She quickly changes into a blue top, fixes her hair in a jiffy and looks pretty pleased with what she sees in the mirror. Known as the ‘other Ova’ in the powerful world of women’s tennis, Nicole Vaidisova is an effervescent teenager first and a star later. The 19-year-old Czech grooves to the music of Madonna and, at the same time, is involved in a lot of charity work. The world No. 41 her current ranking doesn’t speak enough about the talent she possesses and one of the youngest players to break into the top-10 in 2006, the Czech girl is in town for promotional activities and is all set to get back to the top next season.
Excerpts from an interview:
This is your first visit to India… are you liking it?
Yes, this is the first time I’m coming here. There have been a lot of countries I haven’t visited so far. Because of my packed schedule, I haven’t got the chance to explore much. But as a tourist this country excites me a lot and I would love to come back and explore more.
Not too long ago you were in the top-10. This year, however, you faced a slump. What exactly went wrong?
To be honest, it was a combination of both injuries and poor form. I was injured for a couple of months. I also lost eight tournaments this year but you can’t do much about it. It does affect your game and confidence but you have to overcome these things.
How did you deal with pressures that came with injuries and form slump?
I have been playing since I was six. Because I started at such an early age, I guess, I’m used to it. You have so many good competitors on the Tour now and you always feel the pressure. But again, you have to be determined to keep working hard.
A new season awaits you. Do you reckon you are better prepared for it?
I am really excited about the upcoming year. It has been tough for me this year but now I have a month and a half to prepare and do well next year.
Can you go back in time and tell us about your times at the Nick Bollettieri Academy?
I come from a sporting family. My mother was a gymnast and always encouraged me to take up different sport. I was a very hyper kid and I played basketball, tennis, hockey and track & field. But my main interest was in tennis. So, I packed my bags and left for Florida when I was 10. It was really hard there. I trained for six hours a day. But I loved it.
What is your training regimen like?
I do a lot of running, gym and yoga. I also do a lot of rehab exercises. I try and do yoga as it helps keep a flexible body.
Who do you reckon is the most dangerous player on the women’s tour at the moment?
There are so many who are in top form. But I would say, the Williams sisters are always extremely dangerous players, especially at the Grand Slams.