Opinion

Tennis Champion

When you mention the name Jelena Ostapenko don’t be surprised if most people would say who is she? Well Jelena is actually an unseeded young ten­nis player from the nation
29 Jul 2017 11:50
Tennis Champion

When you mention the name Jelena Ostapenko don’t be surprised if most people would say who is she?

Well Jelena is actually an unseeded young ten­nis player from the nation of Latvia who has just turned 20 years old last week.

The reason she is being talked about now is the fact that she amazingly won the coveted 2017 French Open beating all opposition to be­come champion.

Ms Ostapenko was born on 08th June 1997 in Riga the Latvian capital to father Jevgenijs Ostapenko who was a former professional foot­baller and mother Jelena.

Her introduction to tennis was at the tender age of five years by her mother who was a fan of both tennis star sisters Serena and Venus Williams.

This was not the only pastime that little Ms Ostapenko excelled in, in fact she was also an accomplished dancer competing in the Na­tional Latvian Championships for Ballroom Dancing. Even though she was very good at both tennis and Ballroom dancing it was tennis that was closest to her heart and Ms Ostapenko decided to forge forward with this being her single focus.

Interestingly it was her training as a dancer that has shaped her playing style with great footwork and strong legs.

Her playing style is quite unorthodox and can be very exciting to watch as she is certainly a high risk high reward type of player.

Ms Ostapenko, has a high error rate due to her do or die approach to the game, therefore mak­ing all her games a must see event.

Interestingly when one of Tennis’s top jour­nalists was asked to describe Ms Ostapenko’s playing style in three words he described her as “risky, aggressive and fun”.

This typifies her approach to the game with zero fear and so far it has paid off with her co­lossal win at the French Open.

Ms Ostapenko, who has never previously won a Tour level title, will bank a record French Open women’s singles champion prize of just over $5 million for the victory after having previously earned an estimated $2.6 million during her whole tennis career dating back to when she was a teenager.

Up until 2016 Ms Ostapenko was coached by her mother who would take lessons from watch­ing Serena Williams play and incorporate them into her daughters game.

Acting as her fitness coach was her father who took his experience as a professional footballer and implemented them into Ms Ostapenko’s overall day to day fitness regime.

As of 2017 Ms Ostapenko has now taken up coaching with the two time French open dou­bles Champion Anabel Medina Gar.

Away from tennis Ms Ostapenko continues to enjoy ballroom dancing and is so keen that when home she regularly attends classes at least 3 to 4 times a week.

According to Ms Ostapenko it really helps her with her footwork on the court and makes her supple and less prone to injuries that are a com­mon factor with all tennis players.

Her favourite dance is the ‘Samba’ which even she will admit that she is pretty good at. Hav­ing been bought up in the fairly small country of Latvia, Ms Ostapenko has no intentions of living anywhere else as she loves the lifestyle of her country and enjoys the warmth and hos­pitality of her country folk.

The new tennis champion is fluent in Latvian, Russian and English making it very useful to interact with all foreign media regardless of language barriers.

We wish Jelena all the best for the future as this hardworking and fearless young ath­lete makes her way into contention and with luck on her side she will continue to go from strength to strength.

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