I spoke with Agnieszka Radwanska right after her 6-2, 6-1 win over Monica Niculescu in the 3rd Round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
On the day, Aga played particularly well registering only 3 unforced errors and closing the match in just 87 minutes. However, she had enough time to hit another of her now almost customary hot-shots, a sure contender for WTA shot of the year, an award she already won in 2015.
Radwanska has then gone on to beat Jelena Jankovic in the 4th Round and Petra Kvitova in the Quarterfinals. This run allowed her to replace Angelique Kerber as the World No.2, a position she had already reached in 2012, the same year in which she made what is currently her only Major Final at Wimbledon, losing to Serena Williams in 3 sets.
Serena also ended her run in Indian Wells in the Semis, but Aga can leave California with a lot of positives having confirmed to be one of the most in form players on the WTA Tour. She has in fact won 4 tournaments since last September including her first WTA Championships in Singapore.
And we started the interview talking about her recent form.
TW: “You have recently won the WTA Championships which is obviously the biggest title of your career. Do you think you”re playing your best ever Tennis at the moment?”
Aga: “Oh well, I don”t know if it”s the best but for sure one of the best. I”m playing at a great level since a couple of months. It”s always hard to compare how you”re playing right now to a few years ago, since you play against different opponents, in different conditions and it”s a different tennis, but at the moment I”m definitely playing one of my best tennis yeah.”
TW: “You”ve been very consistent, making at least the Semifinals in 7 of the last 8 events you played (8 out of 9 adding Indian Wells). Do you think you have a shot at making it to No.1?”
Aga: “Well, you never know, but definitely I have an opportunity since I”m playing a good Tennis. As we know to be No.1 you have to be very consistent and not just play well in 1 or 2 tournaments. I”m on a good way to reach No.2, first of all, maybe No.1 you never know. I”m not defending many points now and on the clay court so this is an open window for me and of course I”m going to try everything to do that because this is one of my goals for sure”
TW: “On your profile on the WTA website you in fact list being No.1 and winning a Slam as your main goals. If you had to choose one of the two would you rather be like Caroline Wozniacki who reached No.1 but never won a Major, or you would prefer to win a Slam?”
Aga: “I think I would prefer to win a Major. This is something that we all have been working for. Slams are the biggest events in Tennis so of course I want both, but if I had to choose I would rather win a Slam.”
TW: “And I guess the Slam would be Wimbledon, right?”
Aga: “Yeah of course!”
TW: “A lot has been said about Andy Murray being the first Brit to win a Major after so many years and the pressure he released after finally lifting the trophy. I know that Tennis is not the most popular but it”s still a pretty popular sport in Poland. So I am really curious to know how is the Polish press? Do they put extra pressure on you being the first player who really have a chance of winning a Major in Singles since the 30s?” (The only Pole who reached the Final in a Slam before Radwanska was Jadwiga Jedrzejowska who lost at Wimbledon and at the US Open in 1937 and the French in 1939).
Aga: “Well there”s always pressure especially when you are in the top-5 or top-10 for so many years and they expect you to win. Sometimes when I make the Semifinals in a big event or even in a Slam it feels like it”s no big deal and they expect me to do more. I think they are used to my results and there”s always pressure but I try not to think about that and do my things, not really reading those things but focusing on my game because of course a lot of things happen on the court so it”s better to just focus on the game”.
TW: “You have a pretty classic style, you don”t have a lot power but you hit very clean and flat shots. Have you ever wondered how you would have developed as a player if we still played with wooden rackets?”
Aga: “Oh this is a good question. I actually thing I could have done much better during those times. You never know but it could have been my time, since I could have used my hands and everything, but in those eras there were also some great players so it”s hard to tell.”
TW: “You mean Martina and Chris would have still won them all?”
Aga: “Exactly. They would have been on my way anyway, but definitely it was a type of Tennis that I would have enjoyed playing.”
TW: “This is an Olympic year and you”ve been the flag carrier for Poland at the last Olympics. Is winning the first ever medal for Poland in Tennis one of your main goals for this season? Maybe in Doubles? Will your sister (Urszula) recover on time to play in Rio?”
Aga: “Well, she”s injured right now and I don”t think she will make it, but maybe I”ll play the Mixed Doubles. We have a couple of very good guys so we could try to win the Mixed Doubles. It”s definitely one of my goals. I didn”t get good results in the previous Olympic Games and, as I always say, I can”t do any worse than at the last ones, just better.”
Clearly a great player on court, Aga is also very likable and down to earth off the court and it comes as no surprise that she has won the WTA Fan Favorite Award for the last 5 consecutive years.
To close our interview, I asked her why she thinks tennis fans like her so much.
Aga: “Well I don”t think it”s a question for me. I love my fans too and I really appreciate all these awards, especially winning 5 years in a row. I think you should really ask them why they voted for me. I just hope I could win it again!”
TW: “Would you trade them for a Major?”
Aga (laughing): “Yeah exactly.”