Getting To Know... Stéphanie Dubois
Published September 14, 2013 12:01
QUÉBEC CITY, Canada - With their Davis Cup team on the verge of a maiden final, a Fed Cup team on the up and a number of promising young talents rapidly climbing the rankings, Canadian tennis is enjoying something of a renaissance at present. Hoping to ride the crest of this wave into the Top 100 and beyond is Canadian No.3 Stéphanie Dubois, who wtatennis.com caught up with at his week's Challenge Bell in Québec City.
How did you get into tennis?
SD: I started playing tennis when I was about five. My brother and sister played at a park close to our house and one day I hit with them and liked it a lot. Soon I was having one lesson a week, then it was two lessons and I would be hitting against the wall or with my brother and sister on the other days.
When did you start to take it seriously?
SD: I played my first tournament when I was eight. I can't remember how well I did but I can remember the first match; I was really tiny and it was against a girl who was two times bigger than me and I won in three sets! In the under 10s I played in the final in the Québec region, then at under 12s I played in the national finals. All through my junior years I was at the top nationally for my age and at about 14 I started to think about becoming a professional.
Can you tell us a little bit about your family?
SD: My father is called Jacques and he is a semi-retired electrician and my mother is called Johanne. I have one brother, Steve, and one sister, Véronique. Steve is 29 has just finished his bachelor's degree in industrial relations and Véronique is 31 and a nurse. Ever since I was young, all of my family have supported me and helped my tennis career so much.
Who is your coach at the moment?
SD: My coach's name is Bruno Echagaray. He's a former ATP pro from México who got to about 150 in the world and we've been working together now for about a year and a half.
How would you describe yourself as a player?
SD: My strength is my movement. I'm not the tallest but I'm very fast and I also think my forehand is a weapon. Tennis has changed so much since I joined the tour. It's so much more aggressive now and the standard has improved a lot. All the girls in the Top 200 are really strong and I've had to adjust and be a bit smarter with my tactics.
Did you have a tennis idol growing up?
SD: When I was very young, I liked Steffi Graff - I loved how she played and how classy she was. Later it was Kim Clijsters, who I think was just such a great role model for the rest of the girls on tour with the way she behaved on and off the court. I got to play her once when I made the third round in Montréal in 2006, but unfortunately she fell on her wrist and had to retire. It was a shame for the match to end like that because it was such a big moment to play Kim in such a big tournament.
What is your favorite tennis memory?
SD: The Fed Cup is always special for me. I've been in the team for about 10 years now and it's so nice to experience the team atmosphere in such an individual sport. Because of its history and prestige, Wimbledon has always been my favorite tournament and so coming through qualifying and then losing a close second round to Andrea Petkovic a few years ago was also pretty memorable.
Who has been your toughest opponent?
SD: Probably Venus when I played her in Stanford in 2009. She was playing very well at the time and was just so quick and so powerful.
What are your goals in tennis?
SD: For sure, you always want to be higher in the rankings and I'm aiming to get back in the Top 100 and then hopefully the Top 50 after that. I like to set myself goals every day as a player and also a person. I think it's important to set realistic goals and to reach the fourth round or quarterfinals at a Grand Slam would be amazing.
How far did you go in your education?
SD: I went to college after high school and did a few distance learning courses for a few years while I was on tour. I'm not sure when I'll go back or what I'll do after I retire but I think tennis will always be part of my life. I also want to settle down and have a family.
What do you like to do for fun?
SD: I like to go to nice restaurants, go shopping, spend time with my family and fiancé. We have such a strict schedule most of the year so just having a day with no schedule now and then is nice. I also love golf. Wilson have been my sponsor for a while and a few years ago I asked them for some clubs. I only play a few times a year but I think my handicap is about 25-30.
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?
SD: This is going to annoy my fiancé, but after going a whole interview without mentioning her, I'm going to choose Céline Dion!