We didn't update that thread in a long time,so here are newer Alisa answers during the season
What's your favorite place to go on vacation? Do you go to the same place every year or you love to experiment?
I don't really have one favorite place. I didn't really go to many places for vacations, because I'm travelling all year around and when I have some time off I prefer to stay home. But the place that I really enjoyed to go skiing is in Russia, in Ural mountains. I love the nature in my country.
Would you rather win an Olympic Gold medal or a Grand Slam singles title?
Many players won't agree with me, but it's a dream of my life to win an Olympic Gold. Its much more special for me than a Grand Slam. But anyways, Olympics are onceevery 4 years and Grand Slams we have 4 times each year, so my goal till Olympics is to win a Grand Slam.
Who was your first coach? And do you remember all your coaches?
My first coach was my mother and we worked together for 10 years. After that I had another coach from my club in Moscow for about 1,5 years. But since then, I've been working with my current coach Iulian Vespan. So I definitely remember all of them
Alisa, where do you see yourself in one year? What steps do you plan to take to reach that goal? Go girl!
I really see myself as close as possible to the top ten. I still need to improve many things, but the fact that I finally won my first tournament this year gives me a lot of confidence in what I'm doing.
How do you deal with the excitement before the match?
It's normal for all the sportsmen to be excited and a bit stressed before the competition, so I'm not an exception. But we have tournaments almost every week, so I'm used to it. It's part of preparation before the match and it also helps you to go on fire
When was it when you realised you can be successful as a pro tennis player?
When I was a kid nobody wanted me to be a pro tennis player in particular. I did many different sports and activities to see what I like more and where I'm doing better. I started to focus more on tennis around 10 years old. That time I began to play and win tournaments and I loved it. I just wanted to make it my job, I was never thinking if I become a star or not, I just tried to do as good as I can step by step.
Do you get recognised very much when you travel from one place to another?
I don't really get recognized in person when I travel, usually people just see my tennis bag and ask me if I'm a pro tennis player. But it depends on the place where I go, when it's more related to tennis people know me pretty well.
What are your views on "grunting" among female tennis players?
Many players now are grunting... also me. Of course, there are some players that do it too loud without much sense and it's not good at all. But I think grunting is normal within certain limits, when it's coming naturally.
Alisa, you played very well in the juniors, esp in Wimbledon. Don't you think you turned pro too soon?
I played a lot of junior tournaments and had big results not only in Wimbledon... I stopped to compete in the junior events in 2006 when I was already 17, so I can't say that I stepped into the pros too early. Also we have an age eligibility rule in WTA Tour, so till you turn 18 you have a limit of pro tournaments you can play per year. And it was about 7-9 tournaments at the time... so I had to keep playing juniors to get more matches and experience.
How much is mental training important in sports achievements?
Mental strength is very important not just in a sport, I think it's one of the most important things in your life. If you are strong and confident you can achieve your goals and organise your life the way you like. Tennis has become a very mental sport recently, because all the athletes are so good in hitting balls and so physically strong that many times just mental strength decides who will win the match. But it's not easy to have people working with you on that, because every player has to find the right person by himself...
What are your warmest childhood memories? Was your childhood all about tennis or maybe you found time to play with other kids? Do you feel that because of tennis you lost something precious?
My childhood was full of different activities. I did school at home, so I didn't have any friends from there. But I did some other sports like athletics and swimming, also I was singing and went to the art school for a while. But all of that was till about 12 years old, afterwards everything was around tennis. My warmest memories are from the kids tournaments that I have won, and from summer vacations every year in the village with my grandparents. I love to help my grandmother in our big garden and really enjoy it since I was little.
Tell us about your name, Alisa. Is it Russian?
I don't think Alisa is really a Russian name, but my parents liked it a lot. Also because of a novel "Alice in Wonderland," that time it was a very famous book and cartoon for kids.
Tell me how to hit a really fast serve (around 200km/h)? Do you have to relax or rather try hard?
I would love to serve as fast as 200km/h too
)) It's very difficult, but for sure you need to be very relaxed, because you need a very fast speed of your arm. But there are a lot of other things besides velocity that has to be right... You have to push with your legs a lot, work with your back and toss the ball well in the front. Good luck!
iPhone or BlackBerry? And why?
BlackBerry! I don't like sensor things, I prefer to push the buttons
But the main reason why I use BlackBerry is because of the messenger, I have many people I have to communicate with when I'm on the road and with the SMSes I would really have to pay a lot and BlackBerry is free!
Do you like soccer? If so, which was your favorite team in the World Cup?
I'm not a soccer fan and, honestly, I didn't even watch a single match of the World Cup...
What's your favorite Russian dish?
I'm not staying in Russia a lot at all and even when I'm home I eat European food... I don't like traditional Russian cuisine too much. I like Italian food and sushi
What's your perfect climate for playing matches?
Almost all year around we play outside in sunny hot weather and I like it a lot! There are a few tournaments that are really difficult to play like in Australia, Malaysia, Cincinnatti where it's very very hot. For me it's tough just to go on court and start the match, but afterwards I don't think about the heat any more! So I'm good pretty much everywhere
Would you like to be a tennis coach one day in future?
I was thinking about it and I'm quite interested in it. If I could organize something good I would like to help young players. But for the moment it's too early, so I'm focused on my tennis first.
What's your favourite season during the year?
I love winter, snow, great time for skiing and mountain holidays! Summer is great too, because I like swimming a lot, so it's great to spend some time in a beautiful beach. But as a tennis player... hmm... it's tough to say, because we have tournaments almost all the year long in different parts of the world, so when I play I don't think which time of the year it is!
Which do you prefer Christmas or Easter and why?
My favorite one is New Years Eve! I don't really celebrate any others
What American celebrities would you like to hang out with?
I would like to spend some time with the actor Paul Walker. I love the movie 'Fast&Furious' and he is great there
What is your favourite tennis arena in the world?
My favorite place to play is Australian Open, Rod Laver Arena. That court is amazing!
Who's your biggest rival on the tour ?
The person who is in front of me on the court for that moment is my biggest rival! I don't have anybody in particular... but probably my biggest rivals are the players who are in front of me in the rankings
What non-Russian TV programs do you watch when you're travelling?
Sometimes it's nice to watch some TV or movies from the US, but I don't really have a favorite. There are like 100 channels in America. If I'm tired I'll just go in the room and flip around, I'll even watch Animal Planet... but mostly I enjoy reading books and watching things in Russian. The Russian language is so rich and deep, and although I speak English, it's nice to understand completely what you're reading or watching, and I mostly get that with Russian things.
Tell me, Alisa, which Russian historic places I should see?
Russia is a very big country and has so many places to visit. But I think that the most important cities are Moscow and St. Petersburg, also known as 'the City of Tsars.' St. Petersburg is one of the greatest historical places of Russia. Novgorod, for example, is one of the oldest cities of Russia and is regarded as an ancient Slavic city. The Golden Ring Cities, it refers to a string of cities located towards the northeast of Moscow, these towns have been often referred to open-air museums because they are home to unique monasteries, cathedrals, churches and domes of 12th and 18th centuries which make it one of the beautiful cities of the world. Enjoy
Who's travelling with you to Bali?
To Bali I'm going as always just with my coach Iulian Vespan. Maybe there will be coming 1 or 2 of our friends from Italy.