Photo: Nir KeidarAna Konjuh on Fed Cup duty in Feb 2013
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 securing both singles and doubles titles at the 2013 Australian Open Junior Championships and making a successful Fed Cup debut for Croatia this February. Still playing on the Junior Circuit but with an eye on making the step up to the Pro Circuit, Konjuh talks about the importance of working hard in training in her third blog for ITF Juniors.
I have a really good fitness coach, Slaven Hrvoj, and working hard with him allows me to focus on doing as best as I can when I get on the court. Without training you’ve got nothing, so I plan to keep practising hard and I know results on the court will come. Me, Marin Cilic and Ivo Karlovic all work with the same fitness coach and we’re all really good friends so it’s good to get advice from them and try to learn from them where I can.
Sometimes I like training but when I’m tired, or it’s early, I don’t really like it! I know that it’s something that I have to do for my tennis though. There are always bad days, it happens, so If I wake up and I’m tired and don’t fancy training I say to myself, ‘It’s just another day, you can do it. Come on, tomorrow is another day.’ And tomorrow is always better. Things always get better with more practice. I’m starting to relax a bit more when I’m tired in training, just get through it and move on.
My favourite drills are points drills with my coach, Kristian Schneider. I’m the kind of person who likes to have fun with everything and so we always set different challenges so that training is more enjoyable. I’ve been with my coach for four years now. I moved to Zagreb and took him with me then and we still work together. There’s a good chemistry between us.
I live in a completely different place to my family. I’m in Zagreb, and my family are six hours drive away in Dubrovnik. My Mum comes up for a week, then my Dad visits for a week and then I’m alone for a week or I go to a tournament with my coach. My parents have their own business in Dubrovnik and my three sisters to care about! They all support me and give me great advice. They say ‘everything is going to be alright, you’re here where you are, thank God for it and live every day like it’s your last.’
On the court I like to play my tennis, although some people have said that I’m like Serena [Williams] but you know, she is she and I am me. I have my own tennis, my own game, my own head, and I’m just playing the way I want to. Of course it’s nice to be compared to her though!
In terms of idols, I really admire Kim Clijsters. She was a top player, gave birth to her daughter, and then came back to the top of tennis. I just hope that I can achieve what she has one day.
In the men’s game I’m a big fan of Roger Federer, but I haven’t had the chance to meet him. I met Novak Djokovic ahead of the US Open last year. We were using the same academy to train at and I practised after him on the same court. We share the same language so we spoke a bit. He was really nice. He gave me some advice and I wished him luck and said that hopefully we will see each other on the tour!
Click the following links to read Ana's first and second blogs for ITF Juniors.