Even though they started their partnership only in March, Timea Babos and Yaroslava Shvedova have qualified to the WTA Finals of Singapore thanks to a series of positive results, including a final in Indian Wells and, most remarkably, one in Wimbledon, defeating en route the world number ones Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza. The duo will start its quest to the title by taking on Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova, but it is clear that they are not afraid of the challenge. Playing against a team that is known for their funny off court moments, it would not surprise that Babos and Shvedova themselves put up a little banter during the draw ceremony as they busted out laughing after Mattek-Sands mimed the ‘watch out’ gesture for fun.
For the Hungarian this is her second consecutive appearance at the Finals and she couldn’t be more delighted: “Definitely, it was already a great experience for me last year to be here. To qualify again this year with Yaroslava is very special. You feel the difference in how well we are treated here and it is very worthy to play here and be at the top of the game is an amazing feeling as well as an amazing opportunity”
Shvedova is also looking forward to giving her best, especially after last year she could not compete: “I am happy to finally participate here, because last year I qualified with Casey [Dellacqua] as number 4 team, but unfortunately my partner got injured and I was here for only like a day and a half, then I left because I didn’t have reasons to stay. But now I am happy to be here to play with Timea. As she said it is a great tournament and everything is perfect here: it really is the greatest tournament for women’s tennis”.
But what does it mean to qualify for the second year in a row, but with different partners? “It is interesting”, said Babos: “You know, Slava has more experience, she has already won grand slam titles and is a great player. I am a bit younger and I have less experience so for me it is amazing to make it, but it is weird at the same time to do it two years in a row with different people”. Shvedova shared the same excitement, but also pointed at the importance of off-court bonds to the success of a team: “It also shows that we are great players… it depends on the partner of court, but no matter who we play with, if together we match and there is friendship there, we can succeed”.
Compared to last year, the format has changed again, but for the twenty-three year old it only means they will need to be fully ready from the first ball: “Well, it makes it more difficult and you have to be ready from the first point. There is a chance that we came all the way here to play for one hour and go home. But of course it shows how people handle the pressure and who has the better form at the moment and it is going to be exciting”.
Having had a great season together, there could be several memories together, but for both the highlight was one without a doubt. “Wimbledon!” Exclaimed Babos in excitement: “For me it’s 100% sure, we had such great tennis together, lots of fun and the final was great playing the Williams sisters!” And Shvedova went on the explain why: “We played very well in many many matches and beating the first seeds on the way… playing Venus and Serena on the centre court is a great feeling”.
We can see both having great fun on court and even though off court they are great fans, the two underlined how the craziest things they do happen to be always when on the same side of the net. “I think we have more crazy moments on the court, for sure,” said Babos: “Like me being nervous and shaky and Slava trying to calm me down by offering me different kind of foods and things like this…”
“To distract her from tennis! This is what we do on court…” explained Shvedova by barely containing her laugh.
“Food is the way for me, you can easily get me with it!” Concluded the Hungarian at this point laughing loudly.
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