All players have a benchmark in the world of racket. Even those who deny him, those were also caught at some point in their lives watching a certain tennis player on television. Taking advantage of the fact that currently there are not many topics to deal with due to the circuit breakdown, the WTA He wanted to delve into this topic and discover which players inspired the players of the next generation. At the microphone, Dinara Safina.

“I didn’t used to watch a lot of tennis when I was a kid. Between sports, school and training, I never had time to sit down and watch games, but I do remember one of the first I witnessed: Lindsay Davenport winning the 2000 Australian Open. From that moment I began to observe her more, even trying to follow her results as much as I could. When I grew up I still admired her, I loved her way of being on the track, I tried to copy her behavior, the way she acted during meetings. She was always calm on the court, you didn’t see her emotions, whatever she thought she kept inside, “remembers the Russian fondly.

That crush changed Dinara’s perspective almost to the point of madness. “You can’t be exactly like another player, but you can try to emulate his best attributes, so I highly coveted his mentality in difficult times, how he concentrated and took his time. Later I was lucky to meet her while playing, but I am usually very shy when I meet someone I admire. I would never dare to approach her and confess that she was my inspiration. I felt a bit silly doing that, at times like that I prefer to keep everything inside, like that day ”, she underlines from the ten years of difference that separate them.

Until the day came when the circuit faced them, and on more than one occasion. “When you see a player on television and then you have to face him in real life it is never easy, much less if that player is your idol. However, the more you compete, the more you realize that we are together in the same tournaments, so you start to wonder: Why can’t I defeat her? We played three times in our races, our last match was in Miami 2008. Lindsay returned after being a mother, but she still played very well. He came from defeating Ana Ivanovic in the previous round. I had started working with Zeljko Krajan and we tried to change things in my game, but I had a lot of doubts in my head, I was wondering if I was doing things right or not. I ended up winning that match in straight sets and then on the net he said he had played amazing. That was the happiest moment, above my performance in the match”, Values ​​the former number 1 in the world.

Curiously, that afternoon was the one that would later bring about Safina’s best achievements. “That victory gave me a lot of inspiration, I could feel that I was on the right track. He lifted a weight off me and made me stop hesitating. Some of my best results came from that event, winning the title in Berlin and making my first Grand Slam final at Roland Garros. A year after my victory over Lindsay I reached number 1 in the world. Now that we are retired we still see each other in a tournament from time to time, we have even played each other in a tournament of legends. I am very happy for the family you have now, I feel lucky to have chosen such a good player to admire as a child