Current WTA Ranking (singles) = 268
Current WTA Ranking (Doubles) = 231
The beautifully poised, Timea Babos, just 17, from Sopron, Hungary, has had an amazing Junior run and these days reserves Junior Tourneys primarily for the Slams. In 2010 she took home The French, Wimbledon, and US Open Junior Doubles Titles with Sloane Stephens! That being said, she’s moved through 14′s, 16′s, & ITF Senior events right onto the WTA Tour, and not slowly! And you can’t help but get the feeling she has done so, with a tremendous amount of grace. She began playing at age 8 and shares 3 coaches; Csaba Babos (Dad), Levente Baratosi, and Jamie Evans. She’s won 5 singles and 5 doubles titles!!!! And just as 2010 was coming to a close, she was taking out Alicia Molik in Bendingo, Australia and picked up another $25,000 event with Mel South. Truly, a triple threat and a very dedicated, deserving & busy girl!! Timea Babos is learning the world around her both on and off the court
Heló and Üdvözlöm Timea!!!
Costagirl: Do you have a nickname?
Timea: My nickname is Motty, U wont understand it, it’s Hungarian, and I can’t even explain it, it’s so special…
Costagirl: Most of your videos are in Hungarian (Magyar) but you also speak English very well. What age did you learn English? Do you speak any other languages?
Timea: I started English when I was like 8, but since I’m traveling I can always pick up new things, so tennis and travel helped my English a lot…I also speak German very well. I started it even earlier than English, but because I’m not using it as much, it’s a bit worse, but still fluent.
Costagirl: Are you home schooled?
Timea: Yes, I’m studying in Hungary, and I will finish my A levels here. It’s not easy to study besides tennis, but it’s something I have to do.
Costagirl: Your favorite court surfaces are grass & hard court….clearly you like a fast game! How do you characterize your playing style? Do you often train on grass?
Timea: Yes I like them. I like a quick game, but nowadays, I actually started to enjoy playing everywhere. I think it’s important to practice and play matches on every surface, that will help my game in the future.
My biggest advantages are my conditioning, my fighting spirit and attacking game.
Costagirl: What do you do to stay both mentally & physically fit for competition?
Timea: I have weeks when I’m just practicing and preparing for tournaments, so there I have 2 daily fitness sessions and usually 2 or 3 lessons with a psychologist. I think both are very very important, to play tennis is not enough these days, now u have to be very strong physically and mentally, so I try to just do the best possible things.
Costagirl: What’s your favorite court drink to stay hydrated & energized?
Timea: I’m using Herbalife, I think its great and I think it helps me a lot.
Costagirl: You’ve WON 3 Junior Doubles Grand Slams with Sloane Stephens….which is your favorite Slam to play & why?
Timea: I think Wimbledon is the best one, because everyone loves watching tennis there, Juniors are as big of stars as Seniors, so I like Wimbledon the most! But I mean, to win RG, or the US Open, is just as wonderful, as to win Wimby…
Costagirl: Clearly a Triple threat Doubles Specialist…what is your winning component in doubles? (love, chemistry, team sport, strategy)
Timea: I have learned how to play doubles, which obviously helps a lot, because not many people are learning how to play that game. But I also love playing it, because it’s so much fun! Especially with a great partner, like Sloane…
Costagirl: Best shopping… London, Paris, New York or Australia?
Timea: I love New York! That’s the best place for me, but u know everyone is different…
Costagirl: What’s the biggest difference between Juniors & Seniors?
Timea: Again, everyone feels different things…for me it is the concentration. In Juniors u can have little periods when u r not focused, but if u do that in Seniors, u will lose very easily.
Costagirl: Where do you love to vacation?
Timea: At home, I just LOVE being at home, just being with family and friends, I think that is the best place to be. But at some point I wanna go to Hawaii.
Costagirl: How did you feel about your favorite player Elena Dementieva retiring this year?
Timea: I’m sad about it of course, but I guess I have to find someone else…
Köszönöm Timea and our very Best for 2011!!!!
So my last post was about the Williams sisters and what they’ve done for women’s tennis. I also asked if anyone knew who the next Venus or Serena might be? And within days there was a knock at the door. This girl is young, hard hitting, extremely determined with something to prove allover again.
Her name is Rhonda de Lang, she was born in the Ivory Coast, and carries a Liberian and Dutch passport. Her current city is Nieuwegein, Netherlands. She finished #8 in girls 12 & under and recently entered girls 14′s with a lots of promise and eyes watching! She credits the Williams sisters as role models and relates to them on everything from appearance, to playing style. The girls typically start as young as 4 but Rhonda actually started at age 8 and aggressively advanced in no time! Her skin color in her community hasn’t always been so kind towards her, and so she’s relied on determination, 6 days a week of intense training, 3 different trainers & fighting just a little bit harder to prove she has every right to play on court 1. She’s landed a sponsorship with Wilson & hangs out with professional tennis players. She speaks softly and in short sentences with a warm & kind demeanor that changes when it’s time to play her very favorite thing in the world…Tennis!
The media has grown to love her at home & so will you. This interview is clearly in Dutch (no translation) but my interview with her sums up all you need to know.
Costagirl: Rhonda, do you have a nickname?
Rhonda : NO
Costagirl: What is the best part of playing tennis for you at your age?
Rhonda : Playing the game itself, it is such a nice sport. People that do not know this game do not really know what they’re missing. Another thing I love is meeting the professional tennis players. Meeting people and learning new tactics but my favorite is winning – leaving the court with a very big smile on my face and a huge trophy.
Costagirl: For such a young girl you keep such an intense training schedule. Where do you get the discipline from?
Rhonda: My father and trainers but especially my father (Ronald de Lang).
Costagirl: How many hours a day do you train? Do you take any time off?
Rhonda: I am only free on Sundays if I don’t have a tournament. I train 16 hours a week.
Costagirl: What is your favorite thing to do when your not playing tennis?
Rhonda: Chatting with friends, dancing, listening to music.
Costagirl: Clearly Nick Bollettieri’s represents the best competitive playground in the world to experience & further develop your talent. Are you ready for it? How do you feel about coming all the way to the USA to train?
Rhonda: Most definitely! I have been ready for it since I heard of him, that is one of the best things that could ever happen to me! It would be a dream An opportunity that only a few young tennis players get to have. To get the training they need to develop their tennis talent and everything that has to do with their sport and career.
Costagirl: Are all your friends competitors from the junior circuit or do you have others you enjoy outside of tennis?
Rhonda: Most are from tennis with a few outside of the sport.
Costagirl: Venus & Serena are your role models. This is understandable from playing style, humble beginnings & physical appearance. Does your dark complexion in a dominant white sport drive you differently?
Rhonda: Yes!!! It makes me want to give all that I have. It drives me to play 200%.
Costagirl: You mentioned understanding the Williams sisters revenge not playing Indian Wells after one of them was booed off the court. Do you relate, play & train with the same feelings?
Rhonda: As a twelve year old I can understand exactly what it’s like to be booed at. It makes you so angry that you wouldn’t want to loose that match and after you have won…wouldn’t want to play there again. Unless you are respected for being a pro and who you are — Not because you are colored.
Thank you Rhonda!!! Great name by the way…..You are a Really special girl…and I will see you on court 1.
Nick…if your reading…you found a new sweet spot:)
RIPPING every ball….remained paramount in 2010 that’s for sure! It’s really a whole different world seeing a live tennis match up close & personal than viewing it on TV. So if you get the chance, get to a live show, because that’s what it is… a show!
There are many critics on today’s modern game and they usually speak from the good ole’ days of 1960′s & 70′s. But like neighborhoods, technology, music & fashion — change — so did tennis. And everyone may not like the current style but that’s just demographics
Women on tour are stronger, more equipped, bigger, faster, better trained because of the Williams sisters. And the sisters proudly know it! Years ago Martina Navratilova had people wondering how she hit the ball so hard, now it’s Venus & Serena. Because of the sisters raising the bar, the rest of the girls are hitting the gym and preparing for battle MORE. While the sisters choose their tournaments sparsely among their varied interests off court… who knows how much longer they will stick around. They are now so rich, athletically gifted, operate on their own playing field and win as if on cue. They have rightly left their mark!
The William sisters have elevated the game to such a degree that it’s hard to say who will take it to the next hemisphere the way Serena did. Everything is soooo fast now!! Serve & volley is difficult at best and it’s necessary to bang from the baseline. There are so many girls on the same level now working harder than they have ever had to before. The challenge today is to diversify. To develop that all around game. To not simply pummel the ball but to be able to execute at net. But how so you get there when the ball moves so damn fast! And as cliche as that just sounded…that’s where the women’s game is now!
Anyway, I’m sure at some point, there will be another young woman to break through and punish us all in her own way…and maybe one of you out there knows who she is…and maybe you’ll share with us here
But for now…we wait. In the meantime this video represents some of the power beauties of today’s game!