Makarova On Myskina & More
Published February 26, 2013 12:00
DUBAI, UAE - After a breakthrough season, some players have trouble avoiding a sophomore slump - but after making her first Grand Slam quarterfinal at the Australian Open and breaking through to the Top 20 last year there has been no such thing for Ekaterina Makarova, who repeated her Australian Open quarterfinal effort last month and is currently sitting at No.19 in the world in the rankings.
Makarova took some time out during the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships last week to reflect on her rise. "I think it was an awesome year for me in 2012, and maybe I motivated myself to get to the Olympics and see how they are," Makarova said. "I didn't get in for singles but I got in with Elena for doubles, so it was a lot of experience for me and something different. Other than that I had a couple of good results too, like winning the mixed doubles with Bruno Soares at the US Open.
"Many good things happened last year and I'm just trying to hold it all in."
And the back-to-back Australian Open quarterfinals? "We did the same things as the year before," she said. "I took the fitness trainer and the physio with me, and Anastasia Myskina also started to help me from the beginning of last year, so all these people and the team being bigger helped me a lot."
Myskina also reached back-to-back Australian Open quarterfinals, in 2003 and 2004, and Makarova has always admired her. "She was always my favorite player and still is my favorite player," Makarova said. "She has really helped me to focus the things that are happening in my head into tactics. She is great to help with how to play someone, which combinations - she really is the perfect player.
"Off the court we talk like friends and on the court she still gets all my respect."
After a successful weekend in Fed Cup, where she went 1-1 in singles and helped clinch the tie against Japan alongside Vesnina in the doubles, Makarova didn't have the perfect Middle Eastern swing - she fell second round in Doha and first round in Dubai. But she still enjoyed the whole experience.
"I never felt so much pressure in Fed Cup. I was so nervous," Makarova commented. "Maria Kirilenko played great tennis and won all her matches for our country, but then Elena and I played the deciding doubles match and it was the best match - it was a tough one but I am really happy we got that match.
"Dubai is a really nice tournament. I really enjoy being here. This year they changed the hotel and it's so comfortable - I like being here more and more. Anastasia and I went to a great restaurant, an Asian restaurant; we had an amazing time there. She knew the restaurant and said we should go there."
And a final touch - on Monday last week Makarova also stopped by at Oriflame to get a makeover, see the skin care professional and learn about the products. "I think Oriflame is a great sponsor because for girls it's great to have fun with make-up," the Russian added. "They are really good products."