It means a lot to her to be liked and liked she is by her fans who have voted her the WTA Fan Favourite for the second year in a row. Of course, she is in the business of winning titles and earning money, but that doesn’t stop Agnieszka Radwanska from smiling whenever she can. As the defending champion at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship starting February 18, the 23-year-old tells XPRESS in an exclusive interview that she can’t hope to smile through what she believes is one of the toughest tournaments on the Tour.
“Of course it’s going to be very tough to defend the title, especially as it gets stronger every year. It’s always just the top-30 players, so it’s going to be tough from the first round. I just have to be prepared that it’s not going to be easy, but I’ll definitely try,” she said.
Understandably, the Dubai tournament is one of the highlights in Radwanska’s calendar.
“I think the Dubai tournament is one of the best tournaments of the year. Everything is organised very well. Everything is pretty much perfect, hotel, facilities, how they treat the players. I always look forward to going back there,” she said.
Popular wherever she plays, Radwanska says she is happy to have been voted WTA fan favourite for two years running now. “I think it’s great. I was excited and happy about. When I heard, I had a big smile on my face, I really appreciate it,” she said.
The year began extremely well for the Polish star with two titles, before she lost in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open for the third straight year.
“It was a great start to the year, probably the best one I have had, I can’t complain about that. Of course, losing in a Grand Slam, it’s so easy to blame yourself. But quarter-final is always a good result and Li Na was really on fire for the couple of weeks over there. She played great tennis. I tried hard but she was so good that day,” she said.
Radwanska’s breakthrough performance in Slams came last year when she reached the Wimbledon final where her crafty, all-court game was overpowered by Serena Williams.
“Definitely it was close last year. It was Serena on grass and it was tough. I sure hope to have a couple of more opportunities in Slam finals. We’ll see,” she said.
Radwanska has won 12 titles on the WTA Tour
She rose to No. 2 in the rankings on July 9, 2012
She also reached the semi-finals of the year-ending WTA Championships in 2012