Read original interview at 112.ua
To meet with Elina, we went to Paris, where these days Roland Garros tournament is taking place. Ukrainian unexpectedly stumbled in the third round, losing to 33rd world racket Mihaela Buzarnescu, but stayed for several days in the French capital to rest. She rarely gives great interviews to the Ukrainian media, but we did it!
- Elina, you always look great, but we recently noticed that you are now going to the court with make-up. Do you put it yourself or does someone help?
Yes, I do it myself and always dress myself before the match. It is very important for me to look good: both the form and the clothes. We must always be 100% ready, because cameras and many photographers are everywhere.
I wear the light make-up. All this takes about 10 minutes maximum. It's together with a shower!
- Many people note your unsurpassed smile. How long have you started whiten your teeth and why did you decide on this procedure: because of the big publicity?
Smiling for me is also very important, so I always try to pay attention to this, I go to the dentist many times a year. Since I raise a lot of trophies, I need to keep your teeth in order (laughs).
- How long does it take for you to fulfill advertising contracts?
It takes a lot of time, we have a lot to cut, and it's a pity, because sometimes there is a very good offer and different kind of "activities", but it does not work. Although we try to find the time for the most interesting ones.
- Kurnikova earned on advertising more than on the court. Are your sponsor revenues already approaching the prize money for the year? (In 2017, the prize money was $ 3 263 316).
Yes, they are coming to this amount (laughs). I honestly do not focus much on this, because for me the most important thing is my results and the titles that I want to win.
- Are Ukrainian advertising contracts comparable to international brands?
The biggest contracts I have are with Nike: both advertising, and in general, as well as with Wilson, because they are global and there is a more global picture. In Ukraine, I also have contracts with big brands - Morshinska, GEOS - and I'm glad that I concluded cooperation with them.
- Just in the beginning of March you came to Kyiv to launch an advertising campaign of Morshinska water. Three months passed, and in Paris we saw you noticeably thinner.
I have little changes both in physical training, and nutrition. We are now working more on nutrition and fitness on the scientific side. Me and my team like the results, and we are moving in the right direction.
- Is it possible to link a certain decline of your form between tournaments in Dubai and Rome with this?
Of course, there is a shift in general mode: nutrition, physical training, but I do not think that this affects the results. Of course, I need to get used to this a little.
I do not think that it was a recession, since I played much better than last year. I won a major tournament at the beginning of the year, then I performed well and generally, in principle, I play much better and physically stronger. If we watch the video of last year's matches and this, we'll see the difference. I cannot win every week, so you ask a lot (laughs).
- The bookmakers considered you and Halep the main favorites for Roland Garros. Why did you come to Paris?
To be honest, I had the one goal - it's a victory. Of course, the favorites are cool, but that's because I won one of the big tournaments, so I had big bets, and Halep always plays very well on the ground courts. I do not focus on this at all and it does not really matter to me.
- Last year I asked you a similar question before the quarterfinal at the Roland Garros. Then you said that the goal is simply to win every next match. Psychology has changed?
It's always different, because big tournaments took a lot of energy and it's always very difficult to concentrate on the main task. So even on the Roland Garros there is a rest day, during which you are trying to prepare as best as possible for the match. Therefore, it always changes. And I always have a task when I come to the tournament, and the belief that I can win it.
- On the day when you lost to Buzarescu in the third round, with what feelings did you wake up in the morning?
Before the match I had a normal mood, as usual. It was a little cloudy, so the mood was not super, but it was normal, and I do not think it somehow affected the result.
- It happens that a tennis player wakes up, feels something is wrong, and then goes to court - and the game is lost.
It happens, but I try not to think about it at all, because it can greatly affect psychology. I try to find something positive always, and in general, the day is very long and is filled with many good moments that we often miss. I look at things this way and do not focus on negative emotions.
- Starting with Roland Garros last year, at every match you were considered as a pretender to the title. Why do you manage to win at major "premieres", but not the Roland Garros yet?
To be honest, we also think about this issue, so when we come to an answer and see the results better, then I will answer this question.
- Insulting defeat from Halep in the quarter finals of Roland Garros in 2017, the loss to Martens at the same stage of the Australian Open in 2018, now this from Buzarnescu. Do these defeats undermine your self-confidence on the matches"?
These defeats do not affect my confidence. I know that I have a level of play, I perform well in big competitions. I try to work as best I can on this - I cannot call it a problem, but I put all the forces to do my best at these tournaments. I think that three titles already this year is an indicator that I am moving in the right direction. I need more time to find my game on the Roland Garros.
- With which coaches do you work now?
I've been working with the coach for a year and a half. This is Thierry Assion. I have a second coach, sparring, - Andrew Bettles, because the first coach can’t always attend tournaments, and there is a second coach who replaces him. In addition, I have changed the team for physical training: these are three or four people, they have different functions and they contribute something of their own.
- What are the plans and goals for the grass season: where will you train and perform?
I will be training in London, I'm going to perform in Birmingham. This will be my first tournament. Then one week of training and Wimbledon.
Now I have a little rest, but I still do a little bit every day in the gym. This is always present in my regime, and now I have many different events: some interview, maybe I'll come to Ukraine for a couple of days to see my family, because I rarely visit home.
- You spend most of your time in London. Did you buy a home there?
- London is a very international city, like Paris. British accent is easily distinguishable from others to you?
Of course, because I spent a lot of time there before. I had a British coach for over three years and I have many friends from England.
- Why did you choose London? Many tennis players live in Monte Carlo, for example.
I spend a lot of time in Monte Carlo. I'm moving between London and Monte Carlo - I have two bases, where I often train.
London – I chose it because of the training process. I have all the conditions there, it is very convenient for me. And all the flights (since many tournaments and are in China or America) - it is much easier to fly out from there and the way is shorter.
- What are your impressions of life in London, how do you spend time there in addition to training?
I like that there are a lot of parks, cafes, restaurants. There are always so many people and there is a constant movement, it gives a sense of life. Even in the winter. For example, in Paris there are no such things. Because of this, it's hard for me to train there in the winter, but life in London is always moving. For me this is very important, since I like to be distracted and do something else besides tennis.
- In what area of London do you live, what surrounds you?
I live next to Wimbledon and I have a park right in front of my house.
- In Instagram you often published photos from home games of Chelsea. Why are you a fan of this club?
I have a couple of friends there who invited me to the match. It's also very close to my house, so I go there with friends. I like the very atmosphere. There's a very good stadium, although it's not that big.
- You have a little dog for about a year now. Such breed was chosen to travel with the dog together?
By the way, she lives in Ukraine most of time because I have no time to take care of her. It's not so easy, because you need to be very kind to the pet. I chose this breed myself - the Papillon.
- Elina, what will you choose: to earn a lot of money, to become an icon in tennis or to have a reputation of personality with charisma, an interesting person?
For me - I like the third option. Not only in tennis, but also outside tennis, and in Ukraine, to popularize sports. I believe that it is very important for Ukraine to have something more interesting than politics, so that people would be interested in.
- What are you interested in outside tennis?
I like learning languages. I study French, Spanish - a little bit, because there is not so much free time. But since I have many friends and acquaintances from different countries, I can practice, and for me it's interesting. In addition, I read books when I have long flights.