The Winner’s Circle- Interview with Alla Kudryavtseva
INTERVIEW WITH ALLA KUDRYAVTSEVA
- Congratulations on your winning of the Doubles Title at the recent Volvo Car Open! What does it feel like to win a title? Does it even sink in initially? Winning a title is a great feeling. I am very pleased because it has been a couple of years since my last triumphant tournament of this caliber. I always loved coming to Charleston and to finally win here feels awesome.
- You have only been back on tour for about a year following a potentially career-threatening injury. What do you think was the biggest contributing factor to making your recovery? I had a great surgeon (Dr. Nicola Maffulli) and I texted him right after the finals. I’m very grateful that I was in the care of such a professional. I also had a great physiotherapist (Clare Sinton) working with me and helping me stay injury free as I tried to regain confidence in my movement. Ravi Patel put in a lot of hours with me on the court, a few months before my come back and about 7 months into it. I had the support of my family, my boyfriend (now fiance), and my friends. I think all those factors contributed to my successful come back. I actually had a pretty good time throughout my injury timeout, which I know is pretty unusual.
- What advice would you give to another player trying to come back from injury? I would tell any athlete to have a good healthy support system in place. To focus on people who appreciate you as a person and not just as an athlete. To cherish and cultivate the friendship that is outside of your sport or beyond it, because these are the people you’ll want to have around when you are hurt and can’t compete for a while. I’d also say try to be smart financially, so that you can take your time, recover to the fullest and come back on your terms. Try to enjoy your time away from competition while focusing on rehab. It can be done, I promise.
- Did the injury and subsequent comeback change your approach to the game? Yes, I definitely appreciate tennis more at the moment. It’s a beautiful game that I’m really quite good at, so now I am trying to enjoy it more than ever. I also appreciate my family and friends more than ever before. I am really blessed to have such wonderful people in my life.
- Did the injury and subsequent comeback change your approach to life? No, not really. I feel I’m a little calmer and a little happier but I didn’t have any big revelations. I have a great family and a great life and I have always known things will be okay with or without tennis. Maybe I look at some of my colleagues differently. Some of them were supportive throughout the injury and my first tournaments back, which felt really good. I also realized not much changed on tour even if you are absent for six months. Not sure if it’s a good or a bad thing.
- What inspires you to play? I like being independent and financially secure. I love that WTA is an advocate for equality. I love the sport and I admire some of the girls on tour. Together those factors inspire me to the best I can be.
- It is the beginning of clay season. What is your favorite surface to play? I always loved grass courts but last year I started my come back on clay so I spent 2 months pre-competition training on clay courts and I like them a lot more now. Overall, since I now focus on doubles, I don’t care about the surface as much. Wimbledon will always be the favorite tournament though.
- You have amazingly played in almost every grand slam for the past 11 years. Will we see you this time too? I plan to play at all the Grand Slams this year and hopefully try to better my previous results.
- What is your fondest tennis memory? Teaching my fiancé how to play tennis. Of course, I have some good memories on the tennis court but it’s hard to choose one at this point. Going into semis at the WTA FINALS in Singapore is definitely one of them, beating Sharapova at Wimbledon is another, and finally, every single title (which I now have 10; 1 in singles and 9 in doubles) holds a special place in my heart.
- You have been wearing inPhorm for several years now. You had many brands to choose from. What drew you to inPhorm? There are so many brands involved in tennis so we do have our pick, but for me, most brands are either too generic or too trendy. inPhorm is classy, sporty and has a perfect color scheme, so I stand out without looking ridiculous.
- What do you love about inPhorm tennis gear?For me, it’s the textures. The materials always feel light, pleasant, and cool on the skin even when it’s really hot. I also like the variety a lot. Most girls get one or two match outfits to choose from every collection whereas I usually have 6-8 different options. Also, I always have my pick of long and short sleeves, regular skirts or skirts with leggings for when the weather gets tricky. It makes a big difference in performance when you are comfortable and know you look good. I love InPhorm and have never been happier with a partnership (well…maybe with my fiancé).