Ana Konjuh made her debut for Croatia in Fed Cup by BNP Paribas aged just 15 this February, winning all three of her singles matches for her country including a stunning three-set triumph over Polish world No. 33 Urszula Radwanska. Here, in her second blog for ITF Juniors, the Junior World No. 1 reflects on the thrill of making her debut in the team competition.
Playing for your country is something amazing and you just can’t say no to the opportunity. It was nice to have [Croatian Fed Cup captain] Iva Majoli on my side. She helped me a lot and gave me plenty of advice. Before my match against Poland’s Urszula Radwanska, she told me: ‘She’s the favourite to win. You have no pressure. Just play your game and you can beat her.’ I was a bit nervous in the first set and it just passed me by, but in the second set I was able to put the ball exactly where I wanted to and she couldn’t do anything about it. I won 26 63 76(6). It was a great experience!
I really enjoyed my time playing Fed Cup with the other girls. I got to spend time with Donna [Vekic], Tereza [Mrdeza], Darija [Jurak] and Iva [Majoli] and was able to learn lots from them. Croatia has a really great team, in my opinion. We are young, and Donna is already in the top 100. I hope we will get to see each other more on the tour and play more Fed Cup together. I think we have a really great future.
I’ve played a few seniors matches now and it’s a totally different level of tennis. Obviously I’m young and I’m still learning, so at the moment I’m just trying to learn something from the other girls with every match I play and then apply it in the next match. After all, the girls at senior-level have a lot more experience than me.
I don’t want to look too far in to the future so I just take things match by match. If things don’t go well today, they will tomorrow. It’s just about keeping your head up and the results will come. It’s difficult to make the jump from juniors to seniors but obviously I did well jumping from Under 14 to Under 18s so I’ll sort the problem with my arm and then hopefully everything else will come. With my current ranking of No. 866 I can get into some senior tournaments, like $15k, $25k Pro Circuit events, and I also have junior exempts and wildcards so I’m hoping they will help me to go higher in the rankings.
I still plan to play the three other Junior Grand Slams this year, but 2013 is definitely going to be my last year in the juniors.
Click here to read Ana's first blog on the ITF Juniors website
Ana talks family, fitness, and meeting Novak Djokovic in her third blog next Wednesday.