Maria Kirilenko: Me and my racket
Originally published on: 21/10/11 10:26
Do you remember your first racket?
Yes, it was an adidas racket. It was my father’s. He gave it to me when
I had to go to the club for the coach to see how good I was. It was blue, I think.
How long have you used Yonex rackets?
I started playing with [Yonex] rackets when I was 13 years old. Since that time I changed models a lot. I’ve had this one for three years, since 2008.
When did you first take an interest in what racket you used?
When I started playing seriously I had a Prince, but then I had the desire to play with a Yonex because one of the girls I played with in the same group got a Yonex and I was dreaming of getting one too! I wanted so much to play with a Yonex because I saw Anna Kournikova playing with one too. When I turned 13 I got one and I was so happy!
What do you look for in a racket?
I look for stability in a racket, so when I hit the ball I have control of the racket and power.
How many rackets do you travel with?
How many do you take on court?
Today, for example, I had five rackets on court.
Have you ever lost any rackets?
Yes, I went to Croatia during the off-season to practice for three weeks when I was 16. I was practising and then I recognised at the hotel that one racket was missing and I remembered that I left it on court. When I went on court the racket wasn’t there. A woman had it and we had to call the police and then she gave it back!
Was she a fan?
No, she was just passing the court and she took it!
What grip size do you use?
And what strings do you use?
Yonex polyester [Polytour HS 125].
What tension do you string them up?
I’m trying to change the tensions depending on the surface and it’s also to do with the air. When it’s wet, I go 26/24 [kilos], when it’s dry – when the sun is shining, when it’s hot – I go one kilo more so 27/25. Today, the surface is quite fast and the ball is flying and I went 26/24 so, I don’t know, it’s also dependent on your feelings.
Do you use a vibration dampener?
Yes, I can’t play without one! I have quite a long one. The smaller ones, quite often they just fly away! I had to ask Yonex if they had a longer one!
Have you ever smashed a racket?
I try not to, but yes, of course!
When was the last time?
This year at the Australian Open. [Victoria Azarenka] and I lost our doubles final [against Flavia Pennetta and Gisela Dulko] after having big chances – we were up a set and 4-1. We lost the match and then I had to play a mixed doubles semi-final and when we lost match point
I smashed my racket because I was still thinking about our doubles final. I missed one ball and then I smashed it so badly!
Yeah, if I win a match with one racket, then I use that same racket for the next match. So I try to play the whole tournament with
that one racket!