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Getting To Know... Kirsten Flipkens

Kirsten Flipkens is playing some of the best tennis of her career at the moment. And she's doing it all without a full-time coach.

Published January 11, 2013 02:48

Getting To Know... Kirsten Flipkens
Kirsten Flipkens

HOBART, Australia - This time last year, things were not looking all that rosy for Kirsten Flipkens. A miserable 2011 had seen the Belgian slip so far down the rankings that she was forced to qualify for the Australian Open. She didn't make it.

Fast forward 12 months and the picture is an altogether brighter one. A clean bill of health and a sparkling end to the season has seen Flipkens arrive Down Under in buoyant mood. And the results in the last two weeks have done nothing to dampen her spirits.

A quarterfinal in Auckland was followed up this week with a semifinal in Hobart that is likely to see the 27-year-old sneak into the Top 50 just in time for the Australian Open.

But before she gets her Melbourne campaign up and running, she spared a few moments to talk to wtatennis.com about comebacks, Kim and Tina Turner.

How did you get into tennis?
KF:
My mum and dad played recreational tennis when I was younger so I wanted to play as well and eventually they let me join in!

Can you tell us about your family?
KF:
My dad's name is Marino. He is a car dealer - mostly second-hand German cars like VWs and BMWs. My mum is involved in this a bit too, but for the rest of the time she is a housewife. I have no brothers or sisters, although I do have a dog, Belle, and two cats, Tiger and Billie.

Who is coaching you at the moment?
KF:
For the moment, I don't have a full time coach. I am practicing in the KCA (Kim Clijsters Academy) when I am back in Belgium. Of course, Kim always had, and always will have, an influence on me and my tennis - I love to practice with her sometimes when she has time and when she wants to play with me!

How would you describe your playing style and what are your strengths?
KF:
I am an all court player. I like to do everything a bit. I would say my serve and all round game is my strength.

Did you have a tennis idol growing up?
KF:
I always looked up to Andre Agassi and Marcelo Rios. In the women, Steffi Graf was always my hero - her slice was awesome as well.

What's the best memory of your career so far?
KF:
Winning my first WTA title in Québec, Canada last September.

Who has been the toughest opponent you've faced?
KF:
For me, the toughest opponent, mentally, was Kim when we had to play each other in the third round of the US Open in 2009. Kim and I already knew each other so long, so it was really tough for us to be focused. We both had the feeling we were going on court to play a doubles match!

What are your goals in tennis?
KF:
I love the game. My goals are always to improve, do my best and enjoy as much as I can for as long it will last because I know how hard it feels when you cannot play due to injuries.

Do you have a favorite surface?
KF:
For sure my favorite surface is grass. I love to play in 's-Hertogenbosch and Wimbledon.

How far did you go in your education?
KF:
Not far! I stopped when I was 17 years old. For me, it was impossible to do tennis and education. I don't regret it so far.

What do you like to do to for fun?
KF:
I like to make music sets. Go cycling, enjoy my Vespa, spending time with my friends outside in the summer.

Do you have a favorite book, film or musician?
KF:
Not really. I like a lot of movies. I like to listen to all kinds of music - everything from Tina Turner to David Guetta to Live.

If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
KF:
Stubborn. In the positive and negative way!

If you could meet anyone in the world who would you like it to be?
KF:
I would choose Tina Turner, I think. For me, she is an unbelievable woman with such a great voice.

If not tennis, what career path would you have chosen?
KF:
Actually, I have no idea. My interest now is in cars, because of my father, so I think maybe with him in the car business.

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