November 27, 2015

Catching Up with Vania King

Vania King gives towels to children

(September 1,  2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY –  WTA player Vania King is back on tour after being absent for about almost a year. Playing under a protected ranking, we caught up with the Californian who is currently ranked at 414 in the world after her first round US Open loss to Roberta Vinci 6-4, 6-4, on Monday.

Tennis Panorama News: A tough match on the road back. You are under a protected ranking, am I correct?

Vania King: So I played three tournaments prior to this and yes I was out for almost a year. I didn’t touch a racquet for seven months. I had a herniated disc in my neck. I started having pain in May of last year. By US Open I had decided that I had needed some time to take off. I took off seven months, it got much better, so I was very happy with that. Started practicing and I really wanted to make the US Open. I felt that my tennis was good and I needed matches. Today I felt like it was a good match for me. I really see I need to get stronger. I was out for seven months and only practiced for three months. The first two I was so weak that I really couldn’t do what I wanted to do. Now I really can’t do what I really want to do in terms of fitness –wise, court-wise, because my body is not strong enough to do it. So slowly my goal is next year. I feel that my tennis is there.

I was up a break in both sets, I just need to get stronger.

TPN: Have you set your goal for next US Open in terms of your fitness?

VK: I haven’t set a specific date, but I really hope that I can be back next year, with or without any injury. Being strong and healthy. One year, I was gone for a year so I lost all of my rankings (points).

One year to get back into the the 100 may be a tough task for me but, I’m going to take it a step at a time and I feel that my tennis is good, so I’m happy about that. It just depends on how long this body takes to get strong again.


TPN: What keeps you motivated to keep playing? You are only 26, but it seems like you have been around for a long time.

VK: Tennis has changed a lot. When I came on tour it was fairly common for players to come up at 14, 15, 16… I was late actually at 16, 17 – that was late. But after me, no player that broke through was a teenager, very, very few players, but Americans overall.

It’s very hard for players to break through, the game has gotten very physical and players are mentally and physically very tough, so it’s hard to break through you have to be consistent physically and mentally throughout the year.

I needed to stop for my physical health, but it was also very benfeficial for me to stop mentally, because I have never had a break.

As to your question, to stay motivated, to recognize that players, we do get burned out during the year because we do play a long season. If we play too many tournaments in a row, then we get burned out. With experience every play figures out what they can handle mentally. So for me it took me a few years to figure out how many tournaments can I play in a row. Which areas geiographically do I feel better in, in that way I adjust my schedule. And if I’m feeling bad, what do I do, should I push through it, should I take a break, go on holidays…

With experience, I learned to recognize the signs and for me it was always better to take a step back and not to push through it, take a few days off, take a week off… and then come back.


TPN: Are you playing doubles at all?

VK: I’m playing here with a protected rank, so I’m playing maybe Wednesday or Thursday.


TPN: What’s been the highlight of your tennis career?

VK: Winning my first title in Bangkok. Winning the grand slams. Results-wise those are the best, but I think that if I could be happy consistently then I could I could be pleased. That was my goal to be happy for a long period of time. Recognizing metal dips and stuff and trying to maintain that.


TPN: Tennis idols growing up?

VK: When I grew up I loved Pete Sampras, I played nothing like him because I’m tiny. Don’t have a big serve but I loved watching Pete. Watched all of his matches, tape them and watch them. I loved watching the rivalry between him and (Andre) Agassi, but I always rooted for him.


TPN: What do you think of when I say the name Serena Williams?

VK: I want her to win the Grand Slam. I think she can do it. I think she needs to stay focused. I think most of the tennis tour would be excited if she won it because it’s milestone for our generation. Of course Steffi (Graf) has done wonders for tennis, but we haven’t had someone from our generation to surpass the world records. She has won four in a row. Technically not the Grand Slam. I think she’s a great champion. I am so envious, I admire her so much for how strong she is mentally. Everyone’s got great tennis, of course she’s got great tennis but she is mentally the most stable and strong and that’s why she’s where she is.

TPN: Are you playing any tournaments the rest of the year?

VK: My plan is to play challengers because now I don’t have a ranking. I’ll play challengers get stronger and then use my protected rank. I’ve got a couple more protected ranking tournaments I’ll use them for next year.


Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News at the US Open.


Serena Williams Demolishes Vania King in US Open Second Round

Serena Williams

(August 28, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS – Serena Williams, getting over a poor serving start, demolished fellow American Vania King 6-1, 6-0 in the second round of US Open on Thursday. The win gives two-time defending US open champion Williams a 16-match win streak at the final major of the year.

“I’ve been working really hard,” Williams said. “The results just hadn’t been coming in the slams. I started to get some really good results this summer, and that’s given me a lot of confidence going into this last Grand Slam of the year.”
“She never let me in,” said King to media. “She’s played at such a high level for so long, and I used to watch when I was a kid, growing up. So it’s kind of surreal to see the person that you’ve been watching on TV in front of you and playing. It was difficult.”

Williams is just a major title away from equaling Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert at 18.

“I’ve had three tries to get to 18, and it hasn’t happened, so…,” the 32-year-old Williams explained. “We’ll see, you know. Hopefully I’ll get there one day. I’m kind of stuck right now at 17, which to be honest is not a bad number to be stuck at. It’s better than 16. I honestly am really proud of everything I’ve been able to accomplish in my career. I can’t really be upset about anything.”
Williams finished her day with a doubles win with her sister Venus to win their first round match.


Zhang Shuai Wins First WTA Title with Victory at Guangzhou Open


(September 21, 2013) China’s Zhang Shuai captured her first career WTA singles title by US qualifier Vania King 7-6 (1), 6-1 in the final of  the Guangzhou Open. Zhang is the first Chinese player to win the title since Zi Yan won in 2005.

Zhang who came into the event as a wildcard, made her way through the tournament without dropping a set.

Zhang and King are both expected to move into the Top 100 on the new rankings on Monday.


Americans in Paris – Day Two at Roland Garros


Sloane Stephens

(May 27, 2013). Americans went 8-4 in Paris on the day 2 of the French Open. Here is a look at how they all fared:

First round: Sloane Stephens (17) (USA) def. Karin Knapp (ITA) 6-2, 7-5

In a bit of a slump since reaching the semifinals of the Australian Open and the recent coverage of her controversial comments during an ESPN magazine interview, Stephens said that she was positive about her win.

“Obviously really excited to be back here.  Had a great year last year, and this was one of my favorite tournaments.  So it’s good to be back and playing a lot better than a couple weeks ago.

Just excited to be back on the court and playing well again.

Stephens commented  on the media attention since her ESPN interview after aftermath off-court:

“Yeah, I mean, it’s been okay for me.  Obviously I haven’t had that many good results leading up to the clay season, so to get some match in on my favorite surface and get some confidence back and kind of just start feeling ball better.

“It wasn’t that my mind wasn’t on the court.  I just needed to find a balance, and obviously that’s tough.

“I’m only 20 years old, so I have a lot to learn and a long ways to go.  Just finding the right balance is what we’re doing.

“It’s been fine for me.  My really good friend came and my mom is here.  I’m just having a good time.  It’s been fun.

“I mean, obviously attention is attention.  It comes, it goes.  When you’re winning they love it; when you’re losing they love it.  It’s all the same really.”


First round: John Isner (19) (USA) def. Carlos Berlocq (ARG) 6-3, 6-4, 6-4


First round: Varvara Lepchenko (29)(USA) def. Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (CRO) 6-1, 6-2


First round: Martin Klizan def. Michael Russell (USA) 3-6 6-3 6-1 Ret. Left hamstring injury


First round: Madison Keys (USA) def. Misaki Doi (JPN) 6-3, 6-2

At 18, Keys is the youngest of the American women in the main draw. She is No. 58 in the world.


First round: Jana Cepelova (SVK) def. Christina McHale (USA) 7-6(3) 2-6 6-4

McHale who was struck with glandular fever last year is ranked 53rd in the world.


First round: Albert Montanes(ESP)  def. Steve Johnson (USA) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1

The former NCAA champion Johnson extended the recent Nice Open titlist to five sets.


First round: Ryan Harrison (USA) def. Andrey Kuznetsov (RUS) 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(4)

Harrison will play fellow American and Davis Cup teammate John Isner in the second round.


First round: Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) def. Lourdes Dominguez Lino (ESP) 6-4, 6-1

With 15 women in the main draw of the French Open at the beginning of the tournament, Mattek is proud of so many U. S. women moving up in the rankings. “It’s a great group of girls coming up. They’re talented. They’re all pretty fun to be around. They got good personalities.”

She commented that just a few years ago, people kept asking her about the state of U.S. women’s tennis.


First round: Vania King (USA) def. Alexandra Cadantu (ROU) 7-6(3), 6-1

King made it through to the main draw by going through the qualifying tournament.


First round: Michal Przysiezny (POL) def. (LL) Rhyne Williams (USA) 6-3, 6-7, 7-5, 7-5

Williams who came into the tournament as a lucky loser, lost to the same person who defeated him in the final round of the Qualifying tournament.


First round: Melanie Oudin (USA) def. Tamira Paszek (28) (AUT) 6-4, 6-3

Almost four years ago Oudin made it to the quarterfinals of the U. S. Open as 17-year-old. She spoke about pressure on her then as an American player.

“I definitely put a lot of pressure on myself after everything, “she said to media. “It’s a totally different story now. There’s so many Americans now coming up, and so many in the top 100. It is nice to not have it all on me….I mean, it really was all on me at that time. Like, besides the Williams sisters, everyone was like, `Oh, who’s going to be the next upcoming American?’ And it’s like, `OK, it’s going to be Melanie, because you got to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open.’ It was a lot. And I was young.”


On the Green Carpet – Photos from the BNP Paribas Open Players’ Party


INDIAN WELLS, California (March 8, 2012) – The BNP Paribas Open held their players’ party at the IW club on Thursday night. Driving up to the “Green Carpet” in classic cars included the likes of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Victoria Azarenka, Petra Kvitova, Andy Murray, Ana Ivanovic, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, John Isner, Agnieszka Radwanska, Jelena Jankovic, David Ferrer, Feliciano Lopez and a host of others.

Photos by Curt Janka and Jennifer Knapp.  Follow Tennis Panorama News’ BNP Paribas Open coverage here an on our twitter @TennisNewsTPN.


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