Getting To Know... Edina Gallovits-Hall
Published January 14, 2013 09:46
MELBOURNE, Australia - As the World No.108 on December 10, 2012, Edina Gallovits-Hall was officially the last direct entrant into the singles draw for this year's Australian Open. And on Tuesday afternoon she will step out onto Hisense Arena with the unenviable task of trying to derail the juggernaut that is Serena Williams.
But before she attempts to pull off the upset of all upsets, wtatennis.com thought it would sit down and discover a little more about the 28-year-old Romanian, who now resides in Atlanta, Georgia where she indulges in her twin passions of extreme sports and eating red velvet cupcakes...
Can you tell us about your coaching history and current setup?
EGH: Well, when I was a junior, for the longest time I had the same coach. He had been coaching my family for 10 years - he was my sister's coach - and he coached me towards the end of my junior years until I moved to the States. Once I moved, I started in Florida, in Bradenton, I was being coached by the Gomez brothers and I really liked it there. But then I moved to Atlanta, when I met my husband, Bryce, and I've been kind of in between a few coaches. For the most part, though, my husband was helping me out. Sometimes it's hard to mix business with pleasure, though, so I've also had a few others I've been working with.
How do you describe your playing style?
EGH: I think I'm pretty fast. I think a lot of people hate playing me because I get to everything and can be out there for hours and hours. I can be aggressive, but at the same time, if I have to, I can just grind. I kind of have a bit of everything, like I don't have the biggest serve, but I can definitely hit my targets.
What is the highlight of your career so far?
EGH: Well, I've had a few. Playing a few different people was quite amazing; I got to play Venus in Acapulco and I played really well and that was really an amazing experience. Then, of course, qualifying for my first Slam was really great. Playing Sam Stosur in the second round of last year's US Open was also a big deal and it was great to finally play on one of the big courts.
Did you have a tennis idol when you were younger?
EGH: Martina Hingis - I was crying when she would lose. I actually got to play her in World Team Tennis about seven years ago and I was so pumped for that match. I went up to her after the match and said, 'oh my God, you were my idol, can I please take a picture with you?' I think she thought I was crazy, but we got to talk a little bit and that was great for me.
Have you played a lot of World Team Tennis?
EGH: I played like seven years ago and then I played again this year for the Washington Kastles. It was the best time ever. I had such a blast. It's great because you feel like there's a team and you're not always by yourself. It just feels really nice and I love spending time with everybody. I never enjoyed playing so much as that week and a half I had there.
What's your favorite surface and tournament?
EGH: I don't know. Every year my answer kind of changes because it depends on what surfaces I play well on! I can tell you though that Acapulco and Indian Wells are my two favorite tournaments.
What are you goals for the rest of your career?
EGH: Everybody asks me that! Honestly, I still feel like I'm 16 and I don't feel that old so I think I have time to do things in my career. My goal is just to play tennis and enjoy it. Once I don't enjoy it, you know, I'll go and do something else because there are a lot of other things that I enjoy.
What's the best part of being a professional tennis player?
EGH: For me, getting to travel the world with my husband and seeing all these great places. Until recently, I think I took it for granted, but the last few years I've been trying to savor every moment and have also gone a bit photo crazy! Getting out and about kind of takes your mind off tennis and you get to appreciate the world. You only live once, so you have to see as many things as you can.
How do you like living in Atlanta?
EGH: I love Atlanta - I don't think I'm going anywhere! I want to be there for a while, especially because my sister's there now and it's really nice to have my family and nieces there now. It's so nice and we live in a really great area. I like that there's a lot of green and woods - we just got into mountain biking recently so we've been going on a lot of trails and that's been really great fun. I think the people are really nice and make you feel welcome in the south. It's very different from what I grew up with in Romania!
Do you miss Romania?
EGH: Obviously, I miss my parents and some of my friends. But it's nice because I still get to go home every year and when I get to Europe I think, 'oh, I kind of miss home' and remember all the good times I had in my 18 years there. I think mostly what I miss, besides my parents, is the food. Or, I should say, some of the food!
What do you like to do in your spare time?
EGH: I used to like skateboarding, until I messed up my wrist doing that, so I'm not going into that anymore! I'm a bit of an extreme sports girl; I like skiing and snowboarding. Also, I love cooking - I'm a grill master, but at the same time I love to make Italian food. I like baking too and make some mean red velvet cupcakes!
Do you have a favorite musician?
EGH: My last coach got me into this new music genre called dubstep. I really got into Skrillex and this song by Benny Benassi - or I think that's how you say it - called Cinema. I really like some of that stuff.
What do you think you would have done if you hadn't been a professional tennis player?
EGH: It's tough, especially if you're from Romania. Honestly, I don't know. I always wanted to play handball, but my parents kept telling me it was a team sport and you don't make that much money, so there's not really a bright future for women in handball in Romania. That's why they pushed me towards tennis.
If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
If you could visit one place in the world, where would it be?
EGH: Bora Bora! We just saw that place in Couples Retreat and that place looks crazy!
If you were on a desert island and could only have one luxury item, what would it be?
EGH: My husband!