Photo: Susan MullaneAna Konjuh (CRO) at 2013 Wimbledon
After spending two months on the sidelines nursing an arm injury, world Junior No. 2 Ana Konjuh returned to action in May to compete on the ITF Pro Circuit and at the mid-summer junior Grand Slams. She reached back-to-back finals at $25,000 ITF Pro Circuit events in Maribor and Montpellier, winning her first pro circuit title at the latter, and the semifinals at both junior Roland Garros and Wimbledon. Here, the 15-year-old Croatian blogs about her eventful summer and taking a well-earned break.
I’m on holiday at home in Dubrovnik this week and it’s been really nice to have a rest and be with my family for a little bit. I’ve played a lot of tennis in the last couple of months so a break is really important, and I’m really happy to be with my family because I don’t really get a chance to see them too much.
I’m doing some fitness while I’m on holiday but there’s no tennis at all for four days. The fitness isn’t anything too serious, just enough to keep me in shape. My coach, Kristian Schneider, sends me an email with the things I have to do – just general fitness and stretches, some running and stuff like that. I probably spend about an hour and a half on a session, and do that two times over four or five days while I’m on holiday.
I got injured in March and took some time off to recover after [the $15,000 event in] Bath and didn’t compete for two months. I returned [at a $25,000 ITF event] in Casablanca, Morocco. I was a bit nervous before the match because I hadn’t played for so long so it didn’t go well and I lost in three sets in the first round. We decided to go to Maribor in Slovenia for another $25,000 event to give it another try and I ended up playing eight matches in a row, from qualifying through to the final. I was really tired at the end and I lost to Polona Hercog who is ranked in the Top 100 on the WTA Tour in the final.
I felt like I needed a break after Maribor but I had to go to Roland Garros the day after for the junior event, which I didn’t feel too happy about at the time after all those matches but I had to go! I was struggling through all the matches up until the semifinals and it was just a matter of time before I was going to lose so I wasn’t really surprised when I lost [to Germany’s Antonia Lottner].
I was a bit disappointed because I had a chance to do better at Roland Garros if I hadn’t played Maribor but you never know how things will work out at the time. I’m still really happy to have made the semifinals at junior Roland Garros in both the singles and doubles – it’s a really good result.
I chose to not play the doubles at junior Wimbledon to give my arm and my elbow a bit of a rest and just concentrate on singles. It was a good decision and I reached the semifinals again, losing to Taylor Townsend.
Overall the summer was a really great experience for me. I’m still really young so I’m just really glad to be a part of the Grand Slams at the junior level. I met some of the other pros in Paris and at Wimbledon and I learned from them a bit too so hopefully in the future I’ll be back there as a pro!
Ana mulls over her performance at the recent European Junior Championships and admits she'll be sad to wave the junior circuit goodbye after this year's US Open in her next blog next Thursday