Through the corridors of the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club, she was seen walking quietly and timidly. Almost stealthily. Under her signature visor, cell phone in one hand and hydration bottle in the other, she enjoyed her second experience at a WTA tournament. His peculiar name attracted attention within the main draw of the Argentina Open. Always accompanied by her father, she took the opportunity to get to know the city and adapt to the demands of the circuit. He won in his debut match and, although he could not advance to the round, he is grateful, focused and continues with his work.
Victoria Jiménez Kasintseva received an invitation to participate in the women’s tennis event in our country. Thus, she added her second WTA tournament and her first victory on the circuit, defeating the Mexican Ana Sofía Sánchez in her debut. But why is your invitation to the Buenos Aires tournament striking? Because the 16-year-old player is the number 1 junior tennis player in the ranking. Born in Andorra in 2005, she became champion of the 2020 Junior Australian Open and caused a revolution. Fierce, strong and determined, she learned to remove external pressure and seeks to improve and enjoy her journey.
“A few years went by and I still think it’s impressive. At my age and my Grand Slams debut. It is a moment that will be there for a lifetime. I won a major, not everyone does it, there are very few, and I am very proud of myself. Time passed very quickly and I still feel that it was yesterday, but it is something that marked my life and my joy still lasts ”, he describes smiling to LA NACION.
At the moment of speaking it is totally spontaneous. He laughs, corrects himself, and takes time to think about his answers. This teenager who had to grow up quickly was sorry that her tennis growth has been so dizzying. But her love for the sport led her not to fall, to set her goals and continue. Of course, she does not have the lifestyle of her friends in Andorra, nor does she share routines with those she had in the United States, where she lived for four years.
Today he travels the world following the circuit, trusts his father and seeks refuge in his Russian mother, from whom he inherited his surname. He says he loves languages and it is no wonder, because he is a polyglot: he speaks Catalan, French, Russian, Spanish and English. A negative point? He acknowledges that he hates math.
“It’s true that since I won Australia, the pressure on me has grown a lot. Also, the quarantine began, I had to retrain after three months and I did not feel completely well physically. It was a rough six months. And to that was added that I had the press on top of me asking me if I was going to win another Grand Slam title, when would my next consecration be, I don’t know what, and I was 15 years old, still very young. But hey, now I’m through. I know what pressure means and now I don’t care; I learned to live with this, ”says the Andorran, who has her father – a former tennis player – as a coach.
-What is it like having your father, Joan Jiménez Guerra, as part of your work team?
-He was always my coach. The relationship is complicated, it is not very easy. If people were with us every day they would freak out (laughs), but we get along very well. In the end he is my father, I admire him and I love him very much, and I know that without him I would be nobody, because it is a team effort. He was involved in my life and poured his effort into me. In addition, he knows a lot about tennis and I have been very lucky to have him by my side, because I know that without him very close I would not have achieved anything.
Jiménez Guerra was 505th in the world in 1999 and is part of the Tennis Academy Barcelona, where he trains students. “I think leaving tennis so young was a mistake and he realized what he did. For this reason, he does not want it to happen to me again and he is so excited about my career that it is like a second life for him ”, adds who played his first WTA tournament at the Madrid Open in May of this year.
Victoria’s performance on the ITF circuit is striking. At the age of 12 he won his first tournament, Future Tennis Aces. That same year, 2018, she concluded it with a record of 4 wins and 2 losses, figures that increased to 54-10 in 2019. She came to the Australian Open as the ninth seeded and in the final she beat the Polish Weronika Baszak 5-7 , 6-2, 6-2.
Having won the junior major title gave him the chance to return the following year to play the senior qualification. “I earned the opportunity to be in qualifying this season and it was incredible. Going from the juniors to having the option of entering the main draw with the professionals was wonderful ”, he remembers his time in Melbourne. However, it did not have the result he expected, but that experience served to enhance his desires and aim for more.
“I want to keep improving and keep moving forward. I would like to, although I know that it is difficult for me because I only have 3 WTA tournaments left until the end of the year and I must qualify for the Australian qualification again. That is the first goal, and if not, in 2022 I have in mind to play a qualification of another Grand Slam ”, assures Jiménez Kasintseva, 393rd in the WTA ranking.
-Do you feel much difference in the game or because of the age difference when playing on the WTA circuit?
-I don’t really feel it. I notice it less and less, because I am also gaining experience. In the end, what makes the difference is the accumulated experience and managing the moments. I am making my way and little by little I am getting used to this new world.
-What changed in your preparation or in your game, to adapt to the new demands?
-My game never changed, it is always the same. What did change was my mentality. I got stronger physically, the physical part varied a lot, I worked on the shifts and improved my technique. But what I changed the most was my attitude, not to push myself so much, to be more my friend on and off the pitch. In addition, I learned to support myself more in my team, in my father and that was my big change. I learned to ask for help.
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Victoria Jiménez Kasintseva: the No. 1 junior who played at the Argentina Open and dreams big