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Pavlyuchenkova has a lust for languages

But multiple junior Grand Slam champion won’t let it affect her tennis

Image Credit: Gulf News archives
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia returns against Alisa Kleybanova of Russia during their match at the Dubai Duty Free Women's Tennis Championships 2011 at the Dubai Tennis Stadium United Arab Emirates on Monday 14 February 2011.
Gulf News

Dubai: Multiple junior Grand Slam champion Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova loves languages, but not enough to make her switch professions.

Pavlyuchenkova, who was one of three main draw players present at the official draw ahead of the 2013 Dubai Duty Free Women’s Open, spends a major part of her spare time learning new languages. Her latest craze is French and she is almost fluent.

“Being in France, I picked up some French, which is awesome. It helps my coach to communicate with me in French. It’s easier for me,” Pavlyuchenkova told the media here.

Born in the Russian city of Samara, the 21-year-old now resides in Moscow but does most of her tennis training at the Mouratoglou Academy in Paris. And, like others on the tour, Pavlyuchenkova’s travelling has helped her come in contact with various cultures and languages, which fascinate her. So far she speaks French and English in addition to her mother tongue of Russian.

Pavlyuchenkova won the junior Australian Open on a couple of occasions and had a breakthrough year in 2011, when she made it to the quarter-finals at the French Open and US Open and the third round at the Australian Open. This string of performances helped the Russian reach a career high World No13 in July 2011.

Despite her love of languages, Pavlyuchenkova dare not lose her focus as a player.

“Sometimes when you have too much in your head, you think too much and that’s not much good. Sometimes I feel like I wish I could not think on the court but just hit the ball as hard as I can. That’s it. Sometimes there’s too much going on in my head and it’s not good,” she said.

Pavlyuchenkova does read the odd book while on tour, but makes sure she is not distracted from the job at hand.

“If you have brains, you have talent. It doesn’t matter if you read books or not, and then too, it all depends on what kind of books one reads. I love to read books but I am not going to read sensitive books or something like that.

“All the top girls, they are definitely smart. You cannot be stupid and play tennis. It is a very intellectual sport. You need to think on court. Sometimes, for fun, it’s better to close your eyes and hit the ball. But most of the times, of course you need brains, you need to think on the court. Tennis is one of the tougher sports because it includes physical, mental, intellectual… everything. All the girls there, you need to be special to be one of the top girls in tennis.

“I would say one has to keep things simple. It would be easier for me if I could think a bit less on the court. Just go out there and focus on my game, on the match and just don’t think about anything, but just hit the ball,” she added.

“Most of could not really study that much because we chose tennis. So it’s our No 1 priority.”