Knowledgeable crowd gets the players’ backing

Agnieszka Radwanska
Agnieszka Radwanska

What are your memories of your first trip to Eastbourne in 2007? Had you had much experience on grass courts at that stage?

“I remember playing Justine Henin that year which was a great experience to play such a champion. I had watched her as a kid growing up so it was awesome to be able to share the court with her.

“Yes I had quite a lot of experience on grass before, winning junior Wimbledon. There are no grass courts in Poland to practise on but I guess playing on the surface just came naturally to me.”

What is the most memorable match you’ve played at Devonshire Park?

“It would have to be the three- hour match against Nadia Petrova in the 2008 final. The match was really close and I won it 6-4 in the third.”

How different were you as a player back in 2008 compared to now?

“Wow, to think that was six years ago is crazy! I don’t know... I’ve grown up a lot as a player and a person, but my style of play and strategy – especially on grass – hasn’t changed too much. I’m a more experienced match player which helps in tight situations. But in general I’m not one of these players who has changed their style too much or too often.”

Does your track record on grass – winning here in Eastbourne and reaching the final at Wimbledon in 2012 and the semi-finals there in 2013 - give you confidence or does it add pressure?

“It definitely gives me confidence – it’s my favourite surface… But as you saw in Paris, anything can happen in the grand slams so I like to keep my feet on the ground and take one match at a time.”

What aspects of your game give you confidence on the grass courts?

“Mainly my movement and my anticipation.”

What do you enjoy about playing in Eastbourne?

“I just love how calm and peaceful it is. It’s so different to most other stops on the WTA Tour. The crowds are fantastic and very knowledgeable. The players like that.”

Do you have a favourite restaurant in Eastbourne or somewhere you love to go there when you visit?

“Yes! Pomodoro e Mozzarella is the best! Great Polish staff in there sometimes too.”

Who are your toughest opponents on grass?

“Yikes, that’s a good question because so many girls play well on grass… Serena (Williams) and Maria (Sharapova) both have Wimbledon titles so I would start with them…”

How do you rate your Wimbledon chances?

“I’m quietly confident, but you have to win seven matches in 13 days which is not easy.”

What are some of your goals and dreams for 2014?

“I would love to win a grand slam and to be the number 1. Both nearly happened at the same time two years ago – I played Serena for the Wimbledon Championship and also the winner of that match would be world number 1.

“We (Poland) are still in the Fed Cup so it would be huge to win that as well… Right up there with the other achievements. Otherwise I want to continue to be happy, enjoy life and enjoy tennis.”

You were quick to put your hand up when the Aegon International was looking for players to take part in the Rally4Bally on June 15. Why are you so keen to take part?

“Losing Elena is a huge and tragic loss for the whole tennis community. I’m so happy to be involved in the Rally4Bally and my thoughts are with her friends and family at this difficult time. I hope everyone comes to the tournament to support on Sunday and donates to the cause.”