Getting To Know... Julia Glushko
Published August 31, 2013 12:00
NEW YORK, NY, USA - Some players announce themselves to the tennis world in a blaze of glory. For others, the path to the top is a slow and steady one.
Julia Glushko has taken the second route and this week in Flushing Meadows her career arrived at its first major landmark: a Grand Slam giant-killing. Her victim was former World No.3 Nadia Petrova and a few days later the 23-year-old backed it up by defeating Sachia Vickery to make the third round.
Her US Open exploits, which began last Wednesday in qualifying, leave Glushko on the verge another milestone in the not too distant future, a Top 100 debut. And on the eve of her meeting with Daniela Hantuchova, wtatennis.com sat down with the Ukraine-born Israeli to talk goals, globetrotting and practicing with Martina Hingis.
Tell us about where you grew up?
JG: I was born in Ukraine in a city near Donetsk and we lived there until I was nine. I went to first grade in school there, but then we went to Israel and we lived in Jerusalem at the beginning for a couple of years and then moved to Ramat HaSharon, near Tel Aviv. The moving wasn't hard for me but it was hard for my parents. I went to school and was at the tennis courts a lot so people kind of helped me with Hebrew and stuff, so I got it pretty fast and settling in was quite smooth for me.
Can you talk a little more about your family?
JG: Both my parents are tennis coaches, so I honestly can't remember my first day on court! But I started playing seriously when I was six. I was playing every day and my parents were my coaches. They stayed quite involved up until I was probably 15. They are still very involved but now more as parents than as coaches. I have a brother and a sister. My brother is 19 and his name is Alex and my sister is 13 and her name is Lina. My brother is in the special forces in the Army; he says he's so proud of me but what he's doing is so much more important!
What is your coaching situation at present?
JG: I have a coach travelling with me at the moment and his name is Liran Kling. He's my travelling coach and we've been working on and off for about three years. He's a private coach from my club and I have a head coach back there called Assaf Ingber, who actually brought Liron to coach me.
How would you describe your playing style?
JG: I think I'm a powerful player, I move pretty well and I'm hitting hard from the baseline. I think I need to work on my return - I want to be more consistent and make more returns in play. My serve is pretty good but it needs to be more consistent too.
Did you have a tennis idol when you were younger?
JG: When I was growing up it was Serena - I even had posters of her in my room - and Martina Hingis, who was coaching at the academy I went to in Paris last year. It's crazy growing up adoring someone and then you meet them and I even got to practice with her, which was super cool. But right now I don't really have idols. As you grow up you realize you don't want to be like anyone, you obviously want to achieve what they have done, but you also want to be your own person.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
JG: Oh my gosh, obviously this week has gone amazing so far. Also, I'd say playing Fed Cup for my country, which means so much for me. Last year, when it was in Israel, I won all of my singles matches, which was amazing, even if we didn't manage to qualify. Every year, playing Fed Cup is one of the best memories.
What's your favorite surface and tournament?
JG: Hardcourt and I guess the US Open.
What do you like to do to relax away from tennis?
JG: It depends where I am, really. I like sightseeing, so if I have a day off I try to go and explore the place I'm staying because normally it's just courts and hotels! I like shopping a lot because it's like therapy. It's sad but it's actually true. My boyfriend is from New Zealand and probably the best place I've seen was there - we went to one of the beaches and it was just like in the movies. It was so pretty and the nature there is unbelievable. I didn't believe places like that could exist and that we were actually there!
How about movies or music?
JG: I like movies. I liked a lot Olympus Has Fallen - it was a bit exaggerated but I liked it a lot. I'm actually watching a movie at the moment called The Place Beyond The Pines - even though I fell asleep in the middle, it's great. I'm in the middle and I'm probably going to finish it tonight.
What would you be doing now if you weren't a tennis player?
JG: I have no idea. I've been asked this question so many times. I would like to be an actress, although I don't know if I'd be good at it! But I'd like to try that.
How far did you go in your education?
JG: I finished high school. I was so bored in school, mainly because I missed so much because I travelled and I'd sit in class and have no idea what they were talking about. So from 10th grade my parents had me home schooled, which is even more annoying because you have to sit there in front of a teacher and actually do things! You can't escape their attention and be on your phone or anything!
What are your goals for the next few years?
JG: Well, this year my goal is just to keep improving my ranking - I think I'm going to be Top 100 after the US Open - and to be main draw for Australia. I really don't know about numbers, I don't like talking about it. I feel like I'm doing good things right now and I'm just focused on improving my game as much as I can.