Growing the Game Ontario – Watch Out, Here Comes Kayla Cross

Editor’s Note: As a nine-year-old, Kayla demonstrated that she would be a force to be reckoned with when she led her team to a provincial Under 12 event. The potential she showed then has kept growing to the point that now she is ready to attack the next stage of her career, the WTA tour.

 

OC: Kayla, you just played in the Mecca of tennis for the first time, Wimbledon. Can you tell us what is was like, your performance, your experience?

This was my second time playing Wimbledon, as I played last year! Although this year was very different as I was not in a covid bubble. Wimbledon is the most prestigious tournament I have and will ever play, everything is done like clock work. From the alarm that goes off at the same time every morning to mostly everyone wearing suits and fancy outfits! My performance was great, I love playing on grass, playing aggressively, coming to the net, using my slice. I feel that the grass courts help me to develop my game a lot. My experience was amazing, getting to the finals of doubles and going to the round of 16 in singles was special and something I will remember forever!

 

OC: You come from a tennis family, how has that contributed to your success? Coming from a tennis family has lots of benefits. Growing up I was always at the tennis courts watching my older brothers practice and play matches. I wanted to follow in their footsteps so whenever I had a chance to go play even if it was for 5 minutes I would! Also, I know that I can ask my brothers or my dad for advice on tennis anytime.

 

Kayla Cross and Anthony Glavanic on his court

OC: You still spend some time in London, how easy is it for you to be able to train there?

London will always be my home, where I grew up, and where everything started!! To play tennis at a high level it requires a lot of traveling, so I don’t spend too much time anymore in London unless I have time off. When I am not training at Tennis Canada in Montreal, I am training at the Toronto Lawn Tennis Club with Simon Bartram.

 

OC: You always have had great potential, how has your game evolved over the last few years?

When I was young I was known for always finding ways to win with grit, always just kept going… 1 more shot in, coming back from being down was something I did a lot. I feel that now I have that to fall back on if need be, but I have a lot more skills to be aggressive, come to the net, make things happen.

 

OC: What do you see as the areas for improvement as you are making the transition to the WTA level? 

Transitioning into the WTA level I think the two areas that I can improve on are: minimizing sloppy mistakes, and to play on my terms, using my strengths and constructing my points so that I can use my volleys as much as possible.

 

OC: Your two brothers were accomplished national level tennis players. What were they like as players and how do they relate to their sister the superstar?

Both my brothers were very good at tennis, and I would definitely not be where I am now without them. They have always pushed me to get better and supported me when I needed it! Watching them play growing up gave me a lot of inspiration and motivation to want to go far in tennis!

 

OC: You have had great results in doubles with Vicky Mboko? What makes both of you such a good doubles team?

Vicky and I are an amazing doubles team as we have amazing chemistry since we have known each other for years! We can read each other on court, and our games suit each other very well! Also, when one of us is down the other one picks her up and tries to pump her up!

 

OC: How has doubles helped you with your overall development?

Doubles helps with my overall development because every match is an opportunity to improve. You have nerves and pressure just like any match so you get to go put what you have worked on in practice to the test. Also, in doubles I get to hit a lot more volleys so of course that helps my singles game as well!

 

OC: Tell me something funny about Vicky Mboko.

You will never see Vicky without her Airpods Max’s, no matter where we are or what we are doing she will either have them on or around her neck. It’s become a trademark for her, and we all make jokes about it!

 

Thank you for letting me do this interview and hope to do another one in the future!

 

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