Monday, April 2, 2018

Top seeds have lots to say at Volvo Car Open All Access Hour

Top seed Caroline Garcia (photo by Daniel Ward)
It was a chatty group who showed up today at the Daniel Island Club to meet with members of the tennis media. We learned a lot: Madison Keys knows how to handle online trolls, Julia Goerges enjoys doing her own taxes, Petra Kvitova is already a Charleston food afficianado, and defending champion Dasha Kasatkina does a scary good imitation of "California talk" (this, from hanging out with the WTA's Courtney Nguyen).
2nd seed Petra Kvitova (photo by Daniel Ward)

The players were in high spirits. Kvitova flashed her skills with a soccer ball, and Sevastova was her usual droll self. Top seed Caroline Garcia told us how nice it feels for her to change from hard court to clay. She also talked about how all players--ATP and WTA--need to respect each other. Garcia, through attending matches and being active on social media, has forged some good relationships with French football (soccer) players.

Jo Konta discussed her mindfulness practice, which is integrated into her day-to-day life. Konta is also a yoga practitioner.

Kvitova was transparent about her awkwardness on clay courts--though we did remind her that she won Madrid. Of course, because of the altitude, the Madrid court plays faster than other red clay courts. But then, we also reminded her that she has reached the semifinals at the French Open! The 2nd seed also talked about the upcoming Fed Cup tie in Germany; Germans playing on a clay court at home (Stuttgart) gives them the advantage, she said, but the Czech team will do its best.

Anastasija Sevastova (photo by Daniel Ward)
Goerges explained to us that she is very organized in every aspect of her life, and that she likes to take as much responsibility for her life as possible, which includes doing her own taxes. Also, it turns out, she really likes numbers.

The German, like the other top seeds, said that playing on green clay is an excellent transition from hard court to red clay. "It's like a hard court with a little clay on it," she said. It's been about five years since Goerges has competed in Charleston, and she said she was very glad to return.

Goerges also talked about the difference between European and U.S. crowds. "I think, in general, they (U.S. fans) are much more into it." "Here, they are more open...they just sit there having a good time, and I like it."

Julia Goerges (photo by Daniel Ward)
The ever-thoughtful German also expressed her disappointment over the way that mobile phones have caused people to stop personally communicating with each other. We could easily have spent an entire afternoon just listening to Goerges deconstruct contemporary culture, but we all had to return to the tennis center.

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