Interview of the day - Iva Majoli 1997 French Open winner

12 September 2014

Majoli was born in Zagreb, At age 19, Majoli won the 1997 French Open singles title, defeating Martina Hingis in straight sets 6-4, 6-2. Most had expected Hingis, 16 years old, to win the title. Majoli, however, played aggressively from the baseline and ended Hingis's 37-match winning streak and handed Hingis her first sound defeat in a final of a grand slam.  

Majoli played her best tennis as a teenager, reaching her career high ranking of World No. 4 in 1996. After a quarterfinal appearance at the 1998 French Open,   In the final years of her tennis career, Majoli suffered from a series of injuries – most notably a shoulder injury – and struggled to play consistently. In 2002, Majoli again became  World No. 30,    On June 12, 2004, Majoli announced her retirement from the game. She got back to the game she loved in  2012, as the non-playing captain of the Croatian Fed Cup team      

  Sunder Iyer of the Tashkent Media Team spoke to Iva Majoli at the Tashkent Open 2014 , where she accompanied up and coming star Donna Vekic as her coach

How does it feel back to be on the tour  ?  

Iva : It's great to be back on the tour travelling as a coach with Donna  . I've  now started  playing active tennis and also part of the legends tours . Ialso have been the  coach of the Croatian  Fed Cup and guiding young tennis players from Croatia.  I surely like involved with tennis as I love tennis  it has given me so much . I want to share my experience with the younger players .

Life without tennis ?

Iva : Life without tennis was a nice experience  , spending time with family giving birth to  a  daughter , getting  attention  , attending  and taking part in Celebrity show was enjoyable.  However Staying at one place for a long time however became boring , I started missing the tour , the courts  and the game of tennis and decided to be back.

Changes you are seeing in today's tennis ?

Iva :  Tennis is truly becoming world sport , in our times it was dominated by Europe , USA , there were not many Asian players , only a few Japanese players and absolutely no Chinese players  , but I realize  tennis is moving big time  into Asia   so many players are coming from China and other Asian countries  .

Also another thing I observe is that there are very few big  names in women tennis one can remember today except for say Serena or Sharapova   . In our generation we had some many stars like Steffi Graf , Martina Hingis , Chris Evert , Martina Navratilova , Mary Pierce , Jennifer Capriati all playing at one time , Everyone had different styles , more variety of play  and large fan following .



Today tennis is about sheer power. There are a lots of ups and downs in rankings all the time. the 50-150 is the strongest today so every event is becoming stronger. I  also notice that players contingents are getting bigger with lot of staff , we never had it in our times , but I have to agree that times are changing

Tennis has become a power game , but looking at the  built of  girls I realize  now it's not important to have a big built  to hit the ball hard , it is about good anticipation , coordination and using strength at the right time  apart from having good footwork. Girls need to physically fitter than being big.

My generation had champions at age of 15-16  but they also finished their tennis careers early too, I'm happy that the age and careers  of tennis players on professional level is going up. There are many older players on the tour now and lasting longer also.

About your ward Donna Vekic ?

Iva : I have been with her for the last two months and will be with her till the end of the year. I see a lot in common  between me and  Donna, I feel her pains of  a teenager  who has tasted early success in her life. I know her since she has been a kid and travelled with her early  as a team. I want to try to be her friend with whom she can share all  , and someone she can trust. I also hope that she will be able to take the best and most from me and also bring it to the court.

About your daughter following your footsteps ?

Iva : My daughter Mia is 8 years old and plays some good tennis , she has decided to become a player and she will be joining  Nick Bolleteri academy . I was not the happiest mom when she told me about her decision to become professional player, because i have gone through the pains and emotions of being a tennis player. But I also realize that tennis gives you many opportunities to meet people, personalities , visit many countries and make many friends

What are the  hobbies you follow ?

Iva : I'm a huge fan of figure skating , I love the dresses , the poise and grace . If I would not have played tennis I would surely have done ice skating.

Your thoughts on  the Tashkent Open ?

Iva :  I'm very impressed with the tournament , it is run professionally and it has been pleasure to be here . It is the first time that I have come to Uzbekistan and really happy that the tournament is gaining ground with every passing year.