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Meet the Latvian sensation on the tennis court

Jelena Ostapenko: “You start winning and then you try to keep winning matches ... That’s how you gain your confidence.”

Jelena Ostapenko is one of the freshest faces on tour now, but make no mistake about it, she is one of the most feared ladies on the Women’s Tennis Association Tour! 

The Latvian sensation won her first Grand Slam at the last French Open, becoming the first unseeded player to win the tournament since 1933.

She was also able to match her career best ranking of world number 7 in October.

She was one of the most-sought-after players in the year’s final event in Singapore, by both the fans and the international media. The Philippine STAR was fortunate to have spent some time with her in the Lion City.

PHILIPPINE STAR: What were your expectations going into this event and are you pleased with everything so far? 

JELENA OSTAPENKO: Yeah, I mean, it’s really nice here. It’s my first time at WTA Finals, and I’m really happy to be here to finish the year in the top eight. I’m enjoying it! 

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Were you surprised at all the hoopla, all the parties and photo shoots, and the interviews?

I expected something like that, because it’s like top eight players of the year here, so it should be something special.

You’ve got to be extremely happy with 2017. 

Yeah, I think I had a great year, especially winning the French Open and getting here to the WTA Finals, winning the tournament in Seoul, so I think in general it was a very good year for me.

Did your win at the French Open help propel the rest of the season?

Yeah, I mean, it was a great tournament for me. I was always an aggressive player and trying to hit the ball hard if I have a chance, and I think there, especially the court and everything, it fitted me. So I had a great result there.

Because of your game, is it more exciting to be indoors and not have to deal with the wind or maybe rain delays? 

I mean, now we are probably more used to be indoors because now it’s almost wintertime, so most tournaments are indoors, so, yeah, I think I probably like to play indoors.

What is your biggest fear going into this tournament, especially like this one?

I don’t really think about it. I’m just really happy to be here. As I said, the top eight players of the year. I’m going to enjoy  my time here.

How do you build your confidence entering a tournament? 

Of course, winning the matches! You start winning and then you try to keep winning matches and then you become more consistent. That’s how you gain your confidence.

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