SONY ERICSSON OPEN
Catching Up With... Dominika Cibulkova
by Joe McGovern|
Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova has been a mainstay in the WTA Top 30 for the past four seasons, highlighted by a run to the French Open semi-finals in 2009 and a fourth round defeat of then-World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki at last year's Wimbledon. She caught up with SonyEricssonOpen.com after her swift 6-2, 6-0 victory over Jie Zheng to talk about today's match, her moonlighting as a tennis reporter, and the vegetable that translates into her last name.
You played today against a two-time Grand Slam semi-finalist, who, in fact, beat you in 2008 on her way to the Wimbledon semis. Was it easier than you expected?
Not really easier than I expected. I just felt like I was really prepared for the match. She’s the type of player who plays really fast and low, as I was expecting her to, so I just had to play faster and lower. In the end she tried to go for too much but it was impossible because I was just playing too fast.
You’re into the fourth round now, which is your best result ever in Miami. But you have a tough potential matchup with World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka coming up next.
Yes, Azarenka and I played last year here in the third round. In that match I was a set up and 3-1 in the second. We know each other really well and I’m going to have to try and play the same as I did today if I want to have any chance.
In October you won your first WTA title in Moscow after having lost in three tournament finals, including one the week before. How did it feel to finally get one?
It was so satisfying because everybody was saying “Oh, you didn’t win a title.” And also my fans were really pushing for it. It was a tough match, really tight, and when I had the match point I was incredibly nervous and feeling very stressful . When I won it felt like the stress was able to fall off.
Who is a current player who you really admire?
Kim Clijsters is one of my favorite people. I just had a chance to practice with her the other day. What’s so great about Kim is that she’s so nice when we meet during practice but then she keeps that great personality on if we play during a match. She shows that you can be a great player without being cocky.
You have been a presence this year on the other side of the microphone, interviewing players here in Miami.
I’m really loving it. The first thing I did was for Xperia Hot Shots, which was really popular on the internet, and now I’ve been interviewing the other players for Tennis Kidz Zone. I don’t know for sure but I feel like I might be good at it. And all the other girls, Maria and Caroline and Victoria, they all know me. I can make them laugh, so maybe they will tell me different things than they would tell to the press.
How does it compare to your day job?
Well, it’s challenging in the same way as tennis. I really like doing it and that makes me want to work a lot harder, practice and train, so that I can be better at it.
You've said before that you like to have fun. Miami is a real party city.
It is but I can only really enjoy that side of Miami after the tournament. Before the tournament I have to be focused and during the tournament I have all my rituals and schedules to keep. I was saying to my friends, it’s a shame because this weekend was the big music festival downtown. At my hotel, I could see everybody partying all around the pool and it looked really cool.
Is it correct that your last name translates into English as—
Onion. Yeah, cibulko is the Slovak word for onion.
So Cibulkova means the daughter of an onion.
Exactly right. I am the daughter of an onion. Not many people know this about me.
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