In July, the Junior Race to Singapore took a short break from Asia-Pacific as it headed to Kazakhstan in Central Asia. Playing their qualifying tournament on clay, Yelizaveta Karlova and Takhmina Zhanatova each earned a spot to represent their nation in the U14 and U16 categories respectively at the WTA Future Stars event in Singapore this October. Kazakhstan joins the competing field for a second time, making it a grand total of 21 countries taking part in the event this year.
“I am very excited to compete among the top players in the region at the WTA Future Stars event in Singapore. I am honored to be able to represent my country and am confident I will not let my supporters down,” said Karlova when she spoke to the WTA Finals team.
Standing tall at 5’6”, the 14 year-old was beaming when she spoke about her tennis idol. She expressed respect for all the players on the WTA tour and admits that she tries to learn as much as she can from each player’s strengths.
Karlova’s favorite player, Garbine Muguruza, has taught her how to be mature in the sport and to behave with grace. She pays attention to the way Muguruza acts on court and how she deals with losses. Karlova believes in giving back to the community and hopes to be able to inspire other players to achieve their dreams one day, just like her idol Muguruza has been inspiring her.
Karlova’s father is an avid tennis fan and plays the sport recreationally. Growing up watching her father on the court motivated her to pick up a racket and learn the sport herself. What she loves most about tennis is the fact that it brings life to people. It shows a person’s determination and true character in the way they handle themselves during matches.
“Every moment is considered and you have to give your best throughout. I never give up”, Karlova said, donning a confident smile. She is certain that she will do her best to make her country proud.
Zhanatova, too, cannot wait to be in Singapore!
“I am very proud and happy to be representing my country. It will be the start of my tennis career and I believe this experience will be beneficial to improving my game and being the best I can be,” she said to the WTA Finals team.
When asked how she got into the sport, Zhanatova could not stop giggling.
“Tennis is actually my mother’s favorite sport. She wanted me to play tennis. I was so young, I did not understand anything so I just followed her! But now I am really happy I am here. Tennis gives me a sense of satisfaction and makes me feel good”, the 15 year-old explained.
She enjoys the range of emotions tennis makes her feel. From happiness, to excitement, to nervousness, she has felt it all and credits the sport for teaching her how to be a better person. She also takes cues on how to handle herself from her idol, Maria Sharapova. She likes Sharapova’s attitude and professionalism on court and her desire to just go for every ball.
Thus far in her tennis journey, her most cherished memories come from the tournament she played in Doha, Qatar. It was one of her first tournaments and she defied all odds to attain the result she had. She always looks back fondly on her memories in Doha and hopes to make new memories in Singapore too.
The WTA Finals team wishes both Karlova and Zhanatova the best in their preparation for the WTA Future Stars event in Singapore!
The WTA Future Stars event is held in conjunction with the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global. Catch the WTA Future Stars U14 and U16 Finals on 22 October before the opening ceremony of WTA Finals for free. Click here to get your tickets to the WTA Finals.