Photo: Corinne DubreuilAna Konjuh (CRO) at the Australian Open
World Junior No. 1 Ana Konjuh shot to prominence on the ITF Junior Circuit after winning titles at the prestigious Eddie Herr International and Orange Bowl in 2012 before underlining her potential with victory in both singles and doubles at the 2013 Australian Open Junior Championships. Since then, the 15-year-old made her Fed Cup debut for Croatia, winning all of her singles matches for her country, before a troublesome injury brought an end to her impressive 23-match winning run in singles at the $15,000 ITF Pro Circuit tournament in Bath. Here she blogs about an eventful last few months.
Unfortunately I struggled with an arm injury in Bath this month and I’ve had to take a break. I’ve had the problem for almost two years now and I didn’t sort it before but I’m trying to fix it now. I’m seeing some doctors this week so we will see what they say. It’s a shoulder injury, but it affects my biceps and triceps down my arm. I don’t know when I’ll be back on court yet, it depends what the doctors think.
Bath was my second senior tournament and I came through qualifying [beating Katharina Lehnert and Jade Windley] but the injury stopped me going any further. I was really looking forward to playing the girls in the main draw, but hopefully I’ll be back in shape soon and able to win some more tournaments.
I’ve had an amazing few months and it was really great going on a 23-match winning streak. It all started at the Eddie Herr [International Junior Tennis Championships]. I was actually 60 20 down [against American Jessica Ho] in the first round. In that moment I said to myself, ‘you can’t play like this. You have to do something different.’ I won 06 62 62 and from then on I improved match by match. I got into a rhythm.
After my time in the USA I was able to go home and spend time with my family over Christmas before going to Australia. I love the hard courts so my plan was just to do my best. Deep down I knew I could win the Australian Open Junior title, but I didn’t expect to win both the singles and doubles [alongside Carol Zhao]. I was a bit surprised! Playing two matches in one day is quite tough, and Australia is really hot, but it was a good experience for me.
I had a lot of support from my team in Australia and [Croatian Fed Cup captain] Iva Majoli and [2001 Wimbledon champion] Goran Ivanisevic were also there cheering for me which was nice. After the final I had a flight back home the same day so I was kind of in a hurry. I had time to drink a bit of champagne – even if I’m not allowed to! It was a great feeling to have won. I celebrated by hanging out with the team and when I got home I went out for lunch with my family and we talked and spent time together.
When I came back from Australia there were about 12 paparazzi waiting for me at the airport and after two days of travelling to have them taking pictures of me was kind of weird! When I go shopping for example, people say, ‘are you that girl that plays tennis?’ I’m like, ‘yep, that’s me!’ But it’s fun. The extra attention is not a problem.
Ana talks fitness, making the transition to senior level and the pride of representing Croatia in Fed Cup in her second blog next Wednesday.