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Getting To Know... Zarina Diyas

Zarina Diyas was born in Kazakhstan, raised in the Czech Republic and is now making a name for herself Down Under.

Published January 17, 2014 12:12

Getting To Know... Zarina Diyas
Zarina Diyas

MELBOURNE, Australia - While the soaring temperatures in Melbourne this week have not been to everyone's liking, Zarina Diyas has been reveling in them.

After coming through qualifying to make her first Grand Slam main draw appearance, Diyas has knocked out Katerina Siniakova and Marina Erakovic to book a third round encounter against the high-flying Simona Halep.

So what is the secret behind the 20-year-old's breakthough Down Under? Well, wtatennis.com caught up with her to find out the answer to this and a whole lot more.

Can you tell us about your hometown?
ZD:
I was born in Almaty in Kazakhstan, but I lived in Prague from five years old. I lived there for 12 years; I was practicing, I went to school there.

How did you get into tennis?
ZD:
I was watching on TV when I was very small, I liked it so my mum brought me to some tennis lessons and I started to play from there.

Can you talk a little about your family?
ZD:
I have a younger sister, who's 15 and is studying at a boarding school in England, and my mum is still in Almaty where she has a business.

Who was your first coach?
ZD:
I was practicing in Prague and my coach was Jaroslav Jandus. I was practicing the whole time when I was in the Czech Republic with him. Now, because I'm based in Guangzhou in China, I practice with Alan Ma, who used to be with Peng Shuai, and things are going very well.

Did you have any tennis idols when you were growing up?
ZD:
My idol was Martina Hingis, first, then it was Justine Henin and then Serena Williams! It was always changing!

Have you based your style of tennis on those three?
ZD:
I think maybe I have taken a little bit from each of them!

What's the strongest part of your game?
ZD:
I think my serve is really good - that's my real weapon. My backhand down the line too. But I still have to work on lots of things in my game too. I've been working a lot on my fitness over the last six months and I think this has really improved and I play much better now because of this.

Who travels with you on tour?
ZD:
My coach, my fitness trainer and sometimes my mum is coming with me.

What's the best memory of your career to date?
ZD:
I think it would probably be this week here in Melbourne. Also in 2010 at the Kremlin Cup, I beat Jankovic and made it to the quarterfinals.

Do you have any short or long-term goals?
ZD:
By the end of this year I want to be Top 50 and then of course after that I want to get higher and higher. Long-term? To win a Grand Slam would be my dream.

What's your favorite surface and tournament?
ZD:
The Australian Open is my favorite tournament. And hardcourt would be the surface

How do you relax away from the court?
ZD:
I like to watch movies, read books. I like to go home when I can, but it's difficult because of my tennis.

If you weren't a tennis player, what would you be doing now?
ZD:
For sure, I would be studying. In May, I will start to do an online course in psychology through the WTA program at Indiana University.

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