22 Jan 2018

Vismane looking to follow in Ostapenko's footsteps

News Article

By Sandra Harwitt

Photo: Martin SidorjakDaniela Vismane (LAT)

Daniela Vismane of Latvia needed just 56 minutes to see off Loudmilla Bencheikh of France 64 63 in a second-round encounter at the Australian Open on Monday.

This marks the 17-year-old's first trip to Australia and her first impression of the country is the same as many newcomers: “It’s nice, but it’s so hot.”

The 56-minute match featured 11 service breaks as both players struggled with nerves.

There were five breaks of serve in the first set with Vismane successfully challenging Bencheikh’s serve in the third, fifth and seventh games, while the French teen broke serve in the sixth and eighth games.

Six of the eight games in the second set were also decided with service breaks before the Latvian completed the victory.

“It was tough even though I won 64 63,” Vismane said. “It was mentally tough because I knew I can win. I just focused on my game and did what I could.”

Vismane is one of the junior players to be named in the first Grand Slam Development Fund Touring Team to travel to the Australian Open in over a decade.

The GSDF initiative is designed to help promising juniors with financial support so they can travel to prestigious tournaments such as the Australian Open, and also provides top-notch coaching for those on the team.

Last year, Vismane also played on GSDF teams, travelling to three Grand Slams. She is a native of Babite, Latvia, which is near Riga, Latvia’s capital city. She first picked up a tennis racket at the age of seven after watching tennis on TV. These days she spends some quality time twice-a-year training in Valencia, Spain, but otherwise practices at home when she’s not at tournaments.

In 2017, Vismane won three junior Grade 2 tournaments and reached the semifinal at a fourth.

But the highlight of last season for Vismane was playing on the Fed Cup team for Latvia. She partnered in doubles with reigning Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko against Portugal to win her first Fed Cup career match.

The world according to Daniela Vismane

Tell me the three best things about you?

Daniela Vismane? Fighter. Good friend. And you can trust me. I’m like honest.

What would you change about yourself if you could change one thing?

Daniela Vismane: Maybe I can be more relax at some moments because I get quite nervous in tennis. I could be a more relaxed person.

Tell us about your favorite toy or doll when you grew up?

Daniela Vismane: (laughing) Actually I was not with dolls, I was with (toy) cars. I was playing with boys a lot of time. We were doing some sports stuff.

If you could be any celebrity who would you want to be and why?

Daniela Vismane: I really like Blake Lively, the actress. She’s so pretty and such a good person. She’s always smiling and so happy. I’m following her on Instagram and what she’s is doing, so I like her. I think I’d do the stuff she is doing in a day.

If you could talk to your pets what would you ask them?

Daniela Vismane: (laughing) I have a lot of pets. I have two big dogs that live outside, and one small dog that was mine for my birthday and in the house, and a cat. I would like to talk to my pets like I’m talking to people. Like ask them, “How are you? What do you want to do?”

You said you first were introduced to tennis when watching tennis. Do you remember who was playing the match that you saw?

Damiela Vismane: Yes, Maria Sharapova, of course. I like her because she’s the best player, I think. I like her game but we are not so similar. I’m more keeping the ball aggressive from the baseline and running a lot. I think she’s hitting more winners. I watched her at the U.S. Open when she played against my countrywoman, Anastasija Sevastova. No, no, no, I haven’t talked to her. I saw her in the locker room here, but, of course not, I didn’t say hello.”

You’re playing here as part of the Grand Slam Development Fund. How has that an advantage for you?

Daniela Vismane: First of all, I want to say a big thank you for this opportunity to the ITF and the Grand Slam Development Fund to be here with them. I’m enjoying my time. I like the coaches, I like the players. Everything is good and I like to be part of the team. I was on the team at the US Open and they asked me if I wanted to go here. I like the coaches, especially Roberta Burzagli, we are really close and I’ve been with her before, this is the third or fourth time.”

We know you’re only 17 but what have you been most proud of about your tennis?

Daniels Vismane: I was on the Fed Cup team last year. The women Fed Cup and after this I am going to Fed Cup as well. This year, when I go back (home) I have a week practice and then I go to Fed Cup. It was exciting. It was Jelena Ostapenko, Anastasija Sevastova and Diana Marcinkevica as well. We are good friends. Jelena, this is amazing what she’s done. A great player, fighter. For Latvia, what she did (winning Roland Garros) it’s a really big thing. I’m so happy for her. Of course when I see someone can do this from our country, of course I want to be there. Yeah, we are friends. We went once for lunch in Riga. We are not so close but we are friends.