Getting To Know... Yvonne Meusburger
Published July 18, 2013 12:03
BAD GASTEIN, Austria - There is something about the picturesque alpine resort of Bad Gastein that brings the best out of Yvonne Meusburger.
In six previous visits to the NÜRNBERGER Gastein Ladies, Meusburger has never failed to reach at least the quarterfinals, and in 2007 made it all the way to the final where she lost to Francesca Schiavone. Fresh from an impressive run in Budapest, she returns to her home event this week, hoping for another good showing in front of her home fans.
After her quick-fire dismissal of Jasmina Tinjic in the first round, wtatennis.com sat down with the 29-year-old to find out what makes her tick on and off the court.
How did you get into tennis?
YM: I started playing tennis when I was eight. We were on holiday and everyone else was taking tennis lessons so I wanted to join in too. At first I was doing tennis and skiing to quite a high level. But eventually skiing got a little too intense for me - I especially didn't like going to the glacier to ski in summer - so when I was 10 or 11 I started to concentrate only on tennis.
Can you tell us a little bit about your family and where you grew up?
YM: My mother is called Hedy and my father is called Oskar. I have one sister and two brothers. All of them are older so I'm the baby of the family. All of my family like sport but play just for fun and are all settled down with families and jobs in the real world! I grew up in Vorarlberg in western Austria and have lived virtually all my life there. I moved for a little while to Tirol, but then came back to Vorarlberg about three years ago.
Who is your coach at the moment?
YM: I'm working with Joachim Kretz and we've been together for about three years.
How would you describe yourself as a player?
YM: I think I'm very strong physically and don't make a lot of mistakes, which can make some of the other girls crazy at times! But I wouldn't say my game is just about consistency; I like to take the initiative and try and play as close to the lines when I can.
Did you have a tennis idol growing up?
YM: It was definitely Pete Sampras. I was also a big fan of Steffi Graf. I haven't had the chance to meet either of them yet, but hopefully it will happen one day.
What is your favorite tennis memory?
YM: I think if I had to choose just one moment, it would be when I reached the final in Bad Gastein in 2007. It was amazing doing so well at my home event, but for me I have special moments from virtually every tournament. I'm quite a relaxed person and just try not to take things too seriously. We are lucky to do what we do and I try to take some moment from every place I go, whether it's a match or just an enjoyable evening with friends.
Who has been your toughest opponent?
YM: I'll have to think about this. I've never played Serena so I can't say her! There have been a couple of others, though. I played Svetlana Kuznetsova in 2004 and she was playing at a very high level at the time. I also played Agnieszka Radwanska at Wimbledon and she was extremely tough.
What are your goals in tennis?
YM: I usually just set myself short-term goals and then reassess them after a month or two months. For example, recently I have been trying to get into the Top 100. I did that after Budapest and now I am looking to improve my career-best ranking, which is No.60.
What's your favorite surface?
YM: It would definitely be clay. I grew up playing on it and have enjoyed my best results on it too.
How about your favorite tournament?
YM: Bad Gastein is my favorite and means a lot to me and I always look forward to coming back here each year. But I also like Stuttgart and think that is a really great tournament.
How far did you go in your education?
YM: I finished the gymnasium, which is what in Austria we call secondary school or high school. I really liked to study languages, particularly English and Swedish, although I can also speak a little French.
What do you like to do for fun?
YM: I really love to go to the cinema and also to play many different types of sport. I still ski when I can, but also have started to follow ice hockey. I'm mostly watching the Austrian league, but watch the NHL when I can - my favorite teams are Anaheim and Buffalo.
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?
YM: I would choose Roger Federer. Or maybe Ryan Gosling. I'll have to think about that!
If not tennis, what career would you have chosen?
YM: I'm not really sure. I think I would like to help kids with learning difficulties or disabilities. I think I am quite a kind person and would like to do something where I could help others.