Getting To Know... Patricia Mayr-Achleitner
Published July 20, 2011 12:14
BAD GASTEIN, Austria - Some players struggle on home soil; others relish the opportunity. Happily for 24-year-old Austrian Patricia Mayr-Achleitner, her country hosts two stops on the WTA and one of them - the NÜRNBERGER Gastein Ladies in the gorgeous Alpine setting of Bad Gastein - has proven to be particularly fertile ground. In 2008, playing her first main draw on the tour here, she reached the quarterfinals; last year she reached the quarters again, and last week she made it all the way to her first final.
We caught up with Patricia before that title match, in which she finished runner-up to María José Martínez Sánchez but afterwards moved back up to No.76 in the rankings - not far off her career-best of No.70.
How did you get into tennis?
PMA: My parents played tennis, and so did my brother. I was three years old and I started with a big racquet! My father would say, yes, this is the future Austrian No.1! I always liked it very much, but sometimes it was not always easy, playing for so many years.
Tell us about your family.
PMA: My father is Hans, and my mother is Margarethe. They have a pizzeria. My brother Patrik is 32, he's a tennis teacher in Switzerland. My sister, Pamela, is 17 and she works in a shop. And of course I married Michael Achleitner in December 2010.
Your husband is also your coach.
PMA: Yes, we've been working together for five years. We had other help in the beginning but my husband learned a lot and now we are doing it alone. It's going well, I think. It's special to have my husband on tour with me. He knows me so well and at the end of each day it's nice to have him here.
How do you describe your playing style?
PMA: In the past I was more defensive, but I've changed a little bit. I'm more aggressive now - I try to hit a hard serve and hard on my forehand.
If you could take a shot from another player, what would you choose?
PMA: Serena Williams' serve.
Did you have a tennis idol growing up?
PMA: Thomas Muster. I've seen him but I've never met him.
What's your proudest tennis memory so far?
PMA: I would have to say this week in Bad Gastein!
Who's been your toughest opponent to date?
PMA: Last year I played Martínez Sánchez in the semifinals at Bogotá. Maybe I have to say her. I'm sure the final here will be very difficult too.
What are your goals in tennis?
PMA: In the short term, at the next few tournaments up to the US Open, my goal is to keep improving and make the same kind of results as here. In the future I hope to go Top 50.
What is your favorite surface and tournament?
PMA: Clay, Bad Gastein!
How far did you go in your education?
PMA: I left school when I was 16.
What do you do for fun?
PMA: Shopping. I like to buy everything from clothes to things for my flat. And I like staying at home. As far as other sports go, I like skiing and soccer.
What non-tennis skill do you wish you had?
PMA: I'd like to be a better cook… though luckily my husband is good in the kitchen. He's also very good at cleaning!
Favorite book or movie?
PMA: I liked Thomas Muster's book. Movies, I like The Hangover.
Describe yourself in a few words...
PMA: I'm aggressive on the tennis court, but off court I'd say I'm just a nice, family person.
Not including any tennis players, who would you like to meet?
PMA: If I can't say Thomas Muster I'll say Arnold Schwarzenegger!
What's your most treasured possession?
PMA: My wedding ring, naturally. Also my mother gave me a little bear and I have a necklace from my father, which is always with me.
If not tennis…
PMA: I don't know… I've really never thought about this!