GETTING TO KNOW RUSSIA’S VERONIKA KUDERMETOVA
CHARLESTON OPEN QUARTERFINALIST CONTINUES RANKINGS CLIMB
There have been a lot of firsts for Veronika Kudermetova in 2021. In January, the 23-year-old Russian scored the first Top-10 victory of her career, upending World No. 5 Elina Svitolina, 7-6(8), 6-4, in Abu Dhabi. With the upset came a trip to her first-ever WTA Tour final (l. to Aryna Sabalenka, 6-2, 6-2). Now the 38th-ranked baseliner, coached by Sergey Demekhine, finds herself in the quarterfinals of the Volvo Car Open, where she’s the 15th seed. CreditOneCharlestonOpen.com caught up with the title-minded Kudermetova as she prepared for her elite eight matchup with 2016 champion Sloane Stephens.
Q: This has been a difficult year for everyone given the global pandemic, etc. How have you managed to keep things in perspective and focus on your career in tennis?
VK: Of course, it’s a really tough time with COVID-19. We don’t have a lot of time because everywhere we go we do quarantines, we do a lot of tests. I think it’s very important for everyone to focus on the work. I did what I can, practicing, working. It’s a good chance to improve every day.
Q: What lessons do you take watching a player like World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty when it comes to preparation and match play?
VK: She’s very consistent. She’s a good player, fights for every ball. She’s mentally very tough.
Q: How did it feel to reach your first WTA Tour final in Abu Dhabi?
VK: It was a very good tournament for me. It was my first final. I was very happy. I had a good preseason, and I think that helped me there. But after Abu Dhabi I had two weeks in the hard lockdown [in Melbourne prior to the Australian Open]. That isn’t a very good memory!
Q: You seem to be adapting to the green clay quite nicely. How difficult is that shift coming off the hard courts?
VK: For me, it’s not very tough. For some players, it is, but I can adapt very fast.
Q: Your father was a Russian national hockey champion. Did he hope you would follow him on the ice?
VK: It was my decision to play tennis, but I think my father is now proud of me. I know I was really proud of him when he played. He was my idol when I was young. It was nice to have a father like him.
Belinda Bencic's secret to her title lies... in a coloring book? And the new champion gives advice to...Read more
From Family Weekend to championship Sunday, the 2022 Credit One Charleston open was unlike any other...Read more
Gold medalist goes golden on 50 years of women's tennis in South Carolina: Belinda Bencic is champion...Read more