Getting To Know... Mandy Minella
Published September 02, 2010 12:00
NEW YORK, NY, USA - Sometimes when things come together, they come together in a big way. Mandy Minella played her first Tour qualifying event at home in Luxembourg way back in 2001, and her first main draws in 2005. In 2007 and last year she fell in qualifying at Flushing Meadows but this year, at 24, she won through to her first Grand Slam main draw. Keeping her momentum the winner of six ITF Circuit titles has since scored the biggest wins of her career, over No.47-ranked Polona Hercog and Tsvetana Pironkova, the tournament's No.32 seed. The reward is a third round showdown with seven-time Grand Slam winner and former No.1, Venus Williams.
We caught up with Mandy, who is currently ranked No.185 (but was up at No.150 earlier this season) after her second round US Open win over Pironkova.
Congratulations on a great week, Mandy. How are you feeling about the match against Venus?
MM: I feel very excited, and nervous too. This is going to be a lifetime moment, whatever will happen.
How did you start playing tennis?
MM: I started playing when I was five - my father thought it would be good for me to be involved in sport along with my academics. He would watch a lot of tennis, so I would watch with him.
Did you have a tennis idol?
MM: Steffi Graf. I really enjoyed watching her play and wanted to play like her. I can say it's thanks to her I became really interested in tennis.
Tell us about your home town.
MM: I was born and grew up in Esch-sur-Alzette, on the river in Luxembourg. All my family lives there. When I was 15 I moved to Paris to train, but I still go back to Esch as often as I can - I own an apartment there. In Paris, I rent an apartment with friends. Sometimes I train in Luxembourg because there are good facilities, but mostly I train in Paris.
Tell us about your family.
MM: My father, Mario, is retired. He provided medical services - nursing and first aid - in a metal factory. He also played soccer for 30 years, on small Luxembourg teams. My mother, Anna, owns a men's clothing shop. She didn't play any sports.
How were you coached in the beginning?
MM: I was coached by Fabien Verougstraete at my club for 10 years, then I spent five years with Alioune Touret through the national federation. I was with both until I started training in Paris, still with support from the Luxembourg federation. First I was with Tennis Club Bob Brett for three years, then the Mouratoglou Academy for three years.
What's your coaching situation now?
MM: I've been coached by Norbert Palmier since age 22, now at Tennis Club de Paris (TCP). I recently started working with a new fitness trainer, Vincent Lamarque.
If you could steal a shot from another player, what would it be?
MM: Roger Federer's backhand.
What is your best memory of your tennis career to date?
MM: 2010 US Open!
How would you describe your tennis game? Are you working on anything in particular?
MM: I'm an aggressive baseliner. My strengths are my serve and forehand. I need to improve my concentration, though.
What type of off court training do you do?
MM: Gym work, but I like all sports, especially water sports.
How do you relax away from the courts?
MM: I like to hang out with my friends; they help me think of other things besides tennis.
Do you have a favorite surface?
MM: I like clay and slow hard courts.
MM: I like the event in Luxembourg because it's at home and the organization is very good.
How far did you go in your schooling?
MM: I stopped in my last year of high school. I wasn't able to finish the final exams while playing tournaments. But I would consider going back to finish.
What non-tennis skill do you wish you had?
MM: I wish I was a singer. I'm a good one, actually - in the shower!
What's your most treasured possession?
MM: My family.
If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
If you could meet anyone in the world...
MM: I would meet Will Smith.
What would you have done if you hadn't been a tennis player?
MM: I changed my mind all the time, I think because I always knew I was going to be tennis player. When I was eight, we had to write an essay at school about what we wanted to be. I wrote that I was going to be a pro tennis player!
If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have one luxury item with you, what would you want it to be?
MM: My Mac.
What are your goals in tennis?
MM: One of my main goals is to reach the Top 100, then Top 50. I prefer to go step-by-step.