Dani Hantuchova used to be one of my fave tennis players. Her game is so smooth and effortless, save for her heavy feet. Plus, she's drop dead and has appeared in numerous fashion magazine spreads (I vaguely remember a GQ photoshoot.) Now, apparently, she's tired of the press and public focusing on the players' looks. Hmmm - seems hypocritical to me. Maybe she blames these things for her shocking weight loss a number of years back and, consequently, the hard nose dive of her career. In a recent interview with The Independent, she talks about the press' obsession with the players' looks, Kim Clijster's retirement, practicing with Marty Hingis using wooden rackets, and the match against her countrywoman - the lengendary Martina Navratilova.
On Kim Clijsters retirement:
"I feel we've grown up together, Kim and me," Hantuchova tells me, "so it's very, very strange. On the one side, I can totally understand where she's coming from. As a top tennis player you sometimes want nothing more than a normal life. On the other side, with the talent she has, she has done so many great things but could do much more."
On the press' focus on body image:
"I think," she says, "that there is way too much emphasis on the way we look in sport in general. With the guys nobody bothers, except to say that Ronaldo has got a little bit heavy or something. But with the women, there is too much. Everyone has a different shape. People should focus only on the game."
On playing Martina Hingis with wooden rackets:
"It is a feeling I only get with her, an unbelievable feeling. In Miami we practised with wooden rackets, because someone wanted us to try them, and the ball came off the racket so perfectly."
"That's why I was so pleased to see Martina coming back. Tennis is not all about power, it's also about rhythm, and she proves that more than anyone."
On playing legendary Martina Navratilova:
"I played a singles match against her in Eastbourne a couple of years ago, which I won, but I have never, ever been so nervous in my life. I normally don't really care who's on the other side of the court, but with her that was all I could think about."
On the rise of the Eastern European players:
"It's the mentality," she says. "We are prepared to work very hard to get there, no matter what it takes. We're not spoiled. In the West, it's sometimes hard to stay motivated if you are given everything when you are young."