Incredible successes stun teenager with a bright future

Alina Korneeva

Alina Korneeva enjoyed an incredible campaign on the junior circuit that included a phenomenal Australian Open Girls final against fellow teen sensation Mirra Andreeva.

She also won the Roland Garros girls’ title, becoming her the first player since Belinda Bencic and Ana Konjuh in 2013 to win two junior Slams in the same year.

After winning the ITF Junior Masters in Chengdu two months ago, she will conclude the year as the junior No 1.

“Actually, I didn’t have these goals at all. I’m really happy that I didn’t plan this, I just did it,” Korneeva told the WTA.

“Honestly, I just had the goal of trying the junior Grand Slams, to feel this atmosphere and see this level of tennis. I wanted to see the level of my mental game and my tennis game and my ranking.

“I did a lot of practices on my muscles and in my head to be ready. I talked with a psychologist a lot and tried to be the same in practice as I am in matches.”

Korneeva has played tennis since she was a small child and joined the famous Spartak sports club in Moscow at just six years old.

However, she says she only really fell in love with the sport later.

“When I was 6 years old, I came to Spartak in Moscow and there was a selection for different groups with different coaches,” Korneeva added.

“Every coach said about me, ‘I don’t need this girl!’ But one coach, Julia Bekeshchenko, said, ‘This girl, I will take her.’

“Since that time we’ve worked together. I don’t think I fell in love with tennis until I was 10 years old, because I then started to understand the game and watch a lot of tournaments. I started to really enjoy watching the tournaments — and then I started to enjoy playing the game and competing.”

Korneeva says that she has a real passion for the nitty-gritty of the game and loves to work hard on the court to get a win.

“Tennis is like a relationship between a woman and a man,” Korneeva said.

“When you are in love, you love all the good things and bad things. In tennis the same.

“So I love when I play matches for three hours, and it’s so hot. I really love the daily routine when I practice for hours and then do fitness afterwards. I love when everybody supports me, but at the same time, I love to play in an opponent’s country when everybody is against me. The most important is that I love to work a lot and finally, that I get results.”

She still works with her childhood coach even though she is now based at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca.

“Julia Bekeshchenko is still my coach in Moscow, as well as Andrei Savin,” Korneeva continued.

“Here at the Rafa Nadal Academy, I’ve started working with Anabel Medina Garrigues. I won’t say specifically what we work on, but in general at the academy together with Anabel, we’re working on making me play more aggressive and to attack the ball a lot.”

She made her WTA debut in Hong Kong and will be one to watch in coming seasons.

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