“Playing someone I don’t like makes me wanna leave everything on court” – Interview with Jelena Ostapenko

Interview with Jelena Ostapenko
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DOHA – Jelena Ostapenko believes in that old concept used in marketing, which says there is no such thing as bad publicity.

“If people know you, they will always talk about you. Good or bad, they will still talk. The bad thing is when they don’t talk about you. That means you are no longer interesting,” Ostapenko says in this interview with CLAY in Qatar, where she played the Doha WTA 500.

And people do talk about the 2017 Roland Garros champion. They will criticize her for her physical appearance, for her explosive personality, they will comment on the power of her game, they will judge her fantastic attitude when choosing her wardrobe. By the way, the work of the Latvian brand DK One, which designs together with the owner and has its own dedicated collection.

“Alona Ostapenko” reads on her outfit in linked lettering that alludes to the name she prefers. The one her parents could not register when she was born in Riga, because it is not part of the Latvian name calendar. Jelena was the one that came closest.

In the Middle East she fell in the singles round of 16 against Jessica Pegula having been 5-2 up in the third set. Find out more in our interview with Jelena Ostapenko.

Interview with Jelena Ostapenko

– As a fashion lover, who’s your biggest reference?

-It’s hard to say because, not only in sports, but in normal life, I like different kind of styles. Sometimes I like really crazy stuff, but others, I prefer very classic. Brands like Brunello Cucinelli. It just depends in my mood, or where I go. I can wear crazy, I can go super classic.

– So now you are feeling like classic or crazy?

– I just like colorful clothes. I think for tennis it’s nice. We are on a tennis court, it’s a sport, it’s not that you have to go to an important meeting. I feel great wearing these outfits that I design together with the girl that owns the company and we talk about colors, and what do we want to do.

– How important is to go out there dressing in style?

– The most important thing is that I feel comfortable and that I don’t look the same as the others girls look. You can see sometimes girls go on the court and they are wearing the same outfits. That’s a little bit… l don’t know, tough to play against a player that wears your exact same clothes.

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– Do you care what people say about what you wear and how you look?

– Honestly, what I only care is that I matter is that I’m enjoying myself. Most of the time I don’t really care what people are talking around. If people know you, they will always talk. Good or bad, they will always talk. It’s bad when people is not talking about you. That means you are not interesting anymore.

– Do you search for your name in Twitter or other social media?

No, honestly no. I don’t follow Twitter much. Last time I checked it was maybe one month ago. I only use Instagram but I’m not sitting hours and hours watching it. I just check what my friends are posting. That’s pretty much.

Ostapenko in Doha’s tournament // SEBASTIÁN VARELA
Ostapenko during one of her matches in Doha // QATAR OPEN – SAMER ALREJJAL

– Does women tennis needs more personalities like yours?

– I think some girls are maybe too similar and they try to always be the same like the other ones. I think everyone has to be special, everyone has to be themselves. I love characters like Serena, such a big personality she is. Even the way she dresses on the court. Sometimes she wears crazy outfits but it looks really good. Good on her, she knows how to impact people.

– Isn’t more interesting for the fans when rivals have any kind of beef during their matches? You have been in that situation many times. How that affects you?

– When I play someone I don’t like, I really want to beat her. That makes me wanna leave everything on the court. For the players can work in different ways If you don’t like someone and It’s like your “enemy”. Some might get distracted, emotional, and get annoyed very quickly. I’m the kind of person that gets even more focused in that kind of situations.

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-You seem to enjoy it when your rivals get mad at you for attitudes you might have.

– It’s not that I enjoy it. I just try not to waste my energy on things that I shouldn’t. Once I’m on the court I try to be focused on myself, not see what’s happening around, not getting distracted. If you waste your energy on something else, it’s gonna be hard to bring it on the court.

ostapenko collins
Ostapenko in Abu Dhabi, in her chair watching how Danielle Collins complains // SCREENSHOT TENNISTV

– Have you ever broken a racquet?

– Like really bad, I don’t think so. Maybe I’ve just hit it and broke by accident. I’m not the person who breaks racquets. I do talk and shout some things, I don’t know. Of course maybe sometimes I should not do it, but it’s hard to say. I’m very emotional. From the side its easy to judge. You gotta be on my place.

– How strong you feel in order to win another Grand Slam?

– As a player I feel more mature and more consistent this year. Like here in Doha, that I lost my singles and I felt I was a better player and had to win it, I’m learning more from this matches, you know? I started well this year, if I keep it up and work hard I think I can play well at the Grand Slams.

– Have you discovered any new activities off court?

– I did extreme driving lessons. They taught me how to drift and all those things. It’s so much fun! Also they teach you how to drive on ice, because at my home country it snows on the winter. I love extreme things, like rolling coasters.

– Do you still speed your Porsche?

– The one I won four years ago in Stuttgart. It’s such a great car. I like to drive fast, but I try to follow the speed limits. Every year they get more and more strict. I don’t want to get in trouble!


Jelena Ostapenko’s cartoon made by @dotdotennis

If you enjoyed this interview with Jelena Ostapenko, don’t miss this link to many other interviews with the great tennis stars.

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