Dayana Yastremska: ‘I’m More Than A Tennis Player’

WASHINGTON/LINZ, November 9, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

World No 29 Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine enters her 12th and final tournament of the abbreviated 2020 season, the Upper Austria Ladies Linz, that begins its 30th anniversary edition on Monday. It’s her first time to play in Linz, the third-largest city in Austria which straddles the Danube River midway between Salzburg and Vienna – and she hopes to finish the year on a positive note.

“It’s the last tournament of the season,” said Yastremska, in a joyful mood when she sat for a virtual media group chat Sunday afternoon on the eve of the WTA International event. “I’m going to enjoy it here.”

Yastremska didn’t hide her enthusiasm for wanting to do well on the court in Upper Austria.

“I want to win the tournament,” the No. 3 seed said about her goals for this week, adding, “I will also try to play a different style of a game. I really want to improve my game.

“It’s tough to explain. When I move forward, I want to try different things to get better.”

The 20-year-old rising star from Odessa, began the year by reaching the finals at Adelaide before losing to World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty of Australia in straight sets. She reached the final by defeating Linz top seed Aryna Sabalenka from Belarus. Soon after, her best win of the season came in Doha when she beat then-World No. 7 Sofia Kenin of the United States, 6-3, 7-6 (4).

Since then, Yastremska’s season has seen its share of of peaks and valleys, especially following the resumption of the WTA Tour in August following a five-month hiatus.

Yastremska began with a quarterfinal run in Palermo and beat American Venus Williams in the first round of the Western & Southern Open before losing to World No. 3 Naomi Osaka of Japan in the round of 16. Then, she dropped a social media bombshell when she revealed a split from coach Sascha Bajin following her second-round US Open loss. It drew a lot of attention.

Coming into her featured match against Greet Minnen of Belgium in Tips Arena Monday night, Yastremska’s last win came in the second round at Rome in September over Amanda Anisimova of the United States. Since then, she’s lost to World No. 2 Simona Halep of Romania, who went on to win the tournament; followed by a disappointing first-round defeat to Australian Daria Gavrilova at Roland Garros and another first-round loss to American Jennifer Brady at Ostrava three weeks ago that dropped her 2020 win-loss record to 15-11.

“These are good experiences,” she told Tennis TourTalk. “I’ve learned that I can win even if I don’t feel good on court or am playing my best game.”

With a little luck and good fortune, Yastremska could go deep at Linz this week. If she succeeds against the 110th-ranked Minnen, her likely second-round opponent will be Barbora Krejcikova from the Czech Republic, ranked 74th. Then, she could face eighth seed Bernarda Pera of the United States, ranked 61st, in the quarterfinals. While it might be premature to speculate beyond the quarterfinals, a likely semifinal opponent could be top seed Sabalenka, ranked 11th, and No. 2 seed Elise Mertens of Belgium, ranked 21st, would be a likely title opponent.

Before her split with Bajin, he once described Yastremska’s attacking style as being “a great mover” with “incredible power.

“Her ground strokes are very powerful,” he said. Currently, she is without a full-time coach.

At age 12, Yastremska chose tennis over gymnastics and swimming, saying “I chose tennis because it is very hard and beautiful. I love work and I want to write my new history in tennis.”

In four years, her year-end ranking has skyrocketed from No. 342 to No. 22 and she’s won three WTA tour-level tournaments, in 2018 at Hong Kong and last year at Strasbourg and Hua Hin. She also represented Ukraine the past two years in the Fed Cup (now known as the Billie Jean King Cup).

Off the court, when she’s not reading or watching films – something she does a lot when she’s on the road couped up in tournament hotels – Yastremska is passionate about music. “It’s something I like to do a lot,” she said when Tennis TourTalk asked her about her hobby. I’m not a singer; I’m a tennis player. But I do it for fun. I wish I can continue. I have songs that I want to make.”

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Ссылка на прослушивание в шапке профиля☝🏼🎶☝🏼 Многомерность или тысячи меня❤️Иногда мы думаем,что никогда не перешагнем черту за которой туманная неизведанность! Нам просто не хватит внутреннего ресурса,силы или поддержки родных) Многие ,к слову, так и живут в своих ракушках, не до конца осознавая свои скрытые возможности и таланты! Когда-то мне казалось,что «петь»-это не про меня 🙉🙊🙈 А сегодня у меня праздник, рождение моей маленькой мечты,рождение совершенно новой МЕНЯ! 🕊 Мечтайте и верьте в свои силы🤎🧡 Благодарю всех причастных за поддержку и профессионализм🤗 #DY #ТысячиМеня #премьера2020 #13мая #ThousandsOfMe #premiere2020 #13may. Multidimensionality or thousands of me.❤️ Sometimes we think that we never cross the line to the blurry unknown! We just believe we lack the internal capacity, power, or support of the relatives.) By the way, many continue to live inside of their shells, never fully recognizing their capabilities and talents hidden within. Once I thought that the whole idea of singing is not about me. 🙉🙊🙈 But still today I am having a party, a birthday of the dream, a birthday of an absolutely new ME! 🕊 Dream and believe in your strengths 🤎🧡 I would like to thank everyone involved for their support and professionalism. #DY #ТысячиМеня #премьера2020 #13мая #ThousandsofMe #premiere2020 #13may

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Earlier this year, during the height of this year’s global COVID-19 pandemic, Yastremska’s budding music career began. She released her first single, “Thousands of Me,” in May, and a dance song “Favourite Track,” in August, through her Instagram account.

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Мой «Любимый трек»🎶 можно послушать в шапке профиля 🎤🎶 Почему именно любимый трек? Наверное потому что он делался с любовью, с искренностью, с душой ❤️ @raja_music7 Ребята, многие спрашивают будет ли клип к этому треку… Дааа, будет, несмотря на турниры, я постараюсь найти возможность, и время, снять классный клип со своей командой! #ЛюбимыйТрек #премьерапесни #DY My “Favorite Track” 🎶 Why a favorite track? Probably because it was made with love, sincerity, with soul ❤️ @raja_music7 Guys, many people ask if there will be a video for this track … Yeah, it will be, despite the tournaments, I will try to find an opportunity and time to shoot a cool video with my team! #FavoriteTrack #premiere #DY

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Yastremska said it’s easy for people to be critical of her – especially on social media – when she loses, thinking that it’s because she’s putting more attention into her music than on her tennis. But she dismisses her naysayers.

“They don’t understand I’m more than just a tennis player,” she said.

“I’m able to separate a normal life and a tennis life. You know, maybe, when the holidays come, I will write more. But I’m not sure if I will post them right away. We will see.”