After reaching a doubles career-high No.16 in February, 2019 Roland Garros runner-up Duan Yingying reflects on her path to the WTA Tour and how she improved her doubles game.
WTA Insider: How did you first start playing tennis?
Duan: When I was a kid, a friend of my father’s said I should get started on some kind of sports, merely because I was tall. And I chose tennis.
WTA Insider: Did you play any other sports? If so, how did you come to choose tennis?
Duan: Yes I used to swim as well as play tennis. But it was too energy-consuming. I chose to play tennis as it’s fun.
WTA Insider: What did you love about the sport?
Duan: Tennis is a really challenging sport. It makes me want to fight more. And the matches are full of all kinds of challenges.
WTA Insider: At what point did you begin to think you might be able to play tennis professionally?
Duan: From very young I was keen on being a tennis player professionally so that I could travel all around the world. I once won a couple of titles in Korea back-to-back, that’s when I believed I was able to play tennis professionally.
WTA Insider: What do you enjoy about doubles?
Duan: I think playing the doubles game well is quite difficult. We have four players on court. It involves exerting more strategies and keeping up a clear mind.
WTA Insider: How would you describe your doubles game?
Duan: Actually my focus had been singles until after I fell sick, so I don’t think I was quite good at the doubles game in the beginning. I had been sick for quite some time, so I decided to try more doubles after I recovered. The more I played doubles the more I know how to play it.
WTA Insider: What do you look for in a doubles partner?
Duan: Usually I try to look for someone who is good at the net, which is complimenting me.
WTA Insider: What is your favorite surface and tournament?
Duan: Hard court is my favorite surface. But I like clay and grass too. especially because I won doubles runner up at French Open so I also like clay (laugh).
WTA Insider: What are the challenges, both on the court and off the court, of playing doubles?
Duan: I believe the most difficult part of doubles game is there’s no advantage scoring. Once you reached deuce there might only be one point to the end.
WTA Insider: What is your favorite way to kill time while you’re waiting for your matches to be called at tournaments?
Duan: I like to listen to some joyful music to relax.
WTA Insider: Explain something about the doubles game or being a doubles player, that people might not know or understand?
Duan: I think there are more tactics in the doubles game.