Getting To Know... Grace Min

Grace Min was the lowest-ranked player accepted into the Bad Gastein main draw and she took full advantage to reach her first WTA semifinal.

Published July 20, 2014 12:11

Getting To Know... Grace Min
Grace Min

When Grace Min saw her name drawn alongside top seed Flavia Pennetta at last week's NÜRNBERGER Gastein Ladies, she could have been forgiven thinking her stay in the Austrian Alps would be a brief one. However, Pennetta's 11th-hour withdrawal opened a window of opportunity and Min jumped right through.

Wins over Beatriz García Vidagany, Irina Falconi and Karolina Pliskova resulted in a maiden WTA semifinal, where her run was eventually ended by the in-form Andrea Petkovic.

Min proved this was no flash in the pan by knocking out Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the first round of Bastad, after which she spent a few minutes with wtatennis.com to talk defense, dreams and double-joints. 

How did you start playing tennis?
My mom played in a league and I'd follow her to lessons. One day, I guess she felt sorry for me so she had me hit a few and surprisingly I was pretty good! Then she put me in a local club and in city leagues and I kept improving and I stuck with it.

Can you tell us a little bit about your family?
My mom's name is Sue, my dad's name is Heebong. I've got a brother who's five years older and his name's Peter, and they all live in Atlanta. My mom is an avid tennis player - she's on like three different leagues and she loves tennis! My dad's more the studious type, but he was very athletic growing up. He runs a shoe repair business, my mom does alterations and my brother works in finance.

Who's your current coach?
I'm currently working with Roger Anderson. He started working with the USTA last November and that's when I started working with him. So it's a pretty new relationship, but I think it's going pretty well.

How would you describe your playing style and what are your strengths?
I'd say I'm a counterpuncher. I get a lot of balls back and I try to make it a match of movement. I think my strength is my forehand.

Did you have a tennis idol growing up?
I've always looked up to Serena. And Federer, obviously. I really liked Clijsters, too, because she was such a great sport. I'd say they were my idols.

What's your best tennis memory?
Winning the 2011 junior US Open. Definitely.

Who has been your toughest opponent to date?
I got beaten love and love a few times when I was younger, but I guess that was more in juniors. I'd say last week was a pretty tough opponent, playing Petkovic. I think that was the first Top 20 player I had played and it was a long three set match. So I'd probably say her.

What are your goals?
Just to keep improving. To see how much I can improve. With rankings, I don't make it too much of a priority, because then I start dreaming of a number and forget about improving. Right now it's just about getting a lot of these tough matches against Top 50, Top 20 players and see how I fare against them.

What's your favorite surface and tournament?
Favorite surface is clay and favorite tournament is… that's tough. I mean, as an American, obviously the US Open's pretty special, but as far as WTA tournaments, I liked Bad Gastein and Charleston.

How far did you go in your education?
I graduated high school. That's as far as I've gone! I want to take some college courses, but right now I'm just trying to transition into this new lifestyle and get my footing.

If you weren't a tennis player, what would you be doing now?
Maybe something in journalism or writing - I enjoy writing. I think it's really cool when people get to travel and write about their experiences, so I'd like to do a travel column or something like that.

What do you like to do for fun?
I like watching movies - anything on Netflix. I enjoy hiking and any sporty, outdoors-type activities.

Do you have a favorite book, film or musician?
Favorite book is either The Great Gatsby or East of Eden - those are the books I actually enjoyed reading for school. Favorite movie is Forrest Gump and favorite band is Fleetwood Mac.

Can you describe yourself in one word?

If you could meet one person in the world, who would it be?
JK Rowling.

Is there anything else you'd like people to know about you?
Ummm, I'm double-jointed in my left thumb!

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