15 Aug 2013

ITF Pro Circuit meets... Reka Luca Jani

Text Interview

By Nick Fishpool

Photo: Reka Luca JaniReka Luca Jani (HUN)

A Fed Cup regular since 2010, this 22-year-old Hungarian has already won seven singles titles on the ITF Pro Circuit in 2013, here's your chance to learn more about the player.

ITF Pro Circuit: Can you tell us where were you born and maybe describe the area where you grew up?

Reka Luca Jani: I was born in a city at the lake Balaton, Siofok. But we moved to Sopron when I was three, so I grew up there. It is a smaller city, close to the border with Austria.


Do any other members of your family play sport?

Most of them played basketball and they did athletics. Nobody played tennis before me.


So how did you get started in tennis?

I was six when I started to play. My parents just took me for some lessons and I liked it. I also played basketball, but after a few years I had to decide which one I want. Luckily I chose tennis.


What can you tell us about your current coach?

My coach is Filip Svozilek from Czech Republic. It is a little bit more difficult to organise the tournaments and the practices together, but we are doing a good job until now. He is not just my coach, but one of my best friends as well.


What is your greatest tennis memory either as a player or as a fan?

Obviously the moment when I qualified at the US Open in 2011 and we were both crying with Filip after the match.


In your opinion, what would you say are the best and worst aspects of being a professional tennis player?

The best part is that it is a really special life. Not so many people can live like this. I like the atmosphere at the tournaments and I am doing something what I really like. The worst part for me is the travelling. It takes a lot of energy and time.


So far in your career, what has been the nicest ITF Pro Circuit venue that you played at?

Every place has something. For example, [recently] I played in Bad Saulgau, all the people were so nice or where I played in Phuket where the beach was beautiful.


What is the best experience that you had on the ITF Pro Circuit?

It was also [recently] in Bad Saulgau, I went there alone and stayed at housing. So I got a new family for the week and they were so nice and helpful. I won the tournament...


Congratulations on reaching seven singles title wins on the ITF Pro Circuit during 2013, was you aware that only Na Li has, since the turn of the century, amassed more title wins, with eight, in one calendar year on the ITF Pro Circuit?

Thank you, I did not know that. Hope I will reach some more this year and also on some bigger tournaments.


How do players relationships with each other at tournaments compare on the ITF Pro Circuit to other Circuits you may have played (ie ITF Juniors/WTA Tour)?

I do not have so many experience on the WTA Tour yet, but as I saw till now, on those tournaments the players are more just doing their own things (practice, gym, massage and eating)  and on the smaller tournaments the players are more together.


How has playing on the ITF Pro Circuit helped you as a player?

It is always a good opportunity to play many matches and get confidence for the bigger tournaments. And to get some points as well.


Would you recommend that juniors go on to play the ITF Pro Circuit?

I think it is really necessary to play all the "stairs", starting with junior tournaments, $10,000 tournaments and every level.

Court Phillipe Chatrier, Roland Garros

If you could only have one Grand Slam title, which would you choose?

Roland Garros. Because I like to play on clay court, to fight for the points and for the matches.


What has been the best piece of advice you have been given?

Try to enjoy the game and always be positive.


Away from the tennis court do you have any other interests?

I did not have time for that the last few years. But I like snowboarding and kite surfing with my father.


Do you have a favourite holiday destination?

I would be happy to have time for holidays, but it is in my future plan to go for some special beautiful beaches for a holiday.


If you had not become a tennis player what career path would you have liked to have followed?

My mother has flower shops so I would help her in that for sure.


Have you set yourself any goals for 2013?

My first goal is to reach the ranking to get in for the Grand Slam qualifying and then to get back my best ranking (147) and try to improve.


Finally, tell us something about yourself that possibly not many people already know?

I cannot refuse sweets [smiles]