04 Jan 2012

ITF Pro Circuit meets... Romana Tabak

Text Interview

Romana Tabak

In our interview with Romana Tabak, a 20-year old Slovakian rising star, we find out, among other things, the important role her coach has played in her life, which player she wanted to marry and how she very nearly followed a completely different career path, oh, and also the importance of checking your travel tickets!

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

Romana Tabak: I was born in Bratislava the capital city of Slovakia, I grew up at my home club SLOVAN and at NTC national tennis centre, I started to play tennis by myself

ITF Pro Circuit:  Do any other members of your family play sport?

Romana Tabak: My brother Aaron plays football

ITF Pro Circuit: So how did you get started in tennis? How old were you?  Where did you first play?

Romana Tabak: I started when I was seven, one of my friends wasn’t in the best shape and needed to do some sports so my mum took her to the courts and I went with them and I fell in love. The first time I played regional tournaments was in Bratislava


ITF Pro Circuit:  What can you tell us about your current coach?

Romana Tabak:  My current coach is Martin Gretzky Zathurecky. I can say  that I am so tough personality and this guy was next to me through the bad times and good times.

We started work when I was 13 and since that time I broke up with him because I thought I’m the princess and I know it best, I forgot to work hard and fight on the courts and after switching a couple of coaches I came back to him with tears in my eyes apologising and he gave me a second chance.

He is like my step father, he is not there for me only as a coach but also like the person to educate me and prepare for life. He has two beautiful daughters and I’m his third- the black sheep [smiles]. I thank him for the way I am now, if not for him I probably wouldn’t be playing now because I don’t have that big a support from my family.

He is a funny guy, when I have a day off at tournaments we play a lot of games, talk and read books. Now we are working on my weight [smiles]

ITF Pro Circuit: Who were/are your tennis idols?

Romana Tabak: I don’t have idols in women’s tennis, I do like the style of play of Netherlands players [smiles]

ITF Pro Circuit: What is your greatest tennis memory either as a player or as a fan?

Romana Tabak: As a player my biggest memory is underserve at (junior) Wimbledon in my semifinal  and as a fan when Andy Roddick in 2003 at a Davis Cup tie gave me his towel and left to return to his hotel and I was crying at home I wanna be his wife!

ITF Pro Circuit: Away from the tennis court do you have any other interests?

Romana Tabak:  Reading books, fashion and being  with my sisters Amanda and Nadine, my brother Aaron and my dogs Roza, Izaura and Coco


ITF Pro Circuit: Do you have a favourite holiday destination?

Romana Tabak:Thailand - Koh Samui with my family


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

Romana Tabak: I know it sounds strange but when I was 15 I was on the TV show 'Slovakian Next Top Model' and at that time I was choosing between tennis and modeling. I chose tennis and I pulled out from this show in the second round

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

Romana Tabak: The best is travelling and seeing new places and winning matches. The worst is when you are down and don’t know how to move forward, when you are injured, I think I have the worst behind me.

[Romana had undergone knee surgery in 2010 which resulted in almost one year away from the courts and eventually the loss of her WTA World Ranking which she would recover in late May 2011 following a title winning performance in Bastad just days after her 20th birthday]


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

Romana Tabak: My career is so far so small but I think all the junior Grandslam venues

ITF Pro Circuit: What has been the most bizarre venue that you played at?

Romana Tabak: Everywhere when I wasn’t fighting, losing matches and my head was in a mess!

ITF Pro Circuit:  Any memorable experiences that you have had on the ITF Pro Circuit?

Romana Tabak: I was flying to China to the city of Quandzhou and we had bought tickets to the city of Guandzhou, and when we said we wanna go to the [tennis] club they told us we were 20 hours by train, far from it!


ITF Pro Circuit: Which player(s) are you friends with?

Romana Tabak: Michaela Pochabova, An Van der Meet and Kasia Piter

ITF Pro Circuit: How do players relationships with each other compare on the ITF Pro Circuit to other tournaments you have played?

Romana Tabak: I don’t know as I’m not particularly looking for new friends on the Circuit, I think it can be fake

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

Romana Tabak: The ITF has  helped in many ways

ITF Pro Circuit: Would you recommend that top juniors play the ITF Pro Circuit?

Romana Tabak: I would recommend that they should be ready for the big difference  after junior Grandslams when they start to play small tournaments and all the players are fighting  even when they are older without a ranking and be prepared for very tough times, it can take a few years to play in women’s Grandslams

ITF Pro Circuit: What aspect of another players game do you envy?

Romana Tabak: I envy other players playing tough games, full of emotion, on the big stage

ITF Pro Circuit: Speaking of other players (past & present), whose attributes would you take to create your own female super player?

Romana Tabak:


Serena Williams

Return of serve

Marion Bartoli


Ana Ivanovic


Venus Williams


Justine Henin


Serena Williams

Speed on court

Vera Zvonareva


Maria Sharapova

Fighting spirit

Serena Williams


Ana Ivanovic


ITF Pro Circuit: What has been the best piece of advice you have been given?

Romana Tabak: Never think using your heart, only after working hard full of pain can come the biggest satisfaction

ITF Pro Circuit: Thanks for your time and all the best for 2012 and beyond.

Romana Tabak has had an eventful start to her ITF Pro Circuit career, in 2011 she fought back from the loss of her WTA World Ranking following a lengthy lay off due to knee surgery to re-enter the ranking charts at 800 at the end of May and, over the course of the remainder of the year, rise to a new career singles high of 255 by the end of 2011.

Since making her debut appearance in an ITF Pro Circuit singles final in 2008 she had, by the end of 2011, competed in nine finals, winning the title on six occasions. In 2011 alone she has four titles from six finals, helped by a strong finish to the year in which she played in, and won, three consecutive finals in Paraguay!

When it comes to setting goals for the coming 2012 season, Tabak plays her cards very close to her chest but it’s safe to say if she can continue in the form in which she closed out 2011 this young Slovakian will feature very prominently on the Circuit and a continued rise up the rankings is almost assured!

Official website for Romana Tabak