No Place Like Home For Radwanska
Published February 29, 2012 04:41
Given the choice between a few days in the Californian sun or the sub-zero temperatures of a European winter, most people would chose the former. But Agnieszka Radwanska is not most people.
Next week the 22-year-old is eschewing the Sunshine state in favor of a bit of rest and relaxation in her home town of Krakow. And while Poland's second city may not boast the world's finest weather, or tennis facilities, for Radwanska there is nowhere better to prepare for one of the biggest tournaments on the tennis calendar, the BNP Paribas Open.
"Actually, I just love being home," Radwanska said in Dubai last week. "I will relax there, just eating in my kitchen, sleeping in my bed, sitting on my couch. I think these are very important things for me. At the moment, I can't imagine practicing somewhere else.
"We are travelling 10 months a year and so when we actually get home we are like guests! But I always like staying at home if it's possible. Even now, you know, I will go for a couple days home before Indian Wells. Even though it's winter, it's always good to be back home. I have family and friends there and I'm just trying to live like a normal girl."
Radwanska's preference for home comforts over five star hotels is refreshing, although she admits it does not always make for ideal pre-tournament preparation.
"To be honest, I don't even have a hardcourt in my city," she said. "I'm in Krakow which is not a small city, but I'm practicing on carpet, which is a really fast surface. Unfortunately, this isn't great before a tournament like Indian Wells."
However, hardcourt or no hardcourt, Radwanska will arrive in Indian Wells with her confidence sky high after a superb opening two months of 2012, culminating in an eighth career title in Dubai on Saturday. Victory in the UAE also propelled the 22-year-old to a career-high No.5 in the rankings and within striking distance of top spot.
"It's great, but it's still far from being No.1," Radwanska said after her final win over Julia Goerges. "It looks pretty close, but it's still far. But I'm not really going to think about it too much. I'm going to keep playing my game and try to keep up my good tennis, especially in big events. I just want to enjoy my tennis and try winning matches."
And with wins comes the trappings of success: public attention and the media spotlight - two things Radwanska is eager to avoid.
"I'm not thinking about if I deserve more attention," she said. "I'm happy to be a little bit outside and have my own life, some private life, so that's why I'm not in the tabloids all the time. I think I'm just going to keep it that way."
Keeping things like this could be easier said than done, though. Particularly if the talented Pole follows up her win in Dubai with another in Paris, London or New York later in the year.