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Getting To Know... Mallory Burdette

Mallory Burdette is the latest product of the prolific US collegiate system and now on tour full time she is starting to make an impression.

Published March 22, 2013 11:44

Getting To Know... Mallory Burdette
Mallory Burdette

MIAMI, FL, USA - While her Miami adventure may have come to a disappointingly premature end at the hands of Magdalena Rybarikova on Wednesday, Mallory Burdette can still look back over the past month with plenty of pride.

She started it by battling through qualifying at Indian Wells before claiming the biggest win of her career against Tamira Paszek to reach the third round. There her run finally came to an end, although not before she had given No.13 seed Maria Kirilenko a real fright in a tough three-setter.

Burdette followed this up by qualifying for Miami and the points gained in doing so are likely to propel her into the Top 100 for the first time in her career when the new rankings are released next Monday.

So what is the secret behind the 22-year-old's breakthough? Well, wtatennis.com caught up with her to get the lowdown on her tennis, time in college and the Burdette family menagerie.

How did you get started in tennis?
MB:
I'm the youngest of four kids and so as soon as I could wield a tennis racquet my mother had me out there playing, because my older brothers and sisters were out there hitting every day. They were a huge part of me starting in the game of tennis - they taught me so much of what I know today and I've learned a lot from them, especially from my sisters when it comes to doubles. They've been really great at teaching me and they were great doubles players in their own right. I think I was very fortunate to come last and my parents had worked out all the kinks by the time I came around!

Can you tell us about all your siblings?
MB:
Andy is the oldest. He went to Westpoint and is now a veterinarian. Erin is the second oldest and went to Stanford and is now a veterinarian as well. Lindsay is three years older than I am and graduated from Stanford as well and she works in marketing in the Stanford area.

With two veterinarians, animals are obviously a big part of your family. Do you have any pets too?
MB:
So, we have 11 dogs. All the neighborhood cats come to hang out on our front porch. We have a farm about five minutes away with our six horses. We also have some birds at home. I'd have to say my favorite dog is my little Maltese, Lucy, and my second favorite is our golden Lab, Smalie. It's just great to go home - it's kind of a small town so it's quiet and just hanging out with my family and animals is one of my favorite things to do in my free time.

And where's home?
MB:
Jackson, Georgia.

You had the chance to play US Open doubles with your sister, how was that?
MB:
We played in 2005. It was a great experience. We won the national hardcourts and it was really awesome because it was her senior year in high school, so it was kind of her last chance. She also won the NCAAs and was able to play in the US Open again, but at the time, in our minds, 2005 was like her last chance to do it and it was really fun to get to do it together! And playing at the US Open at 15 years old was one of the coolest things for me.

Tell us about your current coaching setup.
MB:
Nick Savianno is still my base coach, who I've been working with since I was 11 or 12, and I don't have a travel coach at this point.

Aside from your family, who would you say has been the biggest influence on your tennis career?
MB:
I'd say my coach, Nick Saviano, and my sports psychologist, Alexis Castorri. She has worked with me since I was 14 years old and has played a big role in developing the mental side of my game. So much of tennis is the mental side - you're out there by yourself on the court - and so she's made a huge impact on my game. A lot of the time as a tennis player, things that affect you on the court are issues that are happening off it, so she just helps me to stay balanced so when I get out on court I can really focus on my tennis.

How would you describe your playing style?
MB:
I'd say my playing style is an aggressive baseliner. I love coming into the net. I like hitting the ball hard and taking it to my opponent. Some things I'm always working on are my fitness, my movement and serve.

Did you have a tennis idol when you were younger?
MB:
Yes! Lindsay Davenport. I really respect the way she was just such a classy athlete on and off the court, and he ball-striking abilities were just amazing.

What is the highlight of your career so far?
MB:
In my pro career, I'd have to say it was probably my second round win at the US Open - that just had a huge impact and was a huge part of my decision to turn pro. From my college career, it was probably winning the national team title when my sister was on the team in 2010 - that was a really, really special moment.

Who has been the toughest opponent you've faced to date?
MB:
I would have to say Maria Sharapova in the third round of the US Open last year. It was a little bit intimidating!

What are you goals for the rest of your career?
MB:
I'd say my goals are, umm. Actually I never really like to set goals because then you never know if you possibly could have done more. I think one thing I'm really working towards is getting my doubles ranking up. I love doubles and I really want to just compete for as many titles as possible in both singles and doubles.

What's your favorite surface?
MB:
Hard.

And favorite tournament?
MB:
US Open.

Favorite city to visit?
MB:
Paris. I have good memories from being over there for junior French Open with my older brother and sister, Erin and Andy, and taking pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower. Or eating crêpes and just soaking up the Paris lifestyle.

Can you tell us a little bit about your life at college?
MB:
I was at Stanford for three years and was a psychology major. I will definitely go back and finish my degree at some point. College was great. There was always something going on, whether it was doing something as a team captain or working on your own tennis game or taking care of your academics. It was a wild ride and definitely a huge balancing act, but I think it prepared me for playing on the pro tour and life in general.

What do you like to do for fun?
MB:
I really enjoy reading. Also, going to the movies and things like that. I'm living in Fort Lauderdale now, kind of close to the beach, so I like going for walks on the beach and things like that. I'm usually pretty tired after practice so it's usually just relaxing things!

Favorite book?
MB:
I'm reading Life of Pi right now and it's actually really, really good so far.

And movie?
MB:
Currently, I'd have to say Silver Linings Playbook. I just saw that one and I'm a huge fan. For older films, I tend to go back to Million Dollar Baby. It's kind of sad, but it's a good one. What are some of my other ones? I guess my sappy, girly love story ones, Like Pride and Prejudice.

If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
MB:
Umm, you couldn't give me three? One word, that's really hard! I'll e-mail that one to you!

If you could meet anyone in the world, who would it be?
MB:
Can I e-mail that one to you too?

If you weren't playing tennis, what would you be doing?
MB:
I would be finishing my degree at school, taking pre-med requirements and looking to go to medical school.

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