Wimbledon.com is delighted to announce our new blogger, Daniela Hantuchova, who will be providing a unique insight into the life of a travelling pro... in her first instalment, she tells us what she loves about Australia...
Welcome to my exclusive Wimbledon.com blog, which I will be writing regularly from the Tour so you can get an ‘insider’s’ view of goes on at tournaments between Wimbledon every year. I wish it could be June already because I love playing on grass and The Championships are so special for every tennis player but luckily we get to go to lots of cool places outside of Wimbledon.
If you have questions for me, you can always tweet me (@dhantuchova) and (@Wimbledon) and I’ll try to answer them here. Like I said, I want to give you guys some insight into what the life of a tennis player is like so tell me what you want to know and I’ll tell you everything - well, maybe almost everything!
For one thing, time moves quickly! I can’t believe that it’s time for a new season and that we’re just about to play the Australian Open already. If someone had told me at the beginning when I first joined the tour that I would b coming here for the 14th time I would have just laughed and not believed it. I’m so happy that I have had so many opportunities to play here, though, because I love coming here.
So, here are five things I love about Australia, one of my favourite countries to come and play in:
1. I love the lifestyle of the people here because almost everybody is very active, eats well and takes care of themselves. Healthy living is part of the culture here and people here are a great example of the inner beauty - because when people care of themselves and can feel good about it they can spread that joy around. They have a great climate, of course, which helps and it all means that there is a really happy atmosphere here.
2. It makes everyone very excited to be here at the start of the year for the first Grand Slam in Melbourne because this is what we play for - those four big tournaments Nothing means more than doing well during those two weeks and that’s true at the Australian Open, Roland Garros, the US Open and, of course, Wimbledon. It’s our chance to be part of tennis history.
3. I have so many great memories of the Australian Open, especially from 2008, the year when I made semis in singles, but I loved it even before that, going back to 2003 when I got the quarters. You always have a special place in your heart for tournaments that you have played well at. It’s human to feel like that and also those good memories can give you confidence. Winning the mix doubles title here and twice being in the doubles final has been fun as well. I enjoy playing doubles and mixed, it’s a little bit more relaxed than singles and you have a ‘team-mate’ to share it with, which is a good feeling when you are used to being out there in tough matches on your own playing singles.
4. The Aussie crowd is really great to play in front of because they really understand the sport and they get so into it and make a lot of noise. When you get the fans’ support here - or anywhere actually - it can really make you win matches because it gives you that extra push when you need it. The atmosphere at the Australian Open is one of the best - they really get it what it is about.
5. Melbourne is a fantastic city that loves sport and everything is right there for you - the hotel that I’ve stayed at for many years now is part of a big casino (The Crown), right in the heart of town and it has restaurants, shops and entertainment all on your doorstep. I’m also a very keen golfer - I find it a really good way to relax while still being a bit competitive! - and there are lots of fantastic golf courses here. The Capital golf course is my favourite - playing a round of golf there is the highlight of my year!