Getting To Know... Nadiya Kichenok
Published December 12, 2013 12:01
Some players make their tennis breakthrough in a blaze of glory. For others, the path to the top is a slow and steady one.
Nadiya Kichenok has taken the second route and now, after the most productive season of her career, appears all set to break into the Top 100. Having started the year well outside the Top 200, Kichenok's stellar form on the ITF Circuit - she reached five finals and picked up three titles - saw her finish it at No.105.
As a result, the 21-year-old Ukrainian will make her Grand Slam main draw debut at next month's Australian Open, and to celebrate she took a few minutes out of her pre-season schedule to chat with wtatennis.com.
How did you get into tennis?
NK: The first time when I took the racquet in my hand was when our family was on holiday in the Crimea (in the south of Ukraine). There was a tennis court and our dad took me and my twin sister Lyudmyla to try to play with him. We were seven at the time and we really liked it from the first ball we hit!
Can you tell us a little about your family?
NK: As I mentioned, I have a sister, Lyudmyla, and she is a professional tennis player too. My father's name is Victor and he is a businessman. My mother is a housewife and her name is Elena.
Who is coaching you at the moment and how long have you been together?
NK: I am working with Yuriy Chornyy. He is from Ukraine and we have been working together since January 2013, so it's almost a year already, and I really like the way we work together.
How would you describe your playing style and what are your strengths?
NK: I would say I am playing an aggressive style of tennis. I like to go for it in the points, to try and win it myself and not wait for mistakes. I think my biggest strength is in my powerful groundstrokes.
Did you have a tennis idol growing up?
NK: I was looking up to many players when I was a kid, so it's tough to pick one. My favorites were Kim Clijsters, Justine Henin, Jennifer Capriati, Martina Hingis and the Williams sisters - it was always a pleasure watching their matches.
What's your best tennis memory so far?
NK: Playing for Ukraine in the Fed Cup.
Who has been your toughest opponent to date?
NK: My sister.
What are your goals in tennis?
NK: My goal is to improve every day and in every match I play. I'd also like to reach the Top 20 one day.
What's your favorite surface, tournament and city?
NK: Hard and grass. The US Open. And Kiev.
How far did you go in your education?
NK: I hope to finish my bachelor's degree for sports and physical education next year.
What do you like to do to for fun?
NK: I like to play other sports. I also enjoy shopping.
Do you have a favorite book, film or musician?
NK: Book would be The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Film is The Patriot with Mel Gibson. And my favorite singer is Rihanna.
If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
If you could meet anyone in the world who would it be?
NK: Can I choose two? The Ukrainian boxers the Klitschko brothers.
If not tennis, what career would you have chosen?
NK: I don't know, I haven't thought about it yet, because since I was a kid I wanted to be a professional tennis player. I probably have to try some different kind of lifestyle to decide what I can do. But so far I like what I do!