, but once Kirilenko saw balls coming into her sharp two-handed, she was doing major damage.
Luck came to A-Chak for a while at 5-4, when the quick Kirilenko felt she was robbed on three match points.
“Two were so bad and one was maybe 50-50 but it was unbelievable,” Kirilenko said. “The umpire came to me later and said he was sorry about one of them. If I would have lost like that, it would have been the worst, because I felt like I won and then it was taken from me.”
But Kirilenko, who has been working on improving her mental game, pressed on. She hustled her way into the third set breaker tiebreaker and appeared to be the more self-assured player.
Chakvetadze began to swoon. The first nine points featured just two winners – two off the Chakvetadze serve – and seven unforced errors, five from A-Chak off the ground. So at 5-4 Kirilenko, Chakvetadze ripped a forehand down the line winner to tie it up. A fleeting thought rippled through the crowd that maybe, just maybe, she could actually win the match. But the woman with the tour’s most distinctive, tighly-wound ponytail is nothing but unlucky these days.
Chakvetadze nailed another forehand down the line that would have been a clean winner, but it hit the top of the net, bounced on top of the let cord and it dribbled back over the net on to her side.
“I thought maybe God owed me that one,” Kirilenko said.
A-Chak’s chin dropped hard on the deep blue court. With her final match point in hand, Kirilenko smoked a forehand and forced Chakvetadze into an error.
“It was pity because losing 6-1, 6-1 and you have no chance, you don’t feel so bad, but the last two were points were tough,” Chakvetadze said. “I could have taken my chances. I was up at Roland Garros and Wimbledon and all the time I’m not winning. But I feel like I’m playing much better than the start of the year like in Australia when I had 17 double faults.”
Chakvetadze promises to keep pressing on and at least she hasn’t gone the way of another extremely promising player, Nicole Vaidisova, who was nearly double bageled in qualifying, but it’s quite possible that she’ll never re-enter the top 20, much less the top five.Now ranked No. 50, she began working with Tommy Robredo’s old coach, Jose Clavet, at Roland Garros. Maybe he can lift her out of her doldrums.
“I haven’t had any good results, but I’m practicing twice a day and working with a physio and I feel like I'm ready. I just have to bring my work to the matches and it hasn’t happened yet.”
Chakvetadze is only 22 and perhaps with further maturity will begin to play more freely again, without battling her demons when her eyes should be on the ball, not on the dark pits below. But she's still very hard on herself.
“I’m a hard worker and it just makes me really upset that I can’t play the same level as I practice. I hope to finish the year top 30 at least, but I have to win matches to get some points. It’s tough not to be hard on myself when I know how well I can play. I’m trying really hard, but it isn’t working. It’s easier to fall than to come back up.”
But is she optimistic?
“I was pretty optimistic about this tournament but I didn’t happen,” said Chakvetadze, who is playing every tournament through the US Open.
Maria K. is learning to relax.Kirilenko's Journey
Kirilenko hasn’t had an easy journey either. Even though she wanted to spend New Year's Eve in Moscow for the first time in eons, her former coach, Eric Van Harpen, demanded that she arrive in Australia earlier to prepare for Brisbane. The two had been arguing during practice during December (“he was always mad”), but she agreed nonetheless, and then had a miserable 24-hour flight to Australia on December 31 where she felt depressed and resentful.
“There were like three people on the plane and it was horrible,” she told TR.net .
Unhappy and exhausted, she immediately caught a flu and her January season was gone, as even when she attempted to play she felt like she was playing in another’s person’s body.
The task master Van Harpen was gone by the end of the Aussie Open, ending their year and a half relationship.
“I needed to end the relationship,” said Kirilenko.
Now she’s back with her father, Yuri, who coached her as a child and she says it’s going well. She’s not pleased with her No. 52 ranking, believing that she has top 20 stuff, but knows that in order to prove that she has to win matches like she did against Chakvetadze, staying relaxed during big moments continuing to go for her shots, not getting down on herself.
Seven years into her career, she calls herself a veteran and realizes the value of experience in winning matches, but she still thinks she very much a work in progress.
Despite the numerous photo shoots and the more than fair amount of media she’s done due to her good looks, she came on tour as a shy girl and now appears to be coming into her own as personality. She speaks with much more self confidence than she once did, and breaks down points like a wizened old teaching pro. She by no means wants to remain a lesser Russian player and someday, just might have her second week Slam break through.
Some might think that making a run at the top 20 this year is beyond her, but she doesn’t, feeling in control of her life and making more of her own decisions.
She’ll face a tough task going up against Elena Dementieva in the second round, but she’s willing to take her shot.
“I still have high goals,” Kirilenko said. said. “I understand a lot more now.”
Jul 29th, 2009, 04:56 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Re: Anna articles and interviews
Thanks for this good article, HowardH.
I really wanted to know what Anna herself has to say about her situation.
Difficult to win when there is no confidence.
Stay strong, Anna!
Sammy01, I agree. Perhaps it would be better to mix smaller tournaments with bigger ones.
(But somehow I have the feeling Anna doesn`t like to play smaller tournaments.)
The Anna I became a fan of was confident
, mentally strong
(in important moments of match), played smart
and served well
Unfortunately the Anna today is only a shadow of her former self.
Hopefully Anna will turn it around completely soon.
Serena: "We have great personalities like Jelena (Jankovic) on the tour."
Jelena: "If I had to pick someone after me, I'd pick Serena."
GNTM 2014 ist Stefanie !
Dec 20th, 2009, 12:59 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Re: Anna articles and interviews
Time of Change for Chakvetadze
CHANGE: Anna Chakvetadze's decision to play in Auckland next month is all about change.
Aside from the standard platitudes about really wanting to see New Zealand (although she at least doesn't throw in the usual lines about hobbits and our beautiful countryside), and getting an early start to the year because of the injury-disrupted nature of her 2009, what world No69 Anna Chakvetadze's decision to play in Auckland next month is really about is change.
As that perma-tanned motivational gibberer Anthony Robbins would have it: "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got."
Two years ago, the 22-year-old Russian was fifth in the world, having won four of seven career titles and had made the quarterfinals of the Australian and French Opens and the semifinal of the US Open. But her ranking began to plunge the day a gang of masked men broke into her Moscow mansion, pistol-whipped her father, tied and gagged the whole family and stole $US300,000 in cash and valuables.
"I think I am completely over it," she tells the Sunday Star-Times on the phone from her training base in the Russian resort city of Sochi, where she has spent the past month hitting indoors with world No23 Elena Vesnina.
"I don't think about it at all. After a week, I really did not think about it," she says.
This is a rather staunch version of events. As a result of the robbery, Chakvetadze needed acupuncture to correct a loss of feeling in her hands caused by the tightness of her bonds, didn't sleep for three nights, moved house and acquired bodyguards. She couldn't train, but in an effort to clear her mind, went to the Australian Open.
"Physically, I was not ready," she says. "Mentally, it was also very tough, and that's how it started.
"It was very tough for me."
Of her tormentors, she says: "They are not in prison, I don't know where they are."
The two years since have been a procession of injuries and early exits from tournaments, the result, she says, of not being physically ready for a full tour schedule.
"Sometimes I had a tough time, I didn't want to practise, I just wanted to throw down my racquet somewhere and I didn't want to see it again," she says.
"I didn't want to see the court. Now I like to practise, I like to compete. That's why I am doing this and it is important to enjoy it and that's what I am doing now."
She has changed coach and her hitting partner and acquired a physical trainer to toughen up, saying: "I felt I had to change something."
But the one constant remains her father, Djambuli, who travels everywhere with her. Her mother, Natalia, is also a regular on the road. "Sometimes they try to coach me, but they haven't been professional tennis players. They just help me with support, I need the support of my family and I like to have them stay around me.
"My dad, he keeps talking to me during matches but I can't hear him. My mum – she is quiet, just cheering and clapping."
After a stress fracture in her foot ended her 2009 season back in October, Chakvetadze spent two months in Moscow, her longest spell at home since she was 16. "I had a great time, of course, but you get used to the travel and already, during the second month, I was saying `OK, I want to go somewhere'. I was getting kind of bored ... but I couldn't go to the nightclubs because I was wearing this big ugly boot. It was pretty embarrassing."
Now she's ready to hit the road again. Having completed a psychology degree last year, Chakvetadze would be well placed to assess her own mental fragility, and agrees it has helped her game, saying: "I feel I am a completely different person."
Auckland may be her chance to prove it. She will be one of the earliest arrivals for the ASB Classic, which starts on January 4 – missing New Year celebrations in Russia – and says: "Next year, I think I can change some things. It will be good to change some things ... every year is different."
The most wasted of all days is one without laughter....
Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there
Enjoy This Moment!!
HEALTH and HAPPINESS to EVERYONE
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