GYŐRI FERENC 2021.12.02 19:40

Panna Udvardy's goal is to get in the top 50

23-year-old Panna Udvardy has improved a lot mentally with the help of a sports psychologist.


Panna Udvardy will play her first main draw Grand Slam tournament in January (Photo: Csaba Dömötör)

 

– How tired are you? You've had 38 games behind you since the U.S. Open qualifiers.
– I've played 100 games this year; it's a lot – 23-year-old Udvardy Panna sighed, who has been ranked 96th in the world rankings since Monday after winning the tournament of $60,000 in prize money in Brasília. – I am very happy that I managed to finish the season with a victory.

– So, are you not competing more this year?
– No, this was the last one.

– Since Rio do Sul, you've lost a semifinal and two finals. Did you take it badly?
– Yes, especially the final in Montevideo, because if I had won that, I would've been in the top 100 then. I was even thinking about whether or not I should go to Brazil, but I was so motivated to get to the top 100 that I decided to buy the plane ticket and go. I played finals and semifinals during the South American tour, so I wasn't really bitter, but I needed the end for my happiness.

– Did you somehow celebrate your ranking in the top 100?
– I traveled home to Hungary immediately after the final, so I didn't have much time. Maybe we'll go out with the family this weekend. It's already a part of the celebration that I can relax at home.

She finished the season great (Photo: Csaba Dömötör)

– Is your main draw secured at the Australian Open then?
– I'm definitely in the main draw with this, but I think I was already good with 107-110th place two or three weeks ago, too. But it's for sure now.

– You're good on clay, but what about hard court?
– I've played most of my matches on clay this year, so it's good to have three weeks of preparation on hard court ahead of me. It's going to be a little different than before, but if the pre-season goes well, there will be no problems in Australia. I really like playing tennis on hard court and I'm also in good shape. Before the Grand Slam, I want to participate in two WTA 250 tournaments in Melbourne and then Adelaide.

– Did Anna Bondár's and Dalma Gálfi's recent progress motivate you?
– We've been motivating and pulling each other since the beginning of the year, we've had a really good year behind us, and we've also watched how others improve. When Anna made the top 100, I told myself that I could do it, too, which is why I went to Brazil – I trusted myself. There are five Hungarian girls in the top 200, which is a very big success. We will go forward more!

– Did you start the year from 354th place with a goal in the top 100, or did your appetite come with eating?
– I started the year with the aim of playing in the qualifiers for the Grand Slam tournaments, which I managed to achieve by Wimbledon. My summer in Europe was so good that when I went back to the States for the U.S. Open, I finished in the top 200. Then, when I got close to the main draw of a major tournament — I was ranked around somewhere between the 120th and 133rd place — the goal was to reach that in South America, and then the top 100. So, my ideas kept changing.

– Do you still live in the U.S.?
– Yes, I still live there. My three-week preparation is also going to be there, and I'm going to be there next year as well. Now I have a week to rest, and I decided to spend it with my family, and then I'll fly back to the States. I'm coming back around Christmas for a few days. I'll be home from the 24th through the 26th, then I fly to Australia on the 27th.

– What did you improve in the most?
– Mentally, I've made a lot of progress. I've been going to a sports psychologist since the beginning of the year. If I hadn't, I'm sure it would've been a lot harder to come back from 0-6 in the final in Brasília. My mental progress really showed there. Besides, I'm motivated and in great physical condition, which proves that I've been able to play my games without any injuries. We're also trying to improve my game to be as confident as possible, to know what I want to do on the court and what my playing style is – it helped me a lot.

– What plans do you have for the new year?
– Next year, the goal will be the top 50, so the most important thing now is to stay in the top 100 and get closer to the elite. It would definitely be important to be in the main draw at every Grand Slam. At the moment, this is what's before my eyes – hopefully, it will come true.

Translated by Vanda Orosz

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