Lina Gjorcheska: “I love doubles and playing at the net. My federation? It has never helped me”

Italian version
In cooperation with Giulio Gasparin
Among the protagonists of the women $25.000 ITF ChiassOpen, one surely has to name Lina Gjorcheska from FYROM. The 22 year old is about to break back into the world’s best 200 players in the singles rankings (her career best sits at 187) and in Switzerland has conquered the doubles’ title, while on her singles venture she was stopped by the eventual finalist, Katinka Von Deichmann, in the quarter finals. The best ever ranked player from her country (men included), Gjorcheska was also the first player from Macedonia to play a Grand Slam qualification match, but she wants more: a quarter final in Chiasso was not a full success for her, as she knows her powerful, yet various game can give her bigger results. Though a shy and nice girl off court, the Macedonian demands a strong personality from herself on court, where she often takes the initiative with assaults to the net and drop shots.
In this week in Chiasso you won your 36th title in doubles, while you lost in quarterfinals in singles. Are you satisfied anyway about your week?
In singles I am not satisfied at all. I wanted to play much better than that, but I came here after some weeks in hard indoor and here it’s a slower clay than usual, it wasn’t easy to adapt my game.
You lost in quarterfinals to eventual runner up Kathinka Von Deichmann. You also won the 2nd set 6-0 before losing in the decider. What happened after that 6-0?
I tried to play more aggressive than usual, cause she was putting the ball in the court all the time. She wasn’t risking and I wanted to end the point with more aggressive shots and that is why I started to make so many errors, mostly with my forehand.
Considering the high number of titles you achieved in doubles, how much does doubles help your singles career? What do you like the most about doubles?
Doubles doesn’t help my singles career much [laughter]. It is a completely different situation to have 4 players on court and in doubles the net skills and the volley skills are key factors. In singles you don’t have to use net skills that much, but playing at the net is what I like the most about doubles. This is also why in singles I try many times to end the points at the net, as you could see also against Von Deichmann, when we closed the points at the net so many times!
Coming from such a small country as Macedonia must have positive but also negative sides. What do you think about this?
First of all, basically I am the only one from Macedonia. I mean, it could be a positive side if you think about it, after all I am the best one from Macedonia [laughter]. But it is tough, I don’t have any help from Federation, I don’t know anyone of Federation, I don’t even know if someone actually exist in Federation…
At least you have a key role for Macedonian tennis, since you are setting many records: first one to play a slam qualification tournament, the best one ever in achieved position in ranking. You must be proud.
Playing slam qualification tournaments is surely something I am proud of. I played for the first time in UsOpen last year. It was a bit shocking for me to be there, I was like “what’s going on?”, “how will I play there?” and so on. But this year I played in Australian Open and I was more prepared and more confident. I did a pretty good job, I won two rounds, lost in last round to Voegele, the first seed, despite being 2-0 up in decider. It was definitely positive.
Tell me more about your season and about your goals in the short period.
After Australian Open I got injured, I couldn’t play for two months and after Australia this is my third tournament I think. The rank is improving anyway and now I am trying to find again the right rhythm in the match. Playing all Grand Slam is surely the first goal for this season.
And who is Lina Gjorcheska off court? Help us to discover you a bit more.
Let’s start with hobbies… eh hobbies [laughter]: if you are a professional tennis player you don’t have much time for hobbies. I don’t look like that, but I am a very shy person and surely not that aggressive, also on court you can see that. I know I should be have a more aggressive personality, in a positive way, like more confident. This is surely one of my problems in tennis.
Last question, you said you are the only one from your nation, but who are your best friends in the ITF and WTA tour?
Luckily I have so many good friends. Mostly they are from Balkans, we are helped by the same language we speak. Usually we try to train together or play together in doubles anywhere we go. I cannot say one or two specific names, we are so many [smile]. For example here in Chiasso I played doubles with Aleksandrina Naydenova: she is a very good doubles partner, she is always positive also in tough situation, she is always supportive and I can say we worked pretty well in this week.

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