HONG KONG, China - Last week we brought you our very first 10 Questions With feature with Kim Clijsters - our second subject is another Grand Slam champion, Vania King, who is coming off a whirlwind fall season that included her first WTA final in seven years and a trip of a lifetime...
1. What did your run in Guangzhou this year mean to you?
"Guangzhou was a big surprise in a good way. I was really playing each match one at a time, because I played all but one match in three sets. I was really happy because I felt like all the work I did during the year finally paid off."
2. How do you look back at your overall season?
"I didn't start the year as I wanted to, results-wise and mentally. I had to play some smaller tournaments, which helped me gain some confidence and get a good level back, and by the end of the season I felt that I was playing very well. The best part of the season for me was finding enjoyment in my tennis and focusing on doing the best I could, day by day."
3. You went on a big trip around the world after the season was over - can you tell us about it?
"I had an amazing vacation. I first spent some much-needed time in the south of France, visiting Cannes, Monaco, Nice, Saint-Tropez and more with one of my best friends. I then went to Tromso, Norway with my sister to see the Northern Lights. It was an incredible experience as we got to see a very good display of the lights, stretching all across the sky. We then flew down to South Africa to Cape Town, and met up with my mom and my friend Lyn, who was a great tour guide! Cape Town is probably the most beautiful naturalist city I have ever seen and a highlight was a day of wine tasting by helicopter. We then went on a safari excursion for three days north of Johannesburg, which was pretty surreal. It was like being in National Geographic without a TV. I like to go somewhere new every year and this year I chose to see the Northern Lights, actually through an airplane magazine which had a feature on it. Overall, each place I went to I will never forget."
4. What was the most memorable moment of that trip?
"I can't choose, because seeing the lights and seeing lions, rhinos and elephants feet away are both really special. Wine tasting by helicopter was also something you don't get to do every day!"
5. Afterwards you went to UFC in Las Vegas - can you tell us about that?
"I had planned to visit my sisters over Thanksgiving weekend and since I am a big MMA fan, I planned on going to the UFC event that weekend. Through a connection through the WTA, I was able to get tickets and even meet the fighters. However, I did not expect to get literally the best seats in the house. I met Dana White and he invited me to sit between he and Lorenzo Fertitta, one of the co-owners of UFC, for the final bout, and met Ronda Rousey and Royce Gracie to name a few. I was so over the moon and had the best time."
6. What have you been doing for your off-season training?
"I was in Buenos Aires for three weeks, where my coach lives, and then I did the last three weeks in Florida in Boca Raton. I have been working really hard, so I'm looking forward to the season and seeing where I am at."
7. Where are you starting your 2014 season?
"I will start in Shenzhen, China and then Sydney and Melbourne."
8. What are your goals for 2014?
"Ranking-wise, I would like to be Top 50, but for me, I play the best when I am mentally motivated. As long as I stay happy and motivated, I play well."
9. How are you spending Christmas and New Year's?
"Shenzhen is only 20 minutes from Hong Kong, where my brother lives. My sister is here visiting as she was attending a wedding and my dad was here visiting my brother so I will actually have a half-family Christmas in Hong Kong. New Year's I think I'll be in China still... New Year's usually accompanies matches so it is just a change of number for me."
10. What is No.1 on your Christmas list?
"Material things aren't so important to me... okay except my phone. I usually don't see my friends and family for Christmas, so spending time with my family on Christmas this year will be present enough."