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Author:  chungwit [ 1. August 2020 11:52 ]
Post subject:  Re: News, Articles & Interviews

Tennis star Daniela Hantuchová on not taking translation too literally (part 1)
Lauren Pitts

Published 30 July 2020

If you took up tennis, what do you think you’d learn about? Daniela Hantuchová asked her parents for a tennis racket at 5 years old, because she wanted to go to the Olympics. From that young age, she learnt about discipline, commitment, willpower and how to use English to navigate the international world of sport. And of course how to play tennis.

Daniela’s career has taken her all over the world. She’s worked with coaches and players from many different countries and although they don’t have the same first language, they’re on the same page. Using English as a common language is a strong starting point, but it’s just as important to understand the cultures and personalities of the people you’re with.

When was it that you started to learn English?
I was 9 years old. Because here in school in Slovakia, the first language we normally learn is German. So Slovak is our native language and in schools it starts with German.

So were you learning English and German simultaneously in school?
Yes, well I started to speak German when I was 5 or 6. Because a lot of my parents’ friends are from Germany, plus we live very near to Austria so it’s really like our second language. And then later I was learning English as well.

This kind of leads into my next question – whether it’s standard for children in Slovakia to learn English growing up or whether there was also a specific reason that you felt you really wanted to learn English?
It is standard because we are such a small country. There are only 5.5 million of us talking in Slovak, so we’d better learn another language if we want to stand a chance in the world! Well back in my parents’ generation, the focus was more learning Russian and German, and English wasn’t really the priority. And then with my generation it changed big time, so I was lucky enough to be part of that.

Did you enjoy the experience of learning languages when you were at school?
Absolutely. Also because I started to travel so early in my life, I had no other choice. It was interesting to see how what we learnt at school was one thing, and then we came to the real world. I had to face the reality and I realised I needed to pick it up big time, because it was not really the stuff they would teach us at school. Especially going to tennis. I actually learnt the book about tennis in English, just to kind of start to understand the words about the technique and what I needed for my sport.

Excellent idea!
Is there something you remember struggling with, or an area of English you found particularly difficult?
Well, as I said our Slovak language is super difficult. I think everyone that knows the language, Slovak or Czech, knows that it’s crazy how tough it is. I think we are in the top 5 most difficult languages in the world.

So on top of that having to learn German, I have to say learning English was a little bit easier. But it was more about just starting to understand the real English, not the one as I said that they teach you at school. So things like, I was coming to Florida and the kids my age would ask me ‘hey what’s up?’. Well… to me it was like ‘what is up?’. It was more the slang words which I never came across that I struggled with.

Somebody else I spoke to used that exact example, of when they went to America and wondered ‘why are they asking me what’s up? Nothing’s up, I’m fine!’
Really? Haha, I remember the other one is instead of asking ‘how are you?’ I got asked ‘you ok?’.

Yeah we do that don’t we! We’re just saying hello.
So in my language if you ask someone if you’re ok, it’s almost like asking ‘are you nuts?’. So it’s a shock to be asked that haha. I think that’s when it becomes fun, when you literally translate word by word.

When you were learning English, did you ever use English outside of your lessons? For example do your family speak any English, or at that age were you purely using it in a classroom setting?
Only the classroom, so that’s why it took me a while. So I started to learn when I was 9 and then when I went to Florida to start training there I was 13. So those 4 years I was basically just using it in the classroom. Because if we needed to speak another language it would be German.

When did you start playing tennis and why?
Well when I was 5 years old, it was 1988 and it was the Olympics in Seoul in Korea. And Miloslav Mečíř from here won the gold medal for Czechoslovakia in tennis. It was the first time I saw tennis on TV and I asked my parents right there if they could buy me a tennis racket so I could go to the Olympics one day as well.

That’s excellent ambition to start with. Not just so you can learn but ‘I need a tennis racket so I can go to the Olympics’!
So when I get asked when I decided to turn pro, well, when I was 5. There was no other way. That was the only reason I wanted to play.

So aside from playing the actual game, (as presumably that is what you enjoy about it!), what is it about tennis, and being on the international professional circuit, that you enjoy the most?
I really enjoyed getting to learn different cultures while travelling. I definitely believe that makes us so rich as a person, to try to understand different mentalities in different countries. Also with my family we always try to go sightseeing and see different museums and the cultural parts of the city. So I felt like I was really lucky to be able to explore so much of the world at such a young age. I think that was the part I enjoyed the most. But also what tennis taught me as a person. How I had to go about my training and obviously the discipline and the will power and accepting different situations at a very young age, has helped me to grow up very quickly.

Do you think it’s important to encourage those kinds of attributes in children? Like motivation and determination?
Absolutely. I think that’s why it’s also important to encourage young kids to do sports. Because I don’t think any other platform can give you those benefits and those emotions and that understanding about yourself. I think that’s where sport, in anyone’s life, plays a huge role. Because you don’t have to be a professional or an Olympic winner to still be able to push yourself and go to your limits, wherever they are. And that’s when you learn how to be committed, how to be disciplined. And also your mind just becomes so much more fresh, you feel good about yourself and then you can study so much better. So even for someone that’s trying to achieve an amazing academic career, I think it’s still important to involve sport in some way. Just to have that aspect of life as well.

I’m definitely on board with that. When I was growing up I was doing some kind of sport every day!
When did speaking English become relevant to your tennis career?
When I was 13 and I went to Florida to train with Nick Bollettieri. Pretty much ever since then I only had English speaking coaches. So my language in my head on the tennis court became English actually very quickly. So even up to today, when I’m on the court I will still have to translate from English back to Slovak.

Really! Wow. So instead of translating it into your second or third language, you’re translating it back to your first language.

When you’re on tour, you’re obviously with players and coaches and umpires from a multitude of countries. So the chances of you all having the same first language are very slim! How does communication on the international circuit work for all of you?
I think it’s very interesting and a very good question because you normally work with coaches from different countries. And even though you speak in English with most of them, what they say on the court can have a totally different meaning to how you would say it, or how a coach from another country would say it.

Let’s take a coach from Spain – if he says something in English, it might not be the same as what an English coach would say. Sometimes there can be a little bit of confusion and it takes a while to really understand your coach. I mean one thing is to understand the language, but another is to really understand what he means by that. And then I think it’s very very important for the coach-player relationship to work on that at the beginning. To really make sure everyone is on the same page as far as the meaning of the words. Because it can sometimes be a little bit confusing, especially before a big match. It’s just that cultural difference that can be sometimes tricky. So it’s important at the beginning to make sure they talk the same language, even though it’s English.

To make sure you understand each other, not just the language.
It’s actually funny cause sometimes my coaches used some words that I knew were wrong. But I didn’t correct them at the beginning and then one year later it’s way too late to tell them that’s not the word!

You just have to go with it at that point!
Yes, it can be funny sometimes.

It goes back to what you were saying about how you learn English doesn’t necessarily translate exactly. So you can see why people from different countries end up speaking differently.
So if you’re playing doubles, you might have a partner who’s from a different country and speaks a different language to you. I guess it’s similar to your relationship with your coaches, but how do you go about ensuring effective communication with them, on and off the court?
Yeah again it’s more about understanding the mentality of my partner. And being very careful what I say. Because for example for me, if I say something in an aggressive way, I don’t mean it as mean as it might sound. But it’s how my language is. Again we go to the same principles that you have to understand the country that your partner comes from. And then if you’re on the same level of communication then obviously it helps big time.

You’ve kind of answered this already, but you might have something else to say on it. I wanted to ask about whether you felt the way you learnt English was representative of how you now find yourself speaking it, either in conversation with native speakers, or when it’s a common language. Or whether you’ve picked up your own more conversational style as you’ve been exposed to it.
I think it’s a totally different world when you’re a player and then when you’re doing TV like I’m doing now. Because I think as the player, you get away with so much more. You can really say only a few words and you’re going to be fine. Because you do the job on the court and everyone knows that it’s not your first language. And even in the interviews with the media you can be excused because you’re an amazing player.

But once you get on the other side of things, that’s when you’d better pick it up, because talking is what represents you. And I feel I had to cut out a few words – I’m still working on it – from my professional tennis player career, because I just don’t feel like they belong to what I’m doing right now. So I think it’s very important to always go with your profession. And you know, if you get away with being a little bit, I would say lazy with the words, that’s fine. But then you have to understand once a job opportunity comes you need to pick it up.
Yeah I guess being in a post-match interview compared to you interviewing someone, what’s required of you is very different!

Having had a hugely successful career, Daniela has swapped her racket for a lapel mic. Look our for part 2 of our conversation next week, in which we went on to discuss how she’s adapting her language from the court to the commentary box.

Daniela Hantuchová is a retired Slovak tennis legend. She turned professional in 1999, and had a lucrative on-court career until her retirement in 2017. Throughout her career, Daniela won several WTA Titles including the Indian Wells Masters event in 2002. That same year, she also reached the quarterfinals of Wimbledon and the US Open. Daniela is now making waves in the commentating space, currently working as a tennis commentator for Amazon and FOX. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and fitness. Daniela has travelled all over the world with her tennis career, and speaks fluent Slovak, Czech, English and German, as well as some Croatian and Italian.

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Author:  chungwit [ 7. August 2020 17:49 ]
Post subject:  Re: News, Articles & Interviews

Tennis star Daniela Hantuchová on the language of the court vs. the commentary box (part 2)
Lauren Pitts

Published 7 August 2020

Daniela Hantuchová moved from Slovakia to Florida at 13 years old, to begin her international tennis career. From that point on, she worked with coaches and players from all over the world and learnt how to use English as a common language when a mixture of first languages are involved.

We finished part one of our interview talking about how the role of language changes depending on your profession. Since retiring from playing, Daniela has taken on a different role in the tennis world. Instead of on the court, you’ll now see her in the commentary box. We went on to talk more about this change of scene and how it’s influenced Daniela’s experience of using English. And, how taking up a sport is an excellent starting point if you’re looking to learn a language.

When you were playing tennis, you must’ve been interviewed many times and put on the spot after matches. Has your background in learning English prepared you for these situations?
Well especially when you do the interviews right after the match it’s always tough. Because there are so many emotions involved and that’s when you really go to your native language. With the emotions and adrenaline, you are in your world. So I think that’s where most of the players have the biggest difficulties, trying to explain those emotions in English. And then once you cool down and you get to the media room, that’s when you put your working head on as a media person and try to be more focused. But on the court, you’re tired and there are so many things going through your mind. So it’s tough to put it in words in a language that’s not the first language for you.

I think I probably know the answer to this one – thinking of something you said earlier – but in a situation like that when you have to answer quickly in English, do you think of your answers in English? Or do you translate them into English in your head?
On the court it would be always in English. When I do TV now – I think the longer I’m at a tournament the more English I become! So I would say the first few days – maybe 2 days – I’m still translating a few things into English. And then it just becomes natural. Actually when I do interviews in Slovak these days, it’s more difficult for me and I’m actually sometimes literally translating from English to Slovak. Because for the last two years it’s all been in English. So it’s a little bit strange how sometimes that works!

So now you’ve retired (it sounds weird to say retired, obviously you retire at such a young age in sport!), you do commentary. So if you have to commentate a whole match in English, do you find that difficult, or does it now come quite naturally to you?
It is tiring. It’s not difficult, it’s just it takes a lot of effort for me. And as I said, it’s probably easier than doing it in Slovak because I’ve done it for the last two years. But what I did find difficult was that if I had an idea or thought that I wanted to say in between the points, in my head in Slovak I would have the time to say it. Because our language is very quick. But in English I thought I needed more time to explain things, so it was more about the timing. And when to pause and when to go for it. It was much more tiring say, 2 years ago, than it is now. Obviously if you’re working 16 hours a day not in your language it is going to be mentally draining! But that’s fine.

You’ve gone from tennis being very physically draining, to the other side being mentally exhausting!
Yeah that’s why I say sometimes this job is a little bit more difficult than actually playing the match.

You now have a podcast series where you interview people, so now you get to ask the questions. You’ve said ‘I believe the most inspiring people I’ve encountered in life share certain core values as humans, that have helped them get where they are, whether it was in sports or somewhere else. I want my listeners to get to know these people and understand these core values. As to me, the person we become while we’re doing something is more important than where we end up.’ What do you think those core values are? And how does having those values instilled in you help you get where you end up?
Definitely humbleness. It’s the one thing that puts all my guests in common. I find that the more success they have, the more normal they are. And that’s why I appreciate all of them so much, because I learnt so many things because they’re such inspiring people. Discipline is another key word. From whatever profession they come, whether actor, athlete, singer, the successful ones have the discipline and acceptance. Acceptance to make mistakes, to want to learn to improve, to accept that we are not perfect. So humbleness, discipline and acceptance. Those are the three ingredients so far from everyone that I’ve interviewed.

Is that something that education can play a part in? Helping people grow up with those kinds of values?
Absolutely. As I said, it doesn’t matter who you are, where you are. To me, those are the attributes that have helped me so much. I think it also comes from understanding that we are all the same at the end of the day. And no matter what we do, as long as we do it with these values, then I think we’re going to be successful inside of us. And I think that’s the biggest value we can have for ourselves.

A strong message to instil in everybody really. So to speak publicly, you obviously have to be confident in communication and presenting yourself. Do you think your English skills have been an integral part of how your media career is growing?
Well I have to say I’ve been very grateful for the opportunities I’ve been getting from English speaking TV, because obviously I come from Slovakia. So it’s been great for these opportunities and that’s why I try to work on myself. I took a few TV coaching classes as well. Just to make sure I fulfilled my commitment from my side and that I meet the expectations for whoever hires me.

I didn’t know they have TV coaching classes – that sounds very interesting!
Me neither! I actually only took two of them and they said that I’m fine haha. Just go out there and do it.

You’ve obviously travelled a lot for your career from a young age. Do you have friends or contacts in other countries that you still keep in touch with?
Absolutely I do and I’ve been so blessed to have met so many amazing people while I was on the tour. It’s actually a lot of coaches. Not only mine, but the ones I’ve been on the tour with for 20 years. Obviously I keep in touch with my doubles partner Ai Sugiyama in Japan. We became really, really close friends for the last 20 years. And there are so many different people – I don’t want to name one and forget the other ones! But it’s something also I look forward to when I come to the tournaments for the TV. Even though we don’t have so much time, I at least try to catch up for a coffee, or just to say hi to each other.

When you’re not in the same country and you can’t meet up physically for a coffee, how do you tend to communicate with them? Is it on the phone, do you send letters, is it an email situation? Because there are so many different ways to communicate across countries nowadays.
Lately I have to say Zoom’s been great. I’m more of a talk to person. And I used to write letters. I’m still old fashioned in that. I still do now, but not as much any more. I think I should start doing that as well. But at the end of the day after every tournament, I had to send postcards to my grandmother and to everyone else and I just love writing in general. It’s actually one of my hobbies. I can sit at the table and write for hours. So there have been definitely a lot of letters in the past and now that I think about it, I should start again.

It’s thoughtful, isn’t it?
I think it’s more personal.

Do you like to travel recreationally, as well as for work? Or because you’ve travelled so much for work you just want to stay where you are!
Yeah pretty much! Especially lately I feel like I’ve done my fair share of travelling. And especially with everything that’s happening at the moment I’m happy to be home. But I do like to take my car for whatever is close by. So we go to Prague quite a bit because it’s a very short drive, and to Vienna as well. We’re very lucky that we’re in central Europe, so it’s a car drive pretty much everywhere. As long as it’s about a two hour flight, so whether it’s Italy or Spain, I’m ok with it. The longer ones I’m starting to struggle with! I would say London is my limit!
I used to live in Australia and nothing is two hours away. You drive for two hours and you’re still in a sugar cane field!

Do you have a favourite place to visit, or that you have visited?
Cape Town is one of my favourites. I used to do pre-seasons there for I think 6 years. That’s in fact when I had an English coach, Nigel Sears, and I fell in love with the place. I definitely want to go back there (even though it’s a longer flight!). And then obviously my passion for Italy has been always there. I think it always will be. Anywhere in Italy, whether it’s Tuscany skiing, the islands on the boat, in Rome. If I didn’t live here in Slovakia it would be Italy for sure.

Excellent food in Italy too! Have you learnt (obviously you’ve mentioned German), or would you like to learn, any more languages? If so, how do you think you’d go about learning?
I definitely want to pick up my Italian at some point again. Because I do understand quite a lot, but to speak I’m terribly shy – I don’t know why! So I definitely want the chance to work on that, but I have no idea when! As I’ve been really busy the last couple of months. But the way I would go about it, the way I function, is I would definitely need to go either to a classroom or have a teacher waiting for me. And to do it in person. And it would have to be a very specific discipline – like a schedule I need to commit to. Because otherwise if I just do it in an easy style, I’m never going to get there!

Would you encourage budding young sports players to focus on their language skills alongside their sports training, because of the potential international opportunities?
Definitely, especially these days, when their social media is such a huge part of their career. So that’s where I would encourage them to understand that it’s part of their job, it’s part of their responsibility to present their own brand the best way they can. They can gain a lot of fans thanks to that. If they are able express those emotions on the court, and people in the crowds can understand them, obviously they will relate to them much more. So absolutely yes.

So kind of on the flip side of that, would you say that playing a sport is a good way to help develop language skills? If you’ve moved to another country and you need to pick up the language?
Oh absolutely. I think it’s such a great, safe area to start from. When I was in Italy I didn’t speak the language, but I was in a tennis club where I was training, and suddenly the sport becomes the language to start with. So you feel safe. Because ok you don’t understand anything, but at least you can hit forehands and backhands with someone else on the other side of the court without having to understand him/her. And then slowly you start to be more brave, and slowly you start to feel comfortable. Whether it’s tennis, golf, even running. Sport is such a universal language, that it’s a great way to start if you are in a country where you don’t know anyone, you don’t know the language. At least with sport you know you don’t really need to talk that much!

It’s a good way to meet some people as well and integrate yourself in a culture.
Especially if you want to be active, you want to go to a sports club.
Yeah I only recently moved to Cambridge and the first thing I did was join a rowing club!

Final question – could you give a word of advice, or something that particularly resonates with you, in Slovak? (But then tell me what it means!)
Audio Player
That means to be honest to yourself.

Thank you for talking us through your career and experience Daniela. I look forward to seeing some of your interviews!

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Author:  chungwit [ 17. August 2020 22:45 ]
Post subject:  Re: News, Articles & Interviews

Daniela Hantuchová moderates, comments, lives her dream: In this she evaluates herself as an average

She ended her professional tennis career three years ago and started a new one almost immediately. With a microphone in hand in front of millions of viewers around the world.
Daniela Hantuchová (37) became a commentator for foreign television, and during the coronary crisis she expanded her work to include her own podcast or talk show on her YouTube channel. How far do her ambitions go?

While televisions have been running for half gas for almost half a year, you, on the other hand, are full of activity. Recently, you and the actress Zuzana Vačková started filming a new talk show for your YouTube channel, which also includes cooking. Why such a combination?
(Laughter) First and foremost, these are conversations with our special guests, and it works by either welding them or sometimes the two of us. What is important are the beautiful emotions and thoughts that they will share with us. And so that we don't just sit passively on the couch, we're in the kitchen. I'm also looking forward to learning some new things, as I haven't spent much time in pots in the past.

So what kind of cook are you? From one to ten, with ten being the most.
I've always tried to find time for baking, so maybe I'm eight at that, but the cooking itself, I'd give myself a five.

Your online career is taking on new dimensions. Are you fascinated by this space, such a new moderator self-realization?
I enjoy it, I got into it especially during the crown, when it was impossible to travel. The organizers of the French Open hired me and I did interviews with the players every day. It was great, we had an amazing response from the fans, and even though the tennis wasn't played, we still managed to bring them something interesting, which didn't even make it necessary to be in the studio. So I thought this was the way I wanted to go. In the meantime, I also started making my podcasts of The Real DNA, which I had been preparing for for a very long time, I just never had the time and energy.

How does she feel in the role of a presenter and what does her body say to her three years after leaving the tennis carousel? Find out the weekend in Nový Čas.

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@ google translate

Author:  chungwit [ 24. August 2020 13:53 ]
Post subject:  Re: News, Articles & Interviews

A big return home: DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ definitely moved back to Slovakia after years

Paradoxically, Daniela Hantuchová (37) enjoyed the period of pandemic and forced leave. She even definitely moved home to Slovakia.

For thirteen years, Daniela Hantuchová was one of the 50 best tennis players and only at the age of nineteen did she become the world's top five. As she recently admitted, she did not fully realize this huge success for her perfectionism until many years later. Until then, for her, every win or met goal was just another step on the road to a big sports dream. She sacrificed everything for tennis. She was definitely stopped by an injured rib and a longer sports outage, when she first began to think realistically about the end of her career. It was not easy and this decision matured in her for a long time. Finally, three years ago, she hung a tennis racket on a nail and dug into both her new life and the world of sports news with both feet.

Before that, however, she tried out dance figures in the Let‘s Dance awning show. The bad languages ​​at the time claimed that the athlete had applied for the competition herself, which the television welcomed. From the beginning, she was considered the main star due to the strength of her internationally known name, until she dropped out of the competition after the fourth round. Media interest at the time focused on actress Petra Vajdová (35) and her excess with alcohol behind the wheel. Daniel's reminder did not bear fruit to the Slovak public.

Nevertheless, the former athlete started a promising career abroad. She began commenting and analyzing tennis matches for several world media such as Amazon, Fox Sports Asia, Prime UK, BBC Radio. In addition to the Tennis Channel, he produces his own series called Downtown Dani, where he confesses his former colleagues on tennis courts. Her job quickly engulfed her also because she had been working in top sport since she was a teenager, so there was no respondent who would refuse to give her an interview. "It's probably because I know everyone and ask questions. So far I have not had any negative experiences. At the same time, thanks to the fact that we get to know each other, the players answer me completely differently. There is trust between us and I really enjoy it," thought the former tennis star shortly after the filming of the show I Love Slovakia, where we managed to catch her for at least a few minutes.

The blonde jumped among her TV friends and admitted to us that she only stays at home in Slovakia for a few days. He is said to be on his way to work around the world again. "Now I was glad to be home during the crown," she told us bluntly, noting that she had not spent such a long time with loved ones for more than twenty years.

She was actively employed at first by her tennis career and now by a new job. "I enjoyed it. I slowed down in a lot of things, especially when traveling, it was great that I didn't have to be away somewhere and I was able to be full with friends and family. At the same time, I must admit that I returned to Slovakia in general. I live here again and I really appreciate that after years when I was not here, I finally returned to my roots, " she added. It is true that she did not give up traveling completely due to her television career, but from now on she will not return to Italy, but home to her loved ones.

Our favorite tennis player Hantuchová started a new career. What is feeding her at the moment? You can find the whole article in the latest issue of the weekly Život č. 34 (on sale from August 20, 2020).

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@ google translate

Author:  chungwit [ 31. August 2020 17:27 ]
Post subject:  Re: News, Articles & Interviews

US Open analyst Hantuchova previews Serena, Clijsters

Former World No.5 Daniela Hantuchova returns to the commentary booth with Amazon Prime, analyzing an intriguing US Open field after spending a locked down spring growing a successful podcast and launching a YouTube channel that combines the life and lifestyle of the rising media star.
By David Kane

Daniela Hantuchova has just landed in London. Though the former World No.5 retired from tennis in 2017, her world tour continued as a commentator, and was preparing to call the upcoming US Open for the Amazon Prime after spending lockdown first in the United States, then at home in Slovakia.

“It just felt so nice to be with my friends, and it’s actually something I haven’t done for 25 years!” she laughs as a car took her from Heathrow Airport.

When play suspended for nearly six months, Hantuchova took the time to expand a growing media empire, debuting a YouTube channel in addition to an already-planned podcast, The Real DNA, that combine to invite audiences to explore the life and lifestyle of the Slovak star.

“I go deeper on the podcast, have more meaningful conversations. YouTube is more fun. I’m spending time with actress Zuzana Vackova, and we’re cooking together, involving all of our friends. I’ve always gotten so many questions about my fitness routines, so I wanted to share those, as well. YouTube is where people can get to know me, and the podcast is more about getting to know my guest.”

The Real DNA premiered in mid-April and has released a steady stream of interviews in both English and Slovak, featuring intriguing guests from the tennis world that include current champions like Garbiñe Muguruza, to fellow commentators like Barbara Schett and Hantuchova’s own former coach Darren Cahill, who now works with reigning Wimbledon champion Simona Halep.

“It’s been amazing and so fulfilling, because my guests have all been people I’ve admired. I’ve learned so much just from talking to them, so I hope listeners can get the same amount of knowledge I got. From a production standpoint, it’s been great to learn another aspect of my new professional life, which is the media, being in front of the camera. It has helped me learn a lot about the logistics that go with creating content, things like audio and editing.”

Hantuchova unveiled the podcast’s 16th episode over the weekend, a one-on-one with champion hockey player Peter Bondra that was recorded in her new studio and filmed for an upcoming YouTube video.

“He and I both come from the same city, and he won the World Championships the same year our team won Fed Cup in 2002, so he may be my most exciting guest yet!”

In between interviews, she returned to commentating for the Top Seed Open presented by Bluegrass Orthopaedics, impressed both by the level of play and the execution of a new tournament under unique circumstances.

“I don’t think people understand what it means to create an event in just four, five weeks’ time, and with the players being away for so long, I thought they would be rustier in the beginning. All of the girls looked super fit, and I said many times during the coverage last week that having Serena and Venus playing there, on a small court without any crowds, it shows much love they’ve got for the game.

“When I was a player, I fed off the noise, the adrenaline, and those huge stadiums. Sometimes, especially in my junior days, when people weren’t watching, I almost couldn’t care less, because I really loved the fan support. I think I would be struggling out there right now, but they created such a beautiful example for the rest of the players, from all the challenges they’ve gone through.”

Hantuchova often proved a tough opponent for both Williams sisters, defeating Serena at the 2006 US Open and pushing her to three thrilling sets the following year at Wimbledon, and marvels at the American’s ability to adapt with the changing field in almost three decades on tour.

“It’s absolutely a different formula to beating Serena now than it was when I played her. She’s such a great champion who keeps evolving and improving with the game. Certain things may have worked against her back then, but she’s a much better player now, and so opponents have to find different ways to beat her. The sport has become much more physical, so she may still have to adjust to the fact that players are better able to stay with her, whereas she may have been able to hit them off the court in the past.

“Ultimately, she’s such a great champion, and it’s what I admire about her and Venus: they just get better as time goes on. Personally, knowing how much effort she’s put in, I would love to see her win.”

While Williams won’t experience the electricity that a packed Arthur Ashe Stadium can provide, Hantuchova sees the quieter atmosphere as one that can benefit the American as she aims for a seventh US Open title.

“For those who may be feeling pressure or expectation, it might be good that the crowds are not there, and yes, it will be tough for players to stay and eat in all the same places, but that’s usually how we are all the time! We like to go to the same restaurants and stick to the same routines, so in that way, not much will change, except it may not be the place of your choice. It may be a boring routine, but it’s something players and teams often opt to have at most tournaments under normal circumstances.”

Another of her and Williams’ contemporaries will be in action at the US Open as Kim Clijsters plans to play her first major tournament since 2012, and she predicts the lockdown may provide the Belgian with an unforeseen advantage.

“Kim is the one that kind of makes me wonder if I should be on the court instead of in the studio. I’m so happy for her. It’s such a great story, and I hope she does as best as she can. I just hope she can stay injury-free because obviously the sport is very demanding on the body. With the lockdown and everyone being away, it feels like everyone is starting from the beginning. For players who’ve been away with injuries or retirement, they want that match practice, but now all of the players are in that same boat.”

Taking it all in from the commentary booth, Hantuchova, who tagged teenager Cori “Coco” Gauff as one to watch among the younger set, combines her technical approach to tennis with a proximity to her former fellow players that yields an unexpected emotional component to her analysis.

“I analyzed a lot during my own matches, which, maybe while I was playing them, wasn’t such a great thing!” she jokes as she removes her luggage from the car. “I definitely feel the benefits of thinking so much in my matches as a commentator, and I really try to stay in the present moment and react to the matches as they happen.

“I also haven’t been away for so long, so everything still feels a bit fresh. At the same time, I feel compelled to defend all of my players because I remember what it was like. You remember when a commentator was hard on you as a player, and you’re trying to do your best out there. If a player misses an easy ball, I try to explain the conditions that may have caused that - whether it’s the wind, the sun, the pressure they might be under at that point in a match - to help the viewers understand.”

Her most hectic fortnight in months was upon her, but Hantuchova, analyst, host, influencer, remained at ease, employing an old adage about what makes time fly.

“People point out how busy I’ve been the last couple of months, and that may be true as far as time, but it’s hard to consider any of it work because of how much fun it’s all been.”

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Author:  chungwit [ 1. September 2020 16:35 ]
Post subject:  Re: News, Articles & Interviews

Daniela Hantuchová openly about her career and new life: Who does she have by her side?

She ended her professional tennis career three years ago and started a new one almost immediately. With a microphone in hand in front of millions of viewers around the world.
Daniela Hantuchová (37) became a commentator for foreign television, and during the coronary crisis she expanded her work to include her own podcast or talk show on her YouTube channel. How far do her ambitions go?

While televisions have been running for half gas for almost half a year, you, on the other hand, are full of activity. Recently, you and the actress Zuzana Vačková started filming a new talk show for your YouTube channel, which also includes cooking. Why such a combination?
(Laughter) First and foremost, these are conversations with our special guests, and it works by either welding them or sometimes the two of us. What is important are the beautiful emotions and thoughts that they will share with us. And so that we don't just sit passively on the couch, we're in the kitchen. I'm also looking forward to learning some new things, as I haven't spent much time in pots in the past.

So what kind of cook are you? From one to ten, with ten being the most.
I've always tried to find time for baking, so maybe I'm eight at that, but the cooking itself, I'd give myself a five.

Your online career is taking on new dimensions. Are you fascinated by this space, such a new moderator self-realization?
I enjoy it, I got into it especially during the crown, when it was impossible to travel. The organizers of the French Open hired me and I did interviews with the players every day. It was great, we had an amazing response from the fans, and even though the tennis wasn't played, we still managed to bring them something interesting, which didn't even make it necessary to be in the studio. So I thought this was the way I wanted to go. In the meantime, I also started making my podcasts of The Real DNA, which I had been preparing for for a very long time, I just never had the time and energy.

And how did your connection with Zuzana Vačková come about? You do not fit together generationally or professionally ...
Zuzka and I have known each other for a long time. I am fascinated by her energy and I feel that she is getting younger and younger every year. It all came about completely spontaneously, we were together for coffee and we realized how nice it would be to have someone else with us, to confess to him ... I think we complement each other well, she brings something from the acting world, I from the sports world.

However, your main job is to comment on tennis tournaments, while at the same time you get used to doing work for more TV stations. Can it be?
Yes, all other co-commenters work this way. I was also surprised at the beginning. Of course, when I have an agreement with Amazon for a given tournament, it is a priority, and if I have a window, other stations can order me during it.

Most sports have not taken place in recent months. Where did you survive the corona?
In Slovakia. I came back from Monaco, which I'm very happy about.

You mentioned a few years ago that Rome could be your home. Is it already passé?
(laughs) I think Rome is never past, I love to go back there, but after twenty years of still being on the road, I realized that there was only one home - it's where I have friends and family. . I told myself it was time to go back to the roots and anchored here.

Do you travel much less than during a professional sports career?
Definitely. Everyone says how much I travel, but I find it ridiculous compared to what it was before. And I have the same feelings when I go to practice. Everyone says how much I train, but maybe a quarter of what my workouts looked like in the past.

How often do you take a tennis racket in your hands?
Wow, when I don't have an exhibition or I don't play grand slams among legends, not at all. My friends have to convince me for a very long time to go play. When I'm in the yard, I really enjoy it, but I'm not looking for it.

You appeared on the Let´s Dance show three years ago. Are you still dancing?
Not very much now, but I want to go back to it, as well as to the piano. However, I feel like I have much less free time than when I played tennis.

After your career, you really wanted to live fully and enjoy yourself. Did it work?

What do you do when you enjoy the day? Are you sitting with a book or running around the shops?
(laughs) Probably neither. For me, enjoying means that I don't have a linked schedule. And I like active relaxation, whether on golf or with family and friends.

We've already talked about your podcast of The Real DNA. Simply put, what do you promise from that, where could it move you? Is it just a hobby?
For me, it's something I've always dreamed of. As I said, I feel like my tennis career was just a preparation for something else. I've been used to cameras or microphones since I was a child, I love to communicate, I'm looking forward to having beautiful contacts. It came very naturally. I worked for TV stations, sometimes my boss asked me to call this and that tennis player into the studio, and I realized that it would be nice to have something of my own and show people my guests what they really are. They are all people I respect and admire immensely.

However, athletes are sometimes very ungrateful respondents, as many either do not want to or do not even know how to talk. Are you trying to avoid such a case?
Absolutely not. I solve it based on my feelings, I choose people with whom I am personally nice or from whom I once learned. Everyone has a different form of expression, but I do not evaluate it.

Are your mouth getting better after those years? Do you feel a stronger ground under your feet as a moderator or commentator?
It was completely natural for me from the very beginning. I ran into this new career very smoothly, even though it's a completely different robot. Rather, it was about getting used to the cameras even more, giving away the ego so that it was just about the guest.

At tennis tournaments, you now remain the last representative of Slovakia, no matter what happens, which is undoubtedly a pleasant change compared to the past. However, it is probably really tiring.
Yes. No one believes me when I say that this robot is harder than when I played. Just for abnormally long days, which sometimes last 14-15 hours. During the US Open, I was in New York for three weeks, and not once did I have the energy to run somewhere, even for dinner. From the beginning, it was a big challenge to accept it. As a player, I still had a day off, when in the afternoon I could enjoy the city in which I was. It's out of the question now. After the grand slam, I'm as tired as I've ever been. But again, I enjoy that when I come to the tournament, I normally unpack and know that I will stay there until the end. (laughter)

What does your body tell you three years after getting off the tennis carousel?
She is doing very well and I am grateful that she no longer has to go through all that hard work. Well, of course, the movement asks, by having been taught about it my whole life. When I am not active for two or three days, the body reports. And I'm trying to listen to him. Well, I don't look for extreme loads, I appreciate that I am as healthy as I am.

The sports that have started are currently taking place partially or completely without spectators. Would that suit you?
Definitely not. The point is, you win big matches, you play amazing shots and twenty thousand people look at you right in the stadium. It always knew how to charge me. It will be very interesting to watch what tennis will look like in these conditions.

What do you think tennis will be like after the crown?
In my opinion, it will be very even, there will be no extra favorites. Everyone seems to be starting again, they can shoot hoes, they can be big surprises. For example, when the US Open went, three-quarters of the season was behind us and it was clear who was how good. It must be extremely difficult, especially for Novak Djokovic, who had a fantastic form before and would probably be invincible this year. Now he will have to handle it mentally.

In the past, you also did business, you had your own brand of bars. Do you still have any business plans, do you now live mainly on words?
Like you said, I'm now moderating or commenting, and everything else has gone by. I am very happy with how I got caught up in this world and there is no time for anything else.

The career of a professional athlete does not really desire relationship or privacy in general. What now? Better?
Yes, I live in this direction much better than in the days when I was 100% mentally focused only on tennis.

And do you have someone closest to you by your side?
So I'll keep this to myself. (laughter)

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@ google translate

Author:  chungwit [ 27. September 2020 17:01 ]
Post subject:  Re: News, Articles & Interviews

Hantuchova: Serena comes to Paris in good position for 24th Slam

Daniela Hantuchova weighs in on an intriguing French Open draw that features a plethora of fascinating first rounds, a mix of surging and sentimental favorites, and recalls some of her favorite matches and memories from her fortnights of playing in Paris.

By Daniela Hantuchova

I just arrived in Paris and am on my way to Roland Garros for what promises to be an unforgettable fortnight to close out the 2020 Grand Slam season.

Roland Garros is a reflection of how the French do things. Everything has an extra touch of class and style. Comparing it to the other three major tournaments, Paris is by far the most chic and cool. The city is full of fashionable people, and the dinners are like none other. Whenever I pack my bags for this tournament, I always bring the most A-List, glamorous outfits from my wardrobe!

This tournament was good to me as a player. There’s such nice atmosphere, especially around the outer courts during the first week, when matches are happening all over. When I made the fourth round for the first time in 2002, I played Monica Seles, who was my childhood hero. The fans were always kind and respectful, even when I played against French girls like Nathalie Dechy, who I ended up beating in a 10-8 final set back in 2006.

The match I played against Caroline Wozniacki here in 2011 really stands out for me. It was one of the best matches I ever played and she was the No.1 seed at the time. I also won the mixed doubles in 2005 with Fabrice Santoro, who I’m working with again, this time in the commentary booth. I remember taking out the top seeds together on Court No.2. We had unreal crowd support; we could hardly hear one another between points! After we beat Martina Navratilova and Leander Paes in the finals, we celebrated with French fries in the player’s lounge.

I loved treating myself with a sweet after a win, and few cities have better sweets than Paris. Whether it was a Nutella crêpe, or some truffles, I think I remember those moments more than the wins themselves! My team would take walks around Saint-Germain after dinner, and so I have many beautiful memories of the city.

This year marks the debut of a new roof over Court Phillipe-Chatrier. It looks amazing, and it will be interesting to take in the sounds and the visual of how matches will look when it’s closed.

You never know what you’re going to get when it comes to the weather. It’s been so beautiful in Europe until yesterday when things got quite cold. That can still change, but it’s actually nice to be in Paris at the end of September. Autumn is just starting, and so it’s different in that way, but Paris is Paris and Roland Garros is Roland Garros. I’m sure it’ll be as beautiful as any other time during the year.

Where the US Open had no fans on the ground, a small few will be in attendance during matches, and I think that will help players feel more like they’re competing in a tournament. I believe Petra Kvitova mentioned in New York how she would have to remind herself that she wasn’t playing a practice match!

Another thing I noticed at the US Open was that, because we were far from the game for so long, all of the players are fighting that much more for every single point. This season has been shorter than usual, and you just never know where the next opportunity will come.

Sometimes as a player, it can be easy to console yourself by thinking that there’s another tournament coming next week, but now there’s no such guarantee. I think that’s why we saw so many comeback matches in New York, and I predict that will be the case in Paris, as well.

Who will win in the end? To me, Simona Halep is the clear favorite, with Victoria Azarenka perhaps a close second. Simona looks to be a level above everyone else, and has been playing incredible tennis in the last couple of weeks. She’s a former champion and is on a 14-match winning streak, which undoubtedly helps her confidence.

She played exceptionally well in Rome, especially during match with Garbiñe Muguruza. She’s really worked hard to get the balance right of being defensive but also being aggressive when she needs to be.

Halep is in the same half of the draw as Azarenka, and what impresses me most about Azarenka is the transition she’s been able to make as a person. She has a new attitude on the court, and there’s no way a change like that was easy to make. She’s a great example to younger players of just how far things like meditation working on yourself can take you. In her press conferences, she’s talked about how the work means more to her than results, because the latter is merely a consequence of the former. It’s a great story, and she has all of my respect after seeing her do so well on the court.

She could play Serena Williams in the fourth round. I might slightly favor Vika to win the rematch of their US Open semifinal, but I believe Serena is in a good position all the same. She obviously has a huge chance to win any major tournament she enters, and people aren’t talking about her as much as they were in New York. She may feel less pressure coming to Paris somewhat under the radar – as under the radar as Serena can be, anyway! She had the chance to prepare at the Mouratoglou Academy and has spent a lot of time in Paris.

This fortnight might be a rare opportunity for her to relax and enjoy playing the game. With that mindset, she’s unstoppable.

Elina Svitolina is probably one of the best clay court players currently on tour. She just won Strasbourg this weekend and is surely that much more comfortable in Paris because of all of the time she’s spent with her boyfriend, Gaël Monfils. It must be like a home tournament for her, in that way. I believed the lockdown would ultimately favor the most hard-working players, and it’s clear that it benefitted her. In times like that, you need that discipline and work ethic, and she’s a player who has both. I wouldn’t write her off.

exciting match-ups right from the start.

I’m really looking forward to watching the match between Svetlana Kuznetsova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. It’s a match-up between two girls from my generation, give or take a few years. We all go way back and it’s so great to see Sveta, especially, still playing so well. It’s one of those matches where you could see the winner turning the result into a deep run, because they’re both such quality players. I’ve played both a couple of times so I know how hard it is to beat them!

Coco Gauff and Johanna Konta will be another exciting first round encounter, as well as Maria Sakkari against Ajla Tomljanovic. Kristina Mladenovic takes on Laura Siegemund; that will be an interesting contrast in styles, and a rematch of their thrilling final at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart a few years ago. I would predict the most intriguing of all is Anett Kontaveit and Caroline Garcia, who are scheduled to face off on Sunday.

Over the years, the game has changed to where the seeded players tend to have their toughest matches in the first few rounds. Everyone is still looking for rhythm, just trying to find their way into the tournament. This is when the unseeded players are at their most dangerous. Once you get into the second week, the advantage returns to the seeds and they become favorites again.

Having said that, in today’s world and how the season’s been so far, it’s really hard to talk about any favorites. The field is wide open and ultimately, anything can happen. I just can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.

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Author:  chungwit [ 2. November 2020 17:10 ]
Post subject:  Re: News, Articles & Interviews

'They've got a great balance in life': Daniela Hantuchova reveals the secret of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic's success lies behind their ability to switch off... and says their Majors battle still has a long way to run
Daniela Hantuchova asked Toni Nadal about what makes his nephew a champion
Uncle Toni referred to the superstar's relentless work ethic and superb focus
Hantuchova says Nadal and Djokovic's glory is helped by an ability to switch off


PUBLISHED: 14:42, 1 November 2020 | UPDATED: 14:46, 1 November 2020

In a recent interview with Toni Nadal for her regular podcast, Daniela Hantuchova asked what makes his nephew a great champion.

Uncle Toni, for so many years Rafael's coach, referred to the relentless work ethic and focus which was applied to whatever the younger Nadal was doing.

'I remember he put always big attention into hitting the ball, and he did the same with golf and football, which he also loved to play. He is very competitive, he loves to win,' explained Toni.

Following his 13th title at Roland Garros last month Nadal unwound by playing golf, at which he has a 0.3 handicap.

His build-up to this week's Paris Masters involved him coming sixth in the Balearic Golf Championship, from a field of sixty which was a mix of both professionals and amateurs.

Hantuchova, the former world number five who now works for Amazon Prime, has known both Nadal and Novak Djokovic, and their families, for a long time.

For her the ability of the two greatest male players to switch off is a key to the longevity of their remarkable success on the court.

'They've got a great balance in life and they know how to take their focus off tennis,' she says. 'That's what makes them so good. But when they come to the court it is all about tennis.

'And when you win so often, it's a feeling that you just want to keep repeating.'

Djokovic has absented himself from the last Masters event of this truncated season in the French capital, but plans to be in London in this month for the last event, the ATP Finals at the 02 Arena, which has survived UK government restrictions.

After contemplating cutting his season, Nadal has opted to play on by first returning to Paris, where only on October 11 he thrashed his greatest current rival to win Roland Garros yet again.

By doing so the Spaniard moved to twenty, level with Roger Federer, and three ahead of Djokovic in the race to see who ends up with the most Major titles.

However Hantuchova, who is close to fellow Slovakian Marian Vajda - the Serb's coach and mentor – believes the pursuit of Major titles still has a long way to run.

'Given Novak's willpower and fitness, he can be around for a very long time,' she says.

'I feel he has so much left in his game. He is so strong physically and mentally I would say at least four or five years. The way the physios do their work and the rehab, the recovery techniques are completely different to what they were 15 years ago so he recovers better. Perhaps it's really about whether it still fulfils him.'

The whole landscape has changed due to Covid, and she believes that the absence of competition has given the large majority of players a new perspective.

'I think it has made them really appreciate what they do for a living and how much of a privilege it is. We saw that when the tour came back, players were hungry and that's why we have seen so many comebacks at places like Roland Garros.

'In normal times you go from one week to another, and maybe you are a set and a break down - it's not like you give up but at the back of your mind you think there's always another week. In this situation everyone is giving everything and that's been refreshing to see.

'I actually wish (when I was playing) I could have had this window and had a chance to do other things in life. With everything that has been going on it's a miracle we actually had tournaments.'

She believes that in Iga Swiatek, the new French Open champion, this strange year has unearthed someone who is going to be a dominant player for years to come.

'Swiatek has got something special, she reminds me a bit of Martina Hingis and Aga Radwanska, the way she moves around the court and reads the game. She has natural power and timing, so she has a lot things going for her, a lot of varieties in her game. I think she will win more Slams.

'Some players come and go but I feel like her game is quite complete and she will be in the same category as someone like Naomi (Osaka).'

Given its over-reliance on China the women's season has pretty much fizzled out, although there is still one more tour event left in Linz, Austria.

The men have three more, in Paris, Sofia and London. The indoor season is not traditionally the happiest hunting ground for Nadal, and Paris can sometimes throw up unlikely winners.

It would not be the greatest surprise if that happens again as this troubled tennis year winds towards its conclusion.

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Author:  chungwit [ 16. November 2020 23:35 ]
Post subject:  Re: News, Articles & Interviews

Rafael Nadal has 'best chance' ever to end ATP Finals hoodoo as Novak Djokovic warned

EXCLUSIVE: Daniela Hantuchova discusses Rafael Nadal's ATP Finals hopes as he looks to win the year-end tournament for the first time in his career, with Novak Djokovic his biggest obstacle to a maiden triumph.
By Charlie Malam
PUBLISHED: 07:00, Mon, Nov 16, 2020 | UPDATED: 11:45, Mon, Nov 16, 2020

Rafael Nadal has his best ever opportunity to end his career ATP Finals hoodoo this year, believes Daniela Hantuchova. There will be no Roger Federer at the 2020 Finals while Nadal thrashed Novak Djokovic in the French Open final having suffered disappointment at the US Open.
The Serbian is seen as Nadal's biggest threat to the title in London but suffered the joint-worst defeat of his career against Lorenzo Sonego, losing 6-2, 6-1 at the Vienna Open last month.

While Nadal, who has struggled to recreate his success on other surfaces on hard indoor courts, enjoyed a positive Paris Masters despite losing to Alexander Zverev at the Paris Masters.

This is the 16th successive year he has qualified for the Finals but he has never won the trophy and has only twice been a runner-up, in 2010 and 2013.

And former world No 5 Hantuchova believes Nadal has a golden chance to win the tournament for the first time ever with Djokovic warned that the Spaniard, who faces Andrey Rublev this evening in his first round-robin match, is looking "dangerous".

"I think if there was a time for him to have the best chance to win, it's now," Amazon Prime analyst Hantuchova told Express Sport.
2020 ATP Finals groups

"He's fresher, I think we saw that in Paris-Bercy that he was moving around the court incredibly well, I would say almost better than in Paris!

"We know how well he can slide on the clay but he was very impressive. Normally at this time of the year he gets a little bit more tired than the others because the way he plays is very physical and this time around he doesn't have this problem.

"That's what is going to make him so dangerous this time around. Just having that consistency and playing so many times in the ATP Finals, I think if there was a chance for him, it would be now.

"If he feels more pressure? I can't speak for him, only he knows that.

"I guess it's a good point for him to prove he can win titles indoors as well, where he hasn't really had that record compared to all the incredible ones he's got everywhere else.

"I felt like he wanted that Bercy title as well big time but the spin just doesn't bounce and doesn't take off the court the way it does on the clay or the hard courts outside."

Asked who will be feeling more pressure to win this year given Nadal's lack of success at the Finals and Djokovic's recent disappointments, Hantuchova added: "It's so personal that I think only Novak and Rafa know that, we'd have to ask them.

"They're such incredible competitors that no matter they feel pressure or not, they know how to go about it and come out with their best tennis when it really counts.

"That's why they're such incredible champions so I can't really speak for them as far as whether they feel more pressure or not."

"I think just because of everything that's been happening in the world this year, I think there is more joy than pressure among the players.

"I think they appreciate that they have the opportunity to compete and that has translated to much more joy on the court and that's why we're seeing so many incredible matches, nobody is mentally checking out, they're giving 150 per cent out there because they appreciate the opportunity that we actually have some live tennis and it's really cool to see that."

Hantuchova has been one of very few allowed inside the bubble of major ATP tournaments since the sport returned amid the pandemic and will be at the Finals on behalf of Amazon Prime.

And she added: "It's been a real privilege for me, I was there for Roland Garros, now here in London for the ATP Finals."

"Even doing a lot of stuff from our Amazon studio in London, it's still special, just the fact to have live tennis in these days is incredible.

"I just spoke to Guy Forget, the tournament director of Paris-Bercy and Roland Garros, on my podcast and he said the same thing.

"Even if we're not playing anymore, we still get the same adrenaline from being part of the tournament, whether it's organising part as his or me in the media, you just appreciate how special the sport is.

"I felt when I retired I was never going to go away from something that I love so much because it's really in my DNA."

Former Tennis Professional and current Sports Broadcaster and Social Influencer Daniela Hantuchova interviews highly successful guests from the world of sports, entertainment, and culture on her podcast The Real DNA. Daniela pursues the common thread or the DNA of what breeds success at the highest levels. You can listen here.

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Author:  chungwit [ 17. November 2020 23:34 ]
Post subject:  Re: News, Articles & Interviews

EXCLUSIVE – Daniela Hantuchová believes tennis leads the way in one key area

Kevin Palmer
November 17, 2020

Former world No 5 Daniela Hantuchová believes tennis has led the way in ensuring equality is at the top of the agenda, as she sat down for an exclusive interview with Tennis365.

The Amazon Prime Video Sport analyst has made a smoother transition from a highly successful career on the court to the TV commentary booth and in part one of our interview, she expresses her belief that tennis is more open to female pundits than any other sport.

Female pundits have often been questioned when working in football, but Daniela told us those snipes would never be seen in tennis:

How have you enjoyed the transition from your tennis career to working in TV?
I’m so lucky to have had the chance to work in this job. It is a blessing to be allowed to see so many matches and it is amazing how this has worked for me. After I played my last match, I walked straight into a TV studio and started my career in this new role at Wimbledon. It was the most smooth transition possible and to talk about something I have done all my life, this is something I have enjoyed since the first day.

Female TV analysts in men’s football have been criticised at times, but that does not appear to be an issue in tennis. How do you feel about that?
We have incredible equality in tennis and that is why I am so proud to be part of this sport. Everything that the WTA has done for us in the past is the reason why I am able to do what I’m doing today. We have great equality and that is such a special thing to have. All players really appreciate it so much.

So can other sports learn from tennis on this issue?
For sure. We are the leading women’s sport and there is so much everything can learn from the way we have done things in tennis. Even though this is an individual sport, we are a community that looks out for each other and there are not many sports where men and women all play in the same tournament.

What is it like to work for Amazon?
It has been an amazing experience. They have such an amazing team to work with and I said when I finished my playing career that I never wanted to walk away from the sport I love.

Was it hard to come to terms with your retirement from tennis in 2017?
It is so important to any athlete to have different options to turn to when their career ends. I say this to any sports person I speak to. When you have done something all your live, since you were four or five years old, it is not easy to wake up one day and suddenly all that has gone. You don’t want to finish playing and then have no idea what to do next. One of the reasons I decided to stop playing is I wanted to do something different, to be challenged in a different way. You need to be open minded, to be humble and to be ready to try something different at times. Thankfully, I love TV and this has worked out well.

Amazon Prime members in the UK and Ireland will have exclusive access to live tennis coverage from the Nitto ATP Finals 2020, from Sunday 15th to Sunday 22nd November.

To see links you must be a member of our community! Please register for free!

Author:  chungwit [ 19. November 2020 11:58 ]
Post subject:  Re: News, Articles & Interviews

EXCLUSIVE – Daniela Hantuchová on why tennis has shocked her in 2020 and who will win the ATP Finals

Kevin Palmer
November 18, 2020

In part two of our exclusive interview with former world No 5 Daniela Hantuchová, we look at this week’s ATP Finals and reflect on a tennis year like no other.

Have you been surprised by the quality of tennis we have seen in 2020, with Covid restrictions changing so much in the sport in recent months?
In many ways, I feel the changed environment has inspired the players. They were so grateful to have the opportunity to play that it has transferred into them showing great joy on the court.
That is why we are seeing so many incredible matches. The players are putting so much into getting out there that when we see them on court, they have even more motivation to give their all.

Are you surprised by how much tennis we have managed to get on in the second half of this year?
For sure. I didn’t expect we would get as much tennis as we have seen in 2020. When everything shut down in March, it looked like we might not see too much tennis for the rest of the year, but the ATP and the WTA deserve so much credit for getting some events on and we have managed to get to the end of the year with an ATP Finals.

Not many of us are able to watch live tennis right now, so how does it feel to be at the 02 Arena this week with Amazon Prime?
It is a privilege to have any kind of live sport at this moment in our lives, so we are all grateful to be allowed to be at the 02 Arena watching the tennis this week. Obviously, it is a big shame that we don’t have a crowd at this event as it is always one of the best events of the year when we get big crowds in London, but we have the best players and we have to be grateful for that.

Will we have a greater appreciation for live sport when we come out of this Covid-19 crisis?
I think so. I felt like this at Ronald Garros. I was just so happy to be there, seeing live sport. We all felt lucky to be a part of that event and hopefully in 2021, things can get better. Hopefully, we can have Wimbledon next year, hopefully we find a way to get the Australian Open played. It is tough but these vaccines may be the way out for all of us.

Who is your favourite to win the ATP Finals this week?
Novak Djokovic has a little bit of an edge this week, but he is only a slight favourite with all the top eight players all here and ready to go. Rafa Nadal beat Novak last time, but that was on clay outdoors so I don’t think that will impact the match if he plays Djokovic in the ATP Finals, but you can see that Rafa is super hungry to get this title he is missing from his collection. Then you have (Daniil) Medvedev and Dominic Thiem, so we should have a great week of tennis.

Amazon Prime members in the UK and Ireland will have exclusive access to live tennis coverage from the Nitto ATP Finals 2020, from Sunday 15th to Sunday 22nd November.

To see links you must be a member of our community! Please register for free!

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