By Barbara Galiza
(February 27, 2013) FLORIANOPOLIS, Brazil – Ten months ago, Annika Beck was lifting the junior version of the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen, having just won the girls’ singles’ Roland Garros title. Now, at 19, after a fast adaptation to the professional tour, the German is already ranked 66th in the world: the fifth youngest player inside the top 100.
“Sometimes it was difficult for me to understand why it was going so fast. I didn’t recognize (what was happening) and, at times, thought it was all too big for me”, said Beck. “ Last year I played a lot on the ITF circuit. It’s why I’m working on the mental aspect with my coach. I’m still accepting that, with my ranking, I am now a player on the WTA tour.”
Beck took part in the brand new WTA Florianópolis this week, as one of the favourites for the title. She was the 8th seed but was upset by Jana Cepelova, still in the second round, in a match with 13 breaks of serve. Instead of being frustrated by the early loss, the German displayed her full potential by showing maturity. As a 19-year-old just starting on the tour, she stated that her current focus should be on learning and improving, not necessarily winning:
“It’s tougher to play (in the WTA) and you have to take your experience, and learn, from every match. If you stay calm, accept you can lose matches, you can take advantage of that. Next week you’ve got another chance.”
Because of her young age and height, 5’7”, Beck is lovingly called “die kleine” (the kid, in German) by her country’s players. Being considered small for today’s tennis, the 19 year-old understands she can’t have a game based solely on consistency to succeed on tour nowadays.
“I want to change my game to have more weapons to choose from. Tall ones have got a big advantage for serve and groundstrokes. But I’m not the tallest one so I have got to find solutions to beat, someday, a Sharapova or a Williams”, she analysed. “I need to attack more, to go to the net, to mix it up a bit to win those matches. I was always successful with my game in juniors, but now I lose more. I have to get out of my comfort zone”.
Beck represented Germany in Fed Cup for the first time in her career this year, taking part in an away tie against France. She had the opportunity to play alongside her country’s top players, such as Julia Goerges (27th in the rankings) and Sabine Lisicki (37th).
“They’ve won so many tournaments and they help showing you the way to the top. Playing in Fed Cup was a great time for me, it lets me get used to that high level. I ask them many questions about WTA rules and tournaments I don’t know. I hope I can play again (in the next tie against Serbia) in Stuttgart.”
Barbara Galiza is a journalist from Rio de Janeiro and is covering the WTA tennis tournament in Florianópolis, Brazil as media in for Tennis Panorama. She likes tennis and writing. Sometimes she blogs, most of the time she tweets. – @fiercetennis. Follow her updates on @TennisNewsTPN.