St. Petersburg, Russia, WTA Premier, St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy, 823 000 usd, hard, indoor: 1R, Daria KASATKINA (RUS) - BYE, 2R: Maria SHARAPOVA (RUS) walkover, QF: Vera ZVONAREVA (RUS) 3-6 6-7(3).

St. Petersburg, Russia, WTA Premier, St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy, 823 000 usd, hard, indoor: 1R, Daria KASATKINA (RUS) - BYE, 2R: Maria SHARAPOVA (RUS) walkover, QF: Vera ZVONAREVA (RUS) 3-6 6-7(3).

Daria Kasatkina from EMPIRE Tennis Academy: Ready for Top 20

Daria Kasatkina (20) has been a member of EMPIRE Tennis Academy for more than three years. She has moved up more than 300 places in the WTA rankings during that time, she is a member of Top 30 in the world, she have made an enormous progress when she cooperated with Vladimir Platenik from the same tennis academy. Now, with a new coach, she is looking forward to new challenges.

It wasn't a bad season, because you reached 24th position in the WTA rankings, but did you hope that it would be even better one?

"The season was quite similar to the last one, in 2016. There were a lot of up and downs this year. But I'm really happy that I have won my first WTA tournament in my career and I think I have finished the year pretty good – quarterfinals in China or the final in Moscow. When I think that I was also injured in the first part of the season, it wasn't a bad season."

How important was it for you to gain first WTA singles title?

"It was very important for me because the start of the season was pretty bad. I didn't expect to win the title. Because before that I had lost at the tournaments early, so this was great. It was even Premier category tournament, not the lowest one so I was really excited about it."

When did you have the feeling that you were playing the best tennis? Was it in Charleston or at another place?

"Yes, it was Charleston, that's for sure but also in Wuhan when I beat Simona Halep. That match was unbelievable for me. I was playing really good. In my mind, in the beginning, I was just playing the regular match but in the end I just dominated. It was very important moment and win for me."

What was the end of the season like for your? It looked like you had found your game...

"Yeah, I came there (in Moscow) without any expectations. I was with my new coach but we have just started our cooperation. I was playing good and it is my hometown, tournament is in my city, so it was nice to finish the season like that."

What was your plan after the last tournament of the year?

"After vacation it was more about fitness preparation. I'm still playing tennis but not that much. I will play more tennis during pre-season tennis camp in Florida in December. In November it was more about fitness preparation."

What do you expect from your new coach Philippe Dehaes?

"I can't say that I expect something special right now. I just need a new view from the other side, other person.. We used to work together three years ago. I 'm really excited about our cooperation. Because we have more or less the same view of my game, style of thinking, so I'm looking forward to see how the cooperation will go during the next tournament in the new season."

What were the three years of work with Vladimir Platenik like? You moved up more than 300 places in the WTA rankings, you are a member of Top 30 in the world, you have made enormous progress during this phase of your career...

"For sure, I made a great step forward. He gave me a lot of important information, about the Tour, about tennis, about other players, that's it. I'm thankful for that."

What are your goals for the next season, if you have any?

"As always, it is about improving my game. I feel like I am prepared for the Top 20 level, I want to go further and further, to win the tournaments. I don't want to say exactly I want to be this No. or another, but I want to do my best and we will see what is going to happened. But for sure I want go for something big!"

What do you need to get into the Top 10, for example, to become one of those players...

"I need more experience, that's for sure. Now it is for me more about mental preparation, it is the key and some tactical skills on which we will work with my new coach. "

You spent your vacation in Barcelona, your favorite city. How was it?

"Unbelievable. The best vacation ever. I love the city, the atmosphere, everything -Spain, food, soccer. Everything I need is in this city. I saw everything, I walked about 172 kilometres in 10 days. I was just enjoying walking in Barcelona. It was tough to say good bye to the city but I had to go to work again (smile)."

Photos by: 
Milan Hutera,

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