WTA Player with a career-high ranking of World No. 20 (February 2011)
If you had one word to describe your tennis journey, what would that word be?
At just fourteen years old, you won your first pro tournament, an ITF event. Looking back to that time, what would you say now to your fourteen year-old self?
AK: In recent years, tennis has become an extremely physical sport with enormous amounts of compe-tition, so the human body, especially at a young age, cannot handle getting seriously hurt. I would suggest to my fourteen year-old self and to other young players and their parents, that no matter what the results are, always remember that the recovery is as important as the training process. I strongly believe that it’s better to do less than to overdo it.
What pressure/expectations was on you after winning your first pro event in Mallorca at such a young age?
AK: I don’t recall any kind of expectations or pressure at such a young age. The hardest thing at any age is to keep working and improving your game, because in tennis you have tournaments every week and everyone eventually will learn to beat you, so to keep winning you always have to keep getting better, no matter how old you are.
Did your tennis training prepare you in any way for what you would have to go through in 2011-13 from the diagnosis to treatment and comeback?
AK: Every illness and injury is different, and every player has their own approach on how to overcome it.
In 2014, you defeated Kvitova for your first Top 10 win in three years. Now, Kvitova is attempting to come back after a dramatic injury. What advice would you give her if she asked?
AK: Petra is one of the strongest players on tour and I’m sure the time away from tennis will only make her an even better player. If you have a chance to do something in life that you really love, never give up on your dream. You live once and should try and do whatever it is, not for someone, but for you!