Danielle Dominates  - 

Interview: Danielle Collins (def. Daria Kasatkina 6-2 6-1)

April 7, 2024

Singles Final – Danielle Collins def. Daria Kasatkina 6-2 6-1

MODERATOR: Danielle, congratulations. Back-to-back titles from Miami to here in Charleston. Can you just tell us what this title here means to you?

DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah, I mean, to have had the week that I had here after having such a great run in Miami, and I had a lot of matches in Miami, and I had a lot of matches here. I had, at one point in this tournament, two matches in one day, which is not easy to pull off. I don’t know if I’ve done that before as a professional. I feel like the last time I did that was like in 12-and-unders. So to be able to physically battle and push myself to a new limit gives me a lot of confidence, and I mean, I’ve been so happy to be, obviously, playing at the level that I’ve been playing, but to be able to back it up two weeks in a row has just been fantastic.

So the support that I’ve had this week from all of the fans here, from my team, it’s been amazing. Yeah. It’s a whirlwind. So still kind of taking it in I goes.

Q. (No microphone).

DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah. You know, I try to — when I sign up for something or make the commitment to play an event, I really try to fulfill that commitment, unless there’s something really wrong. So for me, I was healthy after Miami, and I was playing really great tennis, and like I said, this is a player-favorite event. This is really special for all of us, and I’ve had so many great memories here on and off the court. I won doubles here last year. I have really great friends that live here. And so it was a no-brainer to come here.

I was really excited to make the trip and eager to get here as quickly as I could. I mean it was a quick turnaround. But I always have great memories in Charleston.

And for me, yeah, like I said, no-brainer to come here.

Q. Danielle, have these couple weeks make you think, well, maybe I shouldn’t step away from the tour as I planned to at the end of the year?

DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah. I mean, we could talk about like women’s health and chronic inflammatory conditions that affect women’s ability to get pregnant and conceive and all of that. But I’m kind of, with my set of challenges, it’s a very personal decision. And, you know, it’s great that I’ve made the decision that is best for me, and it’s best for me personally.

And I’m really happy that I can showcase my best tennis in these last couple of events, because I think that’s the way I want to go out, and I want to go out with my best results. I know everyone has a different way of retiring and ending their career, but for me I want to try to go out playing my best tennis. And I mean, obviously the set of challenges that I have like speaks for itself. And it’s a really important life decision. So, yeah.

Q. Staying on that subject somewhat, Danielle, given all the immense challenges you have had, but yet you’ve done everything you’ve done, is there any advice you would give other people, especially women who are facing sometimes hidden challenges, but are trying to maintain and get ahead?

DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah. I mean, I think for women with endometriosis, what I seem to have learned, and I’m not a medical expert, but I’ve talked to a couple of different people in the field, is that a lot of people are under the impression that painful periods are normal. Sometimes they can be normal, but sometimes they can be something more, and I just really encourage people to talk to their medical provider and to go annually to have their annual gynecological exam. I think it’s really important that you communicate with those medical professionals and every once in a while maybe get a second opinion if needed. There’s never any harm in doing that. And I’ve been really fortunate and lucky, I think, with the ability to have access to great medical staff and people that really listened to my concerns and took me seriously. I don’t think it’s always like that for all women, and especially in this country, we have a lot of health inequity.

Q. Look at what Venus went through.

DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah. And that’s part of the reason why I’m starting a charity at the end of the year for — to support women’s health initiatives. So this has been something that’s affected me and impacted me on a very deep level, and I want to be able to help women that are also facing those challenges, because I think it’s not an easy thing to deal with. And luckily I’ve been able to have — I’ve been very fortunate to have had great doctors and people that have listened to me, like I said. Yeah.

Q. Danielle, to do this, no coach, no physio. You get in the car and drive up here and win this tournament. It’s an amazing thing. Are you kind of surprised at yourself that you were able to do this coming off that long week in Miami

DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah. I mean, I guess I’m just a low-maintenance gal, right? I mean, I know hair and makeup is waiting for me after this, but on the tennis court I guess I just don’t need that much.

Yeah, I feel like one of the things that — one of my personal strengths starting at a young age was the problem solving. I remember I used to look at my dad during matches and I’d be like, dad, like help me! And my dad’s like, you know, you’re going to figure it out. You have to learn how to problem solve and think for yourself. And I think that’s something that I use to an advantage.

I’ve, of course, had lots of people that have helped me along the way, coaches, physios at times. And I’ve had a lot of great instruction over the years. There’s been periods where I’ve worked with people consistently. There’s been people that have been here for six months or a year and have helped me, and.

I do have a lot of really great support away from the tournaments, when I’m at home, I have some of the same people that I’ve been, working with since I was 15 years old and people that have been in my corner, and even though they’re not physically here, I’m talking to them, I’m communicating with them, bouncing ideas. And so I think that helps, because not everybody gets to have that.
And I certainly — I mean, it’s not easy, like traveling by yourself and not having all of the glamorous things, but sometimes you have less things to worry about because you’re just dealing with yourself. And so, yeah, it’s been tough to balance. And I mean, our schedule is very demanding, too. We play how many weeks out of the year. The season goes so long. It takes special people to want to give up everything in their life to just drop everything that they’re doing and live such an abnormal life. It’s not easy. And, you know, I’ve been lucky that I have had the people that I have in my life to help me and really push me through those challenging moments because at the end of the day it comes down to you and your resilience and being able to, would through those things out on court at challenging times. And, yeah.

Q. Danielle, how long has the Danimal been around and what do you think about that? Is it fitting?

DANIELLE COLLINS: I would say it’s probably pretty fitting at this point. I think I’ve been Danimal Collins maybe since I signed up for Instagram. When I graduated from college, I think I started this Instagram. And I remember someone at the time being like, wow, Danimal. I think that’s kind of cheesy. I was like, no, it’s not! It’s kind of cool. YOLO!

So, yeah. I’m going with it, and I’m not changing it just because someone thinks it’s cheesy. (Laughs).

So I like it. I like to have fun nicknames. And there’s obviously like other nicknames, too. As a kid people would call me Dani. I’m like, how boring! D. Okay. DC is kind of uncool. But then Danimal has a little flare to it. I like it, and I love rock and roll, and I feel like it’s just right in the line with that rock and roll vibe.

Q. What’s your next tournament and what is your confidence level as you get to your last set of tournaments, your last set of Grand Slams?

DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah. I think one of my biggest areas of improvement over the course of the last few weeks has been my concentration and focus and really being locked into my process. I mean, I say that a lot, and I think some people probably yawn at it because it’s like such an athlete thing to say, right? But it’s really true. It is. And I think knowing that I can play week in and week out, this is a good period of time of playing some matches every day, and I think that should give me confidence moving forward. You know, these women that I’m playing against, they’re the best in the world, and it’s — sometimes things go your way and then sometimes things don’t go your way, and you have to be open to that when those times do happen. Yeah, I’m just trying to keep the train going and really be myself out there and not think too much about what’s next, because this coming week is really unique for me. I get to have a few days off, and I’m so looking forward to this because I’ve only been at home for like five days since Christmas. And it’s such — yeah. It’s amazing getting to travel the world, to have the experiences that we get to have, but that can be challenging for a lot of people. And I’m a home body! So I’m really looking forward to getting home and getting some time to spend where I don’t think about tennis, and then hopefully when Madrid comes around I am back in Danimal mode! Then it’s back to reality.
So it’s like spring break for me. I feel like a kid at spring break. I’m like, whoo! A few weeks off from school. So I’m excited.

Q. Danielle, you seemed like you were in control after that. Did it feel that way to you?

DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah. Definitely. The women’s game is unique in the sense that we’re not always so dependent on breaks or getting broken because we’re all pretty good servers, but we’re all like really good returners, too. So the breaks happen more in the women’s game. So it’s important that you don’t get too excited when that happens because you have to be locked into what you’re doing. But I do think getting the break early and kind of establishing and setting the tone for the match of my aggressive game style and being relentless on some of those returns.

I hit some really great ones and hit some shots that people were like, wow. And I also hit some shots that people were like, oh, no! And, you know, you feel that sometimes when you miss those shots that you go for and they’re like, oh, gosh, what is she doing? Oh! Like how could you make a mistake like this? And you feel that way as a player, too, because you’re going for a lot, and, you know, you’ll make three in a row, and then sometimes you’ll miss them. But the biggest thing is I was persist and relentless with going after it, and I knew if I missed it by a little bit, I’m going to stick with that and I’m going to keep it coming.
And I was just very, very locked into the strategy that I had. And with that strategy, I had to be open minded to, okay, there’s going to be a few errors in there, and it’s all just about the process and continuously executing the game plan as best as possible.

Q. Another off-court question that I’ve been wanting to ask you for a while. Are you still designing jewelry?

DANIELLE COLLINS: Right now I am not. I do design some jewelry pieces for myself. But not for the public right now just because it is like a full-time career, and it would take up a lot of time, and I’ve been doing a lot of tennis recently. Yeah. That’s my full-time job.

Q. Are you planning to continue doing it?

DANIELLE COLLINS: Yeah, at some point, potentially. So we’ll see. Yeah.

Q. Danielle, congratulations. You mentioned yesterday having some secrets that you wanted to keep secret for now, but when can we expect your book to be released?

DANIELLE COLLINS: Oh, that’s a good question. I’m going to have to find a publisher. Yeah. And obviously it would probably take a little bit of time to work on. I’ve never written a book. So I would kind of need to learn all of the things that go into it. Hopefully in the next couple of years! Hopefully people will buy it.

Q. I’m sure they will.


2024 Charleston Open Danielle Collins
Players in this article