Getting To Know... Carla Suárez Navarro

Carla Suárez Navarro is Spanish No.2 and a two-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist, but did you know she's a huge basketball fan?

Published July 10, 2012 01:08

Getting To Know... Carla Suárez Navarro
Carla Suárez Navarro

PALERMO, Italy - Carla Suárez Navarro has been knocking on the door marked 'WTA titlists' for some time now. And the knocking is getting louder.

Three times the 23-year-old has reached finals and three times she has lost in three sets. This week she touches down in Palermo, hoping to finally break her duck in the calendar's penultimate clay court event, the XXV Italiacom Open.

But before getting her campaign underway, Suárez Navarro spared a few minutes of her time to have a quick catch up with wtatennis.com.

How did you get into tennis?
When I was eight or nine years old, I started to play in school in Gran Canaria. I enjoyed playing tennis more and more and so then I started practicing more and more! First, it was two times a week, then three times, then five times and eventually I was playing almost every day.

Can you tell us about your family?
My mother's name is Lali and she works as a teacher in a school in Gran Canaria, and my father, José Luís, works as an estate agent. I also have one brother, José. He is five years older than me and, like me, now lives in Barcelona where he works in the hotel 'W'. Oh, and we also have one dog and his name is Conga. So now you know the whole family!

Who coaches you at the moment?
I'm part of PRO-AB tennis academy in Barcelona, where there are about 10 players, including María José Martínez Sánchez, Lourdes Domínguez Lino and Garbiñe Muguruza. We have about five or six coaches at the academy and each player has maybe one or two who travels with them for most of the time. My main coach is Xavier Budo.

Did you have a tennis idol growing up?
I looked up to Justine Henin. She was playing like me with a one-handed backhand and I tried to model my game on hers. Unfortunately, when she came back a few years ago, I never got the chance to play against her.

Who has been your toughest opponent?
 I would say Serena Williams. She's so strong and she is really, really good in all parts of her game.

How would you describe your game?
It is difficult to describe myself! I am always aggressive when I can be, but also I can be defensive when I need to.

Are there any areas you're looking to improve on at the moment?
I'm not the tallest player, so I've been working a lot on my serve with my coach recently. I've also been working on my slice backhand, which is helpful not just for the grass but also so I can mix things up and come into the net to finish the point on other surfaces too.

What is your favorite WTA tournament?
For me, it would be Melbourne. I like it so much there. The city, the tournament and the weather are all great and I always look forward to playing there a lot!

How far did you go in your education?
I finished school and afterwards took the exam to get into university. This year I have started to study sports management at university. I go to lessons when I am at home, but mostly I do my studying by taking books with me when I travel.

Would you like to go into sports management after you finish your tennis career?
I think that is a long way off at the moment. But, sure, it is something that interests me because I like all the sports and it is a career that interests me.

How do you relax away from the court?
I like to go to the cinema, watch TV, go to the beach and I like to read a lot when I travel too.

Do you have a favorite film or book?
Hmmm, for film maybe Pearl Harbor. With books, I really like to read biographies of other sports men and women. The most recent one I read was by the Spanish duathlete Kílian Jornet, which was really good. I haven't read any by tennis players yet, although I have heard Agassi's one is good.

If you weren't a tennis player what would you be doing now?
I don't know. I've never really thought about that. Maybe playing another sport like Basketball as I am a big fan of that.

If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?

If you could meet anyone in the world who would you like it to be?
Michael Jordan.

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