READY TO PICK UP WHERE SHE LEFT OFF
Ashley Marshall | June 13, 2018
A foot injury suffered in March pumped the breaks on American 16-year-old Amanda Anisimova's rapid rise up the rankings.
Healthy once again, the reigning US Open girls' champion spoke with USTA.com about her rehab, beating Petra Kvitova in Indian Wells for her first career Top-10 win and training at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla.
USTA.com: Congratulations on a strong start to the 2018 season. How would you evaluate the first half of 2018?
Amanda Anisimova: I had a really good and tough pre-season at USTA last winter, and so that really helped me coming into Indian Wells. My results are based off of that, a lot of it, so USTA has definitely been a big part of my career. They’ve been helping me a lot, and now that I came back from my injury and am training here, it’s all been going really well.
Hopefully I can get back to where I was.
USTA.com: How is the foot, and how has the recovery been?
Amanda Anisimova: It’s been pretty good. I’ve been taking it slow, but it’s been adjusting really well. I’m training really intense now, training twice a day, and then I have fitness twice a day, so everything is going really well.
USTA.com: Can you describe the injury and how long you were unable to train?
Amanda Anisimova: I had a fracture in my right foot. I was in a boot for six weeks, but I was still doing fitness and trying to work out my upper body, so I wasn’t completely immobile and not doing anything. When I came out of the boot, I was still pretty in shape, and I was just taking it slowly. I obviously wasn’t moving at all at first, but just week by week, I started increasing how much I was working.
USTA.com: What’s your schedule look like for the next couple months?
Amanda Anisimova: I think I’ll play in Berkeley, a [USTA Pro Circuit] $60,000, and then in San Jose [Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic], which is a WTA.
USTA.com: Looking back to the 125K Series event at Indian Wells that led to the wild card for the main Indian Wells tournament, how important was that event for your spring?
Amanda Anisimova: It was great. The 125, I was going in without very much confidence because the previous tournaments that I was playing at I didn’t really do so well, so I was playing with no pressure and just having fun out there. But I did really well, and that gave me a lot of confidence going into Indian Wells. Knowing that I had put in the work in the off-season, I was mentally prepared for any challenge I would face. I was feeling really confident.
USTA.com: When you pick up those big wins against players like Pauline Parmentier and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Petra Kvitova back-to-back, what does that say about where you are in terms of your development?
Amanda Anisimova: Obviously, I have a lot of work to get to where I need to be, but it shows that I can be at the level I want to be at and that I can compete with these players. That gives me a lot of hope, knowing that if I keep working hard that I can get to where I want to be.
USTA.com: It’s been almost two years since you played your first professional match in the US Open Qualifying Tournament. What do you remember about that day?
Amanda Anisimova: That was definitely fun because it was my first pro tournament ever. Starting with the US Open qualies is a big one. Then I actually won a round, so that was really exciting. I was just really happy, and I was surprised that I won a match because I beat a pretty top player [No. 17 seed Veronica Cepede Royg], so it was really good.
USTA.com: Would you say that momentum carried into 2017? Because you reached your first pro final in Brazil, then reached back-to-back USTA Pro Circuit finals on the U.S. clay courts to win the USTA Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge.
Amanda Anisimova: When I started on the Pro Circuit, I was preparing myself to play a lot of $60K tournaments, but I was doing pretty well, and when I won the French Open wild card, that was really exciting. It was a big step forward. It’s all just going step by step and working your way up, and I hope I can keep doing that.
USTA.com: And how much fun was it getting to play in the main draw of the French Open last year?
Amanda Anisimova: It was an amazing experience. It was my first Slam. It was a really tough first round. But knowing that I can play with those players at that same level, I was pretty upset because I really wanted to win the first round. But I was working really hard, and after that, I won the US Open juniors, so finishing my junior career on that was really good.
USTA.com: Does it feel like that was only last September that you won the junior title in New York?
Amanda Anisimova: Yeah, it feels like it’s been a while, but I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a big part of my life, just really exciting, and it was a huge thing that I did that I’m really proud of.
USTA.com: What does success look like the rest of the year, considering you’re coming off this foot injury?
Amanda Anisimova: Hopefully I’ll get into the US Open, and I’ll do well there. That’s what I’m really excited about, getting into the US Open, so I really hope I get to play in that this year. Then I just want to play a lot of tournaments before that so I can get myself prepared for that.
USTA.com: Now that you’re spending a lot of time training at the USTA National Campus, is your father still involved with your coaching?
Amanda Anisimova: I’m working with my dad and a couple coaches from USTA. Ola [Malmqvist] has been helping me a lot. He’s always there at my practices helping me, and I hit with Joey, one of the hitters, there. I just play matches whenever I can. I love playing here, and I always take the opportunity when I can to train here.
USTA.com: Having all those facilities in one place, how much of an advantage is that for your training?
Amanda Anisimova: It’s great. They have all the resources possible, whatever I need, whether it’s rehab or if I need a court, I have everything I need at any second of the day. It’s just amazing, and I hope I can train a lot here while I’m in Orlando.
USTA.com: How important is it to still have your dad there with you, considering he was such a big part of getting you started in tennis when you were younger?
Amanda Anisimova: Both my parents have been a huge part of my tennis life, and they both got me into it. My sister is a lot older than me, and she was playing tennis when she was my age. She started when she was 11, so I caught onto it after her. Every time she was at practice, I would want to play, too. That’s why I started so early, and I always liked it, so I kept playing.