Sara Errani: A Clay (and Candy) Crusher

No. 3 seed Sara Errani is making her first appearance at the Volvo Car Open since 2008, when the then-world No. 63 lost in the second round. The Italian has since been to a Grand Slam final, entered the Top 5 and is one of the grittiest players on the WTA Tour – especially on clay. We caught up with her Wednesday.

Volvo Car Open: You won when Kiki Bertens retired after the first set. How did you play?
Sara Errani: I can improve like always. It’s my first match on clay this season, but for my first match I felt good about it. We’ll see tomorrow how it goes. [She plays Peng Shuai.]

MORE: Thursday’s Matches to Watch | Schedule of Play | Updated Draws

FCC: What is it about your game that suits clay so well?
I like to run a lot. I like to slide on the clay, so it helps my game with the higher and slower bounces, which suit me. The long points are good for me: I can fix them how I want and I can use more tactics – it’s not just about one shot.

FCC: We’ve seen two little boys with your team this week. Who are they? They’re so cute!
Errani: They are the sons of my coach. They’ve been on the road with us in Indian Wells, Miami and now here, so it’s been a long trip, but it’s been so much fun! One is nine months and the other is three. We just joke around a lot and there’s a lot of tickling [laughs]. We’re always playing around. I love them.

FCC: Italians love good food. What are you eating here in Charleston?
Errani: Here, it’s better to eat steak or some sort of fish. You have so many options. OK… we’ve gone once for Italian. It was very good pizza! [Laughing.]

FCC: You got to No. 5 in the world but then dropped a little bit. How do you feel about your game now?
Errani: It’s OK for me to be No. 11 and not No. 5. I just want to live my life a little easier and try to leave everything on the court, but not think about it too much off the court. You can’t make everyone happy – it’s impossible. I want to play for me.

FCC: Lastly, we know you’re a big fan of Candy Crush, the game for mobile phones. Update us on your progress.
Errani: [Laughing.] They’ve added levels! But I’m on level 540 and I have five levels left before I’m done. I’ll just wait for them to add even more! [Laughing.]

FCC: Thanks Sara. Good luck!

Photo by Chris Smith/Volvo Car Open