Tennis-Zidansek warming to the challenge in Paris

Tennis - Australian Open - Second Round
FILE PHOTO: Tennis - Australian Open - Second Round - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - January 22, 2020. Slovenia's Tamara Zidansek in action during the match against Serena Williams from the U.S. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

June 4, 2021

PARIS (Reuters) – Tamara Zidansek gave up a future as a snowboarder because she could not stand the cold and after reaching her first Grand Slam fourth round on Friday it looks to have been a wise choice.

The 23-year-old Slovenian, ranked 85th in the world, continued to blossom in the warmer clime of Paris’s Bois de Boulogne as she stormed back from a dreadful start to beat Katerina Siniakova 0-6 7-6(5) 6-2.

Having never gone past the second round of a Slam, she now has the chance to reach the quarter-finals here where she will face either Daria Kasatkina or Sorana Cirstea — both unseeded.

Asked about her Alpine ambitions as a child growing up in mountainous Slovenia, she said: “First I skied. But we lived like 20 minutes away from a ski resort. It was just normal for us to go there every weekend.

“I chose tennis because I was really cold snowboarding. Oh, my God, I don’t like the cold weather at all. It was fun to do at first, and then I saw an opportunity to make something out of this. So I just went for it, I guess.”

Zidansek, who is studying for a degree in psychology through the WTA’s University of Indiana programme and lives part of the year in Qatar, says the draw is now wide open with so many big names falling by the wayside in the first six days.

“I guess it opens up the draw a little bit more, but even in these times with women’s tennis, I think it’s an open draw all the time,” she said.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Mike Harrison)