Russian tennis star Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova spoke about how the difficult conditions during her childhood in Samara, Russia helped mould her character and attitude to the sport of tennis, which continues even today.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on how her difficult childhood helped mould her character
The 29 year old Pavlyuchenkova is competing at the WTA event in Prague this week and plays Arantxa Rus in the first round.
In an interview published on the Go Tennis.ru website, the 29 year old spoke about her struggles during her childhood. "My story seems to be from a fairy tale or a TV series - there were no conditions in Samara, I remember how I played in the winter: I was wearing a hat, a warm jacket, gloves holding a racket, taking a thermos with hot tea with me.
On the street -25, and the inflatable dome, where the training took place, was not heated. I often tell others that perhaps there are many good athletes in Russia but we do not always have good conditions for training - this is how character is developed from childhood, this is our advantage."
The Russian also recalled how she had difficulties in communicating with her peers on the tennis circuit when she started out as a junior due to the language barrier. "I was 13 when I went to the Czech Republic with my parents.
The most difficult thing was the language barrier, I still didn't speak English very well, and my parents didn't know the language at all. And I wanted to communicate with peers. It was also was difficult to communicate on the site, to get all the information.
When I was 14, we flew to America - US Open, my first Grand Slam and it seemed to me that this is a different world! I had hardly traveled before, I felt a little lost. Everything seemed so big in the US and there, too, the language barrier added difficulties.
" Like many others, Pavlyuchenkova says she prefers not to have too many friends on the tennis circuit since it becomes difficult when they compete on the tour. "There is competition in any sport - it's normal.
I believe that it is difficult to achieve results without a sports character and good stubbornness. My father brought it up in me, plus in my childhood there was no infrastructure, but I wanted to win. When I came to tournaments, I had to prove: I am the best.
There are few girls with whom I am friends, but not so many. I still try to keep my distance, even if I like a person. Otherwise it is difficult to play against them later. I have had such an experience. For me, winning is important, and when you play with a friend, you have to restrain your emotions."
Pavlyuchenkova has already withdrawn from the US Open and says she hopes to play in the clay court events in Europe, including Rome and Madrid.