Getting To Know... Sílvia Soler-Espinosa
Published September 26, 2012 02:44
Good things come to those who wait. And this season the saying is certainly ringing true for Sílvia Soler-Espinosa.
After spending the best part of a decade travelling the globe, slowly ascending the tennis ladder, the past year or so has seen Soler-Espinosa finally break through to the big time.
A third round appearance at the US Open, debuts for the Spanish Fed Cup and Olympic teams and a career-high ranking of No.54 have all been crammed into this time frame, with the weekly grind of the ITF circuit now just a distant memory.
Last week in Seoul, Julia Goerges became the latest in an ever-growing list of Top 50 victims for Soler-Espinosa, who after stepping off court sat down for a few minutes to chat with wtatennis.com.
How did you get into tennis?
SSE: One day, when I was about five or six years old, my father took me to a club to play with my two sisters. I liked it straight away and I continued from there to play more and more every week.
Can you tell us about your family?
SSE: I'm from Elche in Alicante and that is where my mother and father live. My mother is a housewife and my father is a businessman and runs a factory. I also have two sisters - one older and one younger - called Marissa and Toni. I'm the troublemaker in the middle!
What is your coaching setup at the moment?
SSE: I'm practicing in the PRO-AB tennis academy in Barcelona. We are 12 players there, with six coaches and each player has maybe one or two who travels with them for most of the time. Most of the other Spanish girls are there too, like María José Martínez Sánchez, Carla Suárez Navarro, Nuria Llagostera Vives and Lourdes Domínguez Lino.
Did you have a tennis idol growing up?
SSE: I was always looking out for Spanish players because I found it easier to relate to them and the way they played. I was a very big fan of Juan Carlos Ferrero as a girl, and on WTA I loved Steffi Graf and was always supporting her when I watched on television.
How would you describe your game?
SSE: I like to play aggressive and I think my best shot is the forehand. I think it is my most powerful shot and I try and use that to dictate the play when I can. I think I am a hard worker in training and this has helped me to keep improving all the areas of my tennis and has helped to make my game more complete.
And your favorite surface?
SSE: I am a typical Spaniard and clay is my favorite. It is what I grew up on and train on most of the time when I am in Barcelona.
Who has been your toughest opponent?
SSE: I played this year in Fed Cup against Maria Sharapova and I think she is the best player I have met.
If you could have any shot from another player, what would it be?
SSE: I would like the power of Serena Williams.
What is the best memory of your tennis career so far?
SSE: Last year, I qualified for the US Open and had a good run that got me into the Top 100 for the first time. This was one of my best memories, but this year has also had lots of special moments, like reaching the third round in New York and also playing Fed Cup for the first time in my career.
What are your goals for this year and also your career?
SSE: Last year my goal was to reach the Top 100 and this year it was to play in the Olympic Games, and I achieved both of them. Now I am playing good tennis and I am just hoping to not have any injuries and do as well as I can in the last four of five tournaments of the year.
What is your favorite WTA tournament?
SSE: US Open again! New York is such a great city and also the tournament is great. I have so many good memories from there.
How do you relax away from the court?
SSE: When I'm at the tournament, I'm usually just on the internet, trying to speak with friends at home. I also like to go shopping or, if there is the possibility, to go walking around and explore the city.
Do you have a favorite film or actor?
SSE: Movie would be Gladiator - I really like that, I have watched it so many times. Maybe for actor, I would choose Matt Damon.
If you weren't a tennis player what would you be doing now?
SSE: I really like sports. I always really wanted to be a tennis player. But if this hadn't have happened, I think I would have gone into business. I really like the way my father works at home so maybe I would have done something like that.
What is your dream holiday destination?
SSE: It was always a dream to go to Jamaica, and now I am going there this year, so I cannot wait for 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?
SSE: I don't know. Maybe Matt Damon again!