CLOCKWISE TOP LEFT: KAROLINA PLISKOVA; ANA KONJUH; ZARINA DIYAS; NICOLE GIBBS
PHOTOGRAPHS BY MICHAEL WILLIAMS
The US Open starts today, the final major tournament of the 2015 tennis season. While all eyes are on Serena Williams as she tries to complete the Grand Slam (victories in the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open), standing in her way are the “Rising Stars” of the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association). These are the young up and coming players — the future stars of women’s tennis — ready to take on Serena and everybody else.
We had the chance to meet and photograph four of these “Rising Stars” last week at the Connecticut Open: Nicole Gibbs, Ana Konjuh, Karolina Pliskova, and Zarina Diyas. Ever wonder what a professional tennis player eats before a match? How she gets pumped up to play? Who she’d love to see in the stands? What songs motivate her? What she does when she’s not playing tennis? We played 15 Questions with each player, and found out some fun facts!
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1. What is your favorite tournament and why? My favourite tournament is Melbourne. I always love to come back there. I love the city and have great memories there. 2. What is your most memorable win and why? Well, I have few of them and every single one is special, but it is always the final of the tournament where I won in my four titles. The special one was probably winning the title at home. 3. What is your favorite thing about playing at the US Open? It’s just the great atmosphere here. A lot of fans coming to cheer and also the city. It’s just great to be here. 4. What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not playing tennis? I love shopping, obviously, like every girl… haha. I also like food, so some good dinners in cities, or watching movies on my computer. 5. How do you get pumped up for a match? I’m always doing my warm up before matches and listening to music. And my coach is also motivating me. 6. How do you relax after a match? I always have some stretching or massage. Then going back to the hotel and rest, and good dinner later. 7. What other sports do you play? I don’t play any other sport, but because of my height I would probably choose basketball. 8. Favorite kind of music? 5 songs on your iPod now? It depends on the mood that day, but my favorite 5 song are: Phototograph by Ed Sheeran, My Kind of Love by Emeli Sande, Phenomenal by Eminem, Dear Future Husband by Meaghan Trainor, Fast Car by Tracy Chapman.