Elena Baltacha's Birmingham Blog: Monday
Published June 07, 2010 12:00
BIRMINGHAM, England - With her best career results under her belt over the last 12 months, Elena Baltacha is hovering around a career-high right now and comes into the grass court season as Britain's No.1. Catch up with her now!
Monday, June 7, 2010
It's great to be back here in Birmingham for the AEGON Classic, the first Sony Ericsson WTA Tour event of the grass court season.
I love playing on grass and last week I won the AEGON Trophy warm-up event in Nottingham (about 45 minutes' drive away from Birmingham), which I hope has set the right tone for the next few weeks!
I know everyone says it, but it is really true that playing at home is great. You come to tournaments like Birmingham and you see a lot of friendly faces working there, plus when you travel all the time it's nice to be around familiar food and TV and all those little things that make life easy. I've always liked playing in Birmingham and I've had some good results here down the years. Grass is one of my best surfaces and these Sony Ericsson WTA Tour tournaments are always full of tough players. I've got a lot of confidence from playing well on grass last week in Nottingham.
Overall it's been a really good year for me. I started off by qualifying in Auckland and Hobart and then reached the third round of the Australian Open and in March, at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, I became the first British woman since 1994 to beat a Top 10 player when I knocked out Li Na. All of that makes a big difference to how you feel coming into this time of year. In the past I've felt a bit of pressure being British and knowing that there are so many opportunities. Now I know that I can play well on all surfaces and all over the world, it means I can just go out there in these tournaments and just play.
Off the court I haven't been doing a lot lately, other than all the usual pre- and post-match injury prevention, which is something that my coach Nino Severino takes very seriously. I try to be as professional as I can be and it really helps that Nino has a very detailed plan about how to manage every aspect of my tennis. That's the thing about tennis - it's all about getting the little details right in your physical and mental approach, from what you eat to things like stretching and massage. If you get those details right then I think you give yourself a much better chance of playing well.
I play my first match on Tuesday against Kaia Kanepi and I know I'll have to play well to get past her. She came through qualifying so she's had two matches on these courts already and she's been ranked a lot higher than she is now. Hopefully I'll get a few people cheering for me and it'll be my job to make sure they've got a lot to shout about!