‘I’m not Serena, a quarterfinal loss isn’t a disaster’ – Russian star Pavlyuchenkova
Russian tennis ace Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova has opened up on her Grand Slam ‘quarterfinal curse’, saying that, unlike for some stars such as Serena Williams, for her reaching that stage of a major tournament is an achievement.
The 27-year-old was the sole Russian female tennis player to reach the quarterfinal of the 2019 Australian Open, where she was beaten by US sensation Danielle Collins in three sets, 6-2 5-7 1-6.
In an exclusive interview with RT, the former junior world number one stressed that she is working hard on improving her WTA ranking, and underlining that she doesn’t see her Australian Open quarterfinal exit as a below-par performance.
“I think it’s very easy (for fans) just to talk about results. I’m doing everything possible to reach high goals. I think that being in the quarterfinal of a Grand Slam is a sort of success. I don’t think I have some psychological problems with (going past quarterfinals), I’m working hard to go through this stage (at future Grand Slam events),” Pavlyuchenkova said.
“I was seeded 44th at the Australian Open, meaning that I wasn’t in the top five and even in the top 10, that’s why I can’t reproach myself for not winning the tournament. I’m not Serena, for whom a quarterfinal loss is a disaster,” she added.
The holder of 12 WTA titles – who has been among the top 50 players for several years – said she wants to improve her position in the current standings, but is concentrating more on staying healthy.
“By achieving high results in tennis you are setting a high bar for yourself dreaming of not being among the top 50 and top 30, you want to be ranked higher. But I’m trying not to focus on this particular goal, the season is quite long and my tennis career is long as well, so it’s quite important to stay healthy during all these years,” the three-time junior Grand Slam winner said.
Pavlyuchenkova also expressed her admiration for Williams, suggesting that the American tennis ace might win a record-equaling 24th Grand Slam, becoming the greatest female player in history.
“After giving birth to her child she shows brilliant results on court being aged 37. Her performance and excellent physical shape deserve praise and admiration. Tennis is a difficult sport, especially for women, and I really respect Serena,” Pavlyuchenkova said.
“Her priorities differ from other tennis players’ goals, she wants to play for records and she was very close to winning her 24th Grand Slam as she reached two finals. Some players never reach them during their entire career, but she did it during the first year since returning from maternity leave,” she added.
Talking about Naomi Osaka’s sensational 14-game winning streak at Grand Slam events, Pavlyuchenkova stressed that the Japanese talent has the potential to take more titles if she avoids injury.
.@Naomi_Osaka_ sits at No.1- encircled by a group of power-hitters and aggressive counter-punchers all hungry to replace her. Who will? Our women's crystal ball for 2019. https://t.co/PzMdNjZWp8pic.twitter.com/0DnBasjHV1— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 30, 2019
“Of course it’s great to win to back-to-back Grand Slams at such a young age. I was not surprised by her victories because she has been demonstrating good tennis for quite a long time. If she stays healthy, she could claim many more trophies. I don’t know, it will depend on Osaka and her team, maybe she would prefer to stop playing tennis after winning many major titles.”