Shymkent, Kazakhstan, ATP Challenger, 54 160 USD + H, clay, outdoor: 1R, Andrej MARTIN (SVK) - BYE, 2R: Tung-lin WU (TPE) 7-5 6-1, 3R: Nino SERDARUSIC (CRO) 6-3 6-4, QF: Aleksandr NEDOVYESOV (KAZ) 6-2 6-3, SF: Alejandro TABILO (CAN) 5-7 7-6 6-2, F: Stefano TRAVAGLIA (ITA) 6-4 6-4 TITLE!!!; Kharkiv, Ukraine, Tennis Europe U14, Chernitskaya Memorial, clay, outdoor: 1R, David SCHWARC (SVK) - Roman VENGER (UKR) 6-1 6-1, 2R: Erik TKALENKO (UKR) 6-0 6-1, QF: Oleksandr GURIEV [5] (UKR) 6-2 6-3, SF: Andrii ZIMNOKH [2] (UKR) 6-3 6-2, F: Walker ALLEN (USA) 6-2 6-0 TITLE!!!; 1R, Andriy PORITSKYY (UKR) - Nikita SCLEARENCO (CYP) 6-3 7-5, 2R: Sviatoslav KOLIADYNSKYI (UKR) 6-1 6-1, QF: Walker ALLEN [6] (USA) 0-6 7-6(4) 5-7; Barcelona, Spain, ITF World Tennis Tour, 3r Trofeu Internacional Ciutat de Barcelona, 60 000 USD, clay, outdoor: 1QR, Vivien JUHASZOVA (SVK) - Yvonne CAVALLE-REIMERS (ESP) [10] 6-4 6-2, QFinal: Irene BURILLO ESCORIHUELA (ESP) [7] 7-6(6) 2-6 [7-10], 1R: Carlota MARTINEZ CIREZ (ESP) 6-3 6-2, 2R: Xinyun HAN (CHN) [2] 3-6 3-6.

Shymkent, Kazakhstan, ATP Challenger, 54 160 USD + H, clay, outdoor: 1R, Andrej MARTIN (SVK) - BYE, 2R: Tung-lin WU (TPE) 7-5 6-1, 3R: Nino SERDARUSIC (CRO) 6-3 6-4, QF: Aleksandr NEDOVYESOV (KAZ) 6-2 6-3, SF: Alejandro TABILO (CAN) 5-7 7-6 6-2, F: Stefano TRAVAGLIA (ITA) 6-4 6-4 TITLE!!!; Kharkiv, Ukraine, Tennis Europe U14, Chernitskaya Memorial, clay, outdoor: 1R, David SCHWARC (SVK) - Roman VENGER (UKR) 6-1 6-1, 2R: Erik TKALENKO (UKR) 6-0 6-1, QF: Oleksandr GURIEV [5] (UKR) 6-2 6-3, SF: Andrii ZIMNOKH [2] (UKR) 6-3 6-2, F: Walker ALLEN (USA) 6-2 6-0 TITLE!!!; 1R, Andriy PORITSKYY (UKR) - Nikita SCLEARENCO (CYP) 6-3 7-5, 2R: Sviatoslav KOLIADYNSKYI (UKR) 6-1 6-1, QF: Walker ALLEN [6] (USA) 0-6 7-6(4) 5-7; Barcelona, Spain, ITF World Tennis Tour, 3r Trofeu Internacional Ciutat de Barcelona, 60 000 USD, clay, outdoor: 1QR, Vivien JUHASZOVA (SVK) - Yvonne CAVALLE-REIMERS (ESP) [10] 6-4 6-2, QFinal: Irene BURILLO ESCORIHUELA (ESP) [7] 7-6(6) 2-6 [7-10], 1R: Carlota MARTINEZ CIREZ (ESP) 6-3 6-2, 2R: Xinyun HAN (CHN) [2] 3-6 3-6.

Kasatkina is making the most of her co-operation with Platenik: I didn’t expect such an improvement in the rankings

A year ago, if somebody had told about her improvement in the WTA rankings by almost 300 places into the TOP 40, she would have considered him an alien. But Daria Kasatkina (19) together with the EMPIRE Tennis Academy coach Vladimir Platenik has achieved it, and what is more, she has also managed to gain the respect of her opponents and she is working on further improvements. Her brother Alex helps her a lot. She plays tennis that can make her dreams come true one day: win all four grand slams and become world number one.

How is your co-operation with Vladimir Platenik?

"Vladimir Platenik immediately understood how to communicate with me. He is strict as a coach but at the same time he knows when to relax. One moment, he can shout at me, the next moment, he tells a joke to make a relaxed atmosphere. His approach is very important to me."

What has been your biggest improvement since you came to Trnava?

"We have been working on many things together with my coach Vladimir Platenik – we have worked on my backhand, serve and overall understanding of the game. I have improved my movement on the court and also my fitness, thanks to our fitness coach Maros Molnar. I can feel I am improving step by step every month and it is really important."

If somebody had told you a year ago that you would be world No. 32, would you believe him?

"It is true I am confident, but at that time, I would have considered him an alien. I had not expected such a big improvement. I would understand that getting into Top 100 in a year would be a great success. But reaching the Top 40 in the world, that’s something amazing."

Is it difficult to handle such success?

"Nothing has changed for me; maybe other players pay more respect to me. And regarding the coach, he is even harder on me. There is no place for errors. Even on trainings, I have to work 150%, not 100% anymore. If I want to reach higher level, I need to find the strength in myself and work harder."

When did you first hear about the tennis academy in Trnava and what was your first reaction?

"I heard about the academy at the end of 2014, when I was looking for a new coach. I received an offer from my agent to come to Trnava and try it out. I immediately liked it here – club, atmosphere and courts. The decision has been made, I am staying here."

What convinced you to stay here?

"Everything. I like the training process, the approach of my coach Vladimir Platenik and the good players in the academy. Also the location of the academy is great, I can travel by car to lot of European tournaments. Slovakia is in the heart of Europe and everything is close from here."

When someone from abroad asks you where you are based, what do you tell them about the academy?

"I have to say I have been asked such questions a lot recently. I mostly tell them how it works in Trnava and how I like it here. Sometimes it happens that you come somewhere, everything looks great, but in the end something is missing. But I feel comfortable in the academy, everything fits me perfectly here."

What are your hobbies, how do you relax?

"I love football, I love watching matches in TV, or we even go out and play football with guys from the academy. But we only do it, when I have some energy left (laugh). Generally, I love sports and being proactive in my free time."

Does your family often visit you in Trnava?

"My brother is with me at every training and tournament.  He helps me with everything. Sasha is also my fitness coach. When my busy schedule allows it, my parents come and visit me. My mum likes it here a lot."

Don’t you regret living so far from home?

"Sometimes a bit, but once we have made such decision; it does not make any sense to change it, just because I feel sad at times. Trainings in Togliatti did not have effects, I needed a higher level. Travelling was also very tiring, you need to fly to Moscow and then from there to the final tournament destination."

What are your tennis dreams?

"Win Grand Slam, all four grand slams to be precise."

What are your biggest weapons as a player?

"I love playing with rotation, lot of players do not like it. They play with power, but do not think about placing the ball. I do it the other way."

Why do you like tennis?

"Because I have been playing tennis since childhood. I am very thankful to my brother Alexander. When I was six, he brought me to the first training. Tennis develops everything – quick reactions, legs, hands, brain, concentration... Everything. Thanks God, I had not had any dance classes. Alexander said tennis, and it was tennis."

Where do you see the potential of your game?

"World number one! But to achieve it, I have to work very hard. My role idol is Rafael Nadal. I admire him for his hard work as well as behaviour on the court. I was lucky to speak to him for a few times. He is very humble, very polite, open minded. Nice person. If you ask him for advice, he is always happy to answer."

Photos by: 
Milan Hutera, Tennis Arena

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