***Viktoriya Kisialeva is a seventeen year old tennis player with big aspirations of becoming a successful WTA player. Born in Belarus, she began her tennis career there before her family moved to Toronto when Vika was 12 years old. After a short training period in Toronto, she made the decision with her parents that she would move back to her home country to continue her development there. After a successful junior career and a ranking of #84 on the Junior ITF Circuit, Vika now finds herself back in Toronto and training with new coach, Pierre Lamarche. Vika is ready to transition into the professional tour and looks to acquire her WTA ranking during her 3 tournament trip to Venezuela. Here is her view…***
Training in Toronto, I decided to make the decision to go to Venezuela to play 3 ITF events, all 10k tournaments. My entire family was worried about me going alone to South America but after spending some time here, it turns out that this is not such a dangerous country after all. I was greeted by tournament officials at the airport and spend the rest of my first day in Caracas resting.
I was very surprised that the day before the tournament began; there wasn’t a single player out practicing on the courts! I did my best to try to adjust to the courts and playing outside after training indoors for several weeks. Adding altitude to that equation, I found it difficult to get adjusted as the ball jumped much higher than what I am used to.
The first match on a trip away is always toughest so I made sure to prepare as well as possible. On the day of my first match, it was very windy, extremely humid but my resolve to win was stronger than the elements. I kept my mind focused on winning. I kept this mind set throughout my qualifying matches and made it into the main draw. In order to get earn a point in this tournament, I would have to pass at least one round in the main draw. In the first round I drew the 4th seed, Barbara Rush of Argentina. In the first set, we were even game for game until we got to the tiebreaker. I was very focused and made few errors to come out on top. The second set was pretty easy as I took it, 6-2.
I was playing well and was very focused throughout all my matches and found myself in the finals by the end of the week. This was my first final in a tournament of this caliber and I was very excited to have this chance. The final was televised and we had a large audience. Before the match, I did not feel as good as all the other matches that week and found myself playing tight. I lost the match but gained a lot of important experience.
During this tournament a funny thing happened where after my first qualifying match, someone had made an error and wrote my opponent as the winner. The referee thought this was a hilarious mistake but I didn’t think so. We both had a good laugh about it at the end of the tournament when I reached the final.
This week I met a German girl, Jessica, and her coach. We ended up playing doubles together and training all week long. It’s been pleasant hanging out with them and I’m happy to have met them both.
My experience with Venezuelan people has been positive. Although there is the obvious language barrier because there isn’t too much English spoken here and I don’t speak Spanish, the people are kind and smile a lot. The food is delicious but it’s too bad that I cannot go wild and experiment with all the delicacies!
I’ll keep in touch…