Pole Radwanska Grew up Admiring Sampras

DUBAI — She grew up admiring Pete Sampras because the American won everything in tennis.

By Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Fri 19 Feb 2010, 12:24 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:53 AM

Now Agnieszka Radwanska’s progress on the WTA Tour has been admirable as well. The first Polish player ever to reach the top 10 in women’s tennis, the 20-year-old says Sampras was not the only player she admired when she was growing up.

“In fact, I liked a lot of players, you know. Players like Sampras, Steffi Graf, Venus and Serena Williams. It’s just a great feeling, you know, few years ago I only used to watch them on TV. Now I am playing against them in all these big events. It feels great,” Radwanska told Khaleej Times after becoming the first player to reach the quarter-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships with a fluent 6-3 6-0 win over Flavia Pennetta of Italy.

The seventh seeded player says she was surprised with her easy win on Wednesday at the Centre Court.

“No, not at all. I never expected an easy match like this. I know Flavia, she is a really good player. She is on the top as well. I just thought that it was going to be a long and tough match. Like a 50-50 match, you know. I really didn’t expect to lose only three games. So I am really happy.”

Radwanska’s likely rival in the quarters will be world number three Svetlana Kuznetsova.

“Svetlana is a great champion. I think I have played her eight or nine times already. So we know each other’s game really well. As I said, she is a great player. So I have to be at my 100 per cent to beat her. I will just try to enjoy the match and I will try to play my best tennis,” said the former Australian Open and Wimbledon quarter-finalist.

The Polish baseliner, whose favourite surface is clay, agrees with some of the other top players who believe that the hard courts here are on the slower side. “I think the outside courts are little faster. But yes, the Centre Court is a bit slower. You have to focus really hard from first ball to the last.”

The East European says she is actually enjoying the warm weather in Dubai. “I arrived here couple of days ago. I am fine with the weather.

“I have already played two singles matches and one doubles match. So I am feeling good. I am ready for the next match. I am happy that I won in two quick sets as I am now fresh for my next match.”

Radwanska, who is also playing in the doubles here with Russian Maria Kirilenko, reveals doubles matches help her improve her overall game.

“Yeah, it’s always tough to play the singles and the doubles. You never know how you are going to do in the singles when you also have a doubles match to think about. That’s the reason why I am playing doubles only in the big tournaments. But I like doubles matches because they give me good practice,” added the world number 9.

The Eminem fan had remarkably two top-10 seasons. Now she is aiming for more.

“The most important thing to stay at the top every year, you know. I want to stay there and defend the points. I finished two years as number 10. I have to take the next step. But the most important thing is to stay at the top.”


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