Getting To Know... Dinah Pfizenmaier
Published May 17, 2013 12:00
With four players in the Top 50, Germany is rapidly establishing itself as one of the dominant forces in women's tennis. And the stream of talent is showing no sign of drying up any time soon.
Dinah Pfizenmaier is the latest player to emerge, a string of impressive results on the ITF Circuit suggesting she could soon be graduating to tennis' grander venues.
And venues do not come much grander than Roland Garros, which is where Pfizenmaier will be next week as she attempts to qualify for the year's second major. But before that, wtatennis.com sat down with the 21-year-old to talk training, targets and unusual beginnings.
How did you get into tennis?
DP: One day my parents had a meeting at school and I was afraid to be home alone, so I visited a friend. It happened that he had tennis lessons, so I went with him to the club. His teacher gave me a racquet and told me to play with the other kids and it was so much fun that I decided to play twice a week from then on!
Tell us a little bit about your family.
DP: My parents both are teachers. My father is teaching geography, maths and sports. My mother gives lessons in German, maths and sports. They live in Oerlinghausen, a small city in North Rhine-Westfalia. I have a brother, who is 24 years old, and he is a policeman in Düsseldorf.
Who coaches you at the moment?
DP: I'm practicing in Kamen with the WTV (my regional tennis association). They have a well-organized structure and I have been there since I was 12. Michael Schmidtmann is my coach and we've been together since 2008. Sometimes it's not easy for him with me, but I think we have a really good relationship and we are quite effective - practicing with Michael means a lot of hard work but also lots of fun for me. My physical coach is Jaime Fernandez and he's pushing me to my limit all the time.
Are there any other people who have played an important role in your career so far?
DP: The head coach at WTV, Jens Wöhrmann, had big influence on my tennis and we worked together for three years. My manager, Uwe Schumann, is also doing a great job and I want to say thanks to him too.
How do you describe your playing style and what are your strengths?
DP: I think my style is a little bit different to most of the other girls on tour. I like to play high balls with spin and kick serve as well. I try to play steady and aggressive.
Did you have a tennis idol growing up?
DP: My favorite tennis player is Roger Federer - his attitude on and off court is so nice. On the women's side, I really admire how Andrea Petkovic is coming back. Go Petko!
What's your best tennis memory so far?
DP: I reached the second round of Roland Garros in 2012 after playing three tough matches in qualies. I played Victoria Azarenka and it was a nice experience to play against her on one of the big show courts.
Who has been your toughest opponent to date?
DP: There are a lot of good players on the women's tour, so it's hard to say just one!
What are your goals in tennis?
DP: I've been playing ITF and WTA tournaments since July 2011, so I'm very happy with my ranking and my results at the moment. The next goal is to reach Top 100. First of all I want to improve my game and then let's see where I go from there.
What's your favorite surface, tournament and city?
DP: My favorite surface is clay and therefore the Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart and the French Open in Paris are my favorite tournaments.
How far did you go in your education?
DP: I've got the 'Abitur', which is the general qualification for university entrance and the highest level in German schools.
What do you like to do to for fun?
DP: I'm very interested in other sports. I like playing soccer and handball. If I have time at home I like going out with my friends, watching movies or listening to music. I also like to read a lot.
Do you have a favorite book, film or musician?
DP: My favorite book author is Nora Roberts. Most of the time I hear music, it is things from the Top 100 charts, like Passenger or Pink. I like to listen to German music as well.
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?
DP: Roger Federer! I would ask him how it is possible to be so relaxed on and off court.
If not tennis, what career would you have chosen?
DP: Maybe I would go to study sports journalism, because I like to write articles and I'm interested in sports.
Is there something else you would like people to know about you?
DP: That is a difficult question to answer, but if anybody wants to know anything else, he or she can ask me on Facebook or visit my website.