Getting To Know... Anna-Lena Friedsam
Published February 08, 2014 12:13
With seven players in the Top 100, Germany is rapidly establishing itself as one of the dominant forces in women's tennis. And the stream of talent is showing no sign of drying up any time soon.
Anna-Lena Friedsam is the latest player to emerge, a string of impressive results on the ITF Circuit suggesting she could soon be joining Angelique Kerber and company at some of tennis' grander venues.
The 20-year-old made the latest step on her quest to reach the Top 100 by coming through qualifying last week in Paris, and wtatennis.com sat down with her there to talk training, targets and unusual beginnings.
How did you get into tennis?
AF: I was six when I started to hit my first ball over the net. I played football first but my parents wanted me to do a second sport so they choose tennis. Nobody in my family played tennis; my mother always wanted to play as a child, but she wasn't allowed to play so she really wanted me to have the chance.
Can you tell us about your family?
AF: My father's name is Ludwig and he is a mechanical engineer. The name of my mother is Barbara and she works in a kindergarten. I have two older siblings. My sister, Manuela, is 34 years old and also works in a kindergarten. She is married and has three children, who are nine, five and three years old. They live not far away from us and I like to visit them when I'm at home. My brother, Sebastian, is 24 and he is a sports student. He will become a teacher in sport and French when he finishes. At the moment he is in France for a while, where he's teaching German. He is also a good football player and I like to watch him play when I can.
Who coaches you at the moment and how long have you been working together?
AF: My coach is Bijan Wardjaw and he has had the biggest influence on my tennis career. We have been working together for 12 years and so he has known me since I was a little child. He is the head coach of one of the regional centers in Germany, and although we've been through many ups and downs, he knows how to motivate me and to bring every last percent out of my game.
How would you describe your playing style?
AF: My playing style is offensive. I have a very good serve and I can hit the ball fast on both sides. But I would also say that I don't play like most of the girls, because I play with more spin. My physical power is also a big strength.
Did you have a tennis idol growing up?
AF: Not really! I must say that I wasn't really interested in watching tennis until the age of 14. I liked more to play tennis, but today I like Rafael Nadal (he looks really friendly!) and Serena Williams (she has unbelievable power).
What is the best memory so far in your career?
AF: There so many already and hopefully there will be lots more! When we (Annika Beck, Stephanie Wagner and me) were in the final of Junior Fed Cup in 2009 in Mexico, this was really cool because we had so much fun and it was also nice to spend this time together with two great girls. To win the German Championships this December was also a nice memory and of course to play in all the Grand Slams right now is a great feeling
Who has been your toughest opponent to date?
AF: There are a lot of tough opponents on tour. I'm not able to choose one, but it's good to have such tough opponents as it helps to improve my game.
What is your favorite surface, tournament and city?
AF: My favorite surface is hard, but I would say that my favorite tournament is the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart. I like the atmosphere there and it is also nice to have such a big tournament in Germany. I don't have a favorite city. I like to travel and I always try to enjoy the life of all the different cities!
How far did you go in your education?
AF: I finished secondary school at a normal school, but I'm still doing my 'Abitur' by distance learning.
What do you like to do for fun?
AF: I like to meet my friends when I'm at home and we like to go to the cinema or go dancing. I also like to play other sports with my brother, but when I'm at a tournament I read books or watch movies mostly.
If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
AF: Down-to-earth. Or is that three?
If you could meet anyone in the world who would you choose?
AF: Guido Maria Kretschmer. He is a German designer and often on TV. He is really down-to-earth, authentic and funny. I like him!
AF: I would have chosen to be a primary school teacher or an interior designer.