Viktoriya Tomova: Exclusive Interview with Bulgaria's No. 1 Female Tennis Star

Sports |Author: Diana Kavardzhikova | June 7, 2024, Friday // 15:11|  views

Viktoriya Tomova

Bulgarian professional tennis player Viktoriya Tomova has been steadily climbing the ranks of the WTA Tour since her debut in 2017. The current No. 1 Bulgarian female player, Tomova reached a career-high singles ranking of world No. 64 in February 2024. Her journey has been marked by significant milestones, including her first Grand Slam main draw appearance at the 2018 Australian Open, her maiden WTA Tour semifinal in 2021, and her first WTA 125 title in Chicago in 2023. Tomova's resilience and determination have seen her make strides in all four Grand Slams, achieve her first top-20 win at the 2024 French Open, and reach the top 65 in the rankings. With a growing list of accomplishments and a promising trajectory, Tomova is poised to make an even greater impact on the world of tennis.

In an exclusive sit-down with our media, rising tennis star Viktoriya Tomova opens up about her journey to the top of Bulgarian tennis and her aspirations on the global stage.

What inspired you to start playing tennis and what has kept you motivated all these years?

My tennis journey began at the tender age of six, inspired by my father's passion for the sport. In those early days, tennis was simply a game to me - a fun pastime that filled my childhood with joy. But everything changed after my first tournament. The exhilaration of competition, the thrill of victory - these emotions were unlike anything I had ever experienced. It was then that I realized tennis wasn't just a game; it was a calling, a pursuit that ignited a fire within me that still burns brightly today.

Your ranking has increased over the past few years, culminating in breaking into the top 65 in February 2024. What are the key factors behind this steady progress?

Throughout my career, I've often said that success doesn't come easily for me - it's always been a result of sheer hard work and determination. My stubbornness has been my greatest ally, pushing me to persevere even when the path seemed daunting. As an individual, I pride myself on my diligence and precision, traits that have been instrumental in honing my natural talent. Recognizing the critical role of mental fortitude in tennis, I made the decision two years ago to start working with a sports psychologist. This step has been transformative, as the mental aspect of the game is just as crucial as physical skill.

How do you deal with the pressure and expectations towards you as Bulgaria's top female tennis player?

Being Bulgaria's top-ranked female tennis player doesn't weigh on me as pressure; instead, I see it as an honor to represent my nation on the global stage. This responsibility doesn't burden me - it fuels me. My focus isn't on titles or rankings, but on giving my absolute best in every match, every point. For me, it's about embodying the resilience and spirit of Bulgaria in every game I play.

What are the biggest personal compromises you have made for the sport?

There are a lot of them. The journey to pro tennis has demanded significant personal sacrifices, chief among them being the limited time I spend with my family. My childhood was unconventional, often spent training or competing. Yet, as I stand on the verge of realizing my long-held dreams, I can say with certainty that every sacrifice has been worthwhile. The joy of achieving these aspirations far outweighs the unconventional path I took to get here.

What personal qualities of yours do you consider most responsible for your success on the court?

My success stems from a blend of diligence, consistency, and sheer stubbornness. While I do experience moments of frustration, it's my resilience that defines me. I have this knack for turning setbacks into fuel, returning to the court not just recovered, but reinvigorated. It's this ability to transform frustration into motivation that I consider my greatest strength on the tennis court.

You have qualified for various Grand Slam tournaments many times so far. What role does mental preparation play in your training and how do you maintain your mental health?

Qualifying for tournaments multiple times has been a testament to both my physical skills and mental fortitude. I've come to realize that mental preparation is as crucial as physical training. To maintain my mental edge, I employ a variety of techniques and exercises. However, my most effective strategy is carving out time for solitude, particularly in nature. These brief escapes allow me to reset, refocus, and return to the court with renewed clarity and determination. It's in these quiet moments amidst nature that I find the mental resilience needed to compete at the highest levels of tennis.

As a Bulgarian tennis player, you undoubtedly inspired many ambitious athletes in Bulgaria. What advice would you give to young players looking to develop a career in professional tennis?

Representing Bulgaria, I hope to inspire our nation's young athletes. My message to aspiring tennis professionals is simple: success demands hard work, passion, and resilience in the face of failure. Bulgaria is rich with talent, but talent alone isn't enough. It's the courage to chase your dreams despite setbacks that truly matters. Remember, every champion started with a dream they refused to abandon. So, hold onto yours. The journey is tough, but the triumph is worth it.

Looking ahead, what are your goals and aspirations? Are there specific tournaments you want to participate in?

Currently, I'm focused on two key objectives: breaking into the world's top 50 and clinching a WTA 250 title. These aren't just targets; they're the next crucial steps in my journey, providing the validation, confidence, and momentum I need to push towards even greater heights in this sport.

Finally, with your continued growth and success in the sport, how do you balance the competitive nature of tennis with maintaining a healthy lifestyle and how do you distract yourself in your free time?

I've learned the importance of balance. Success on the court is vital, but so is nurturing my well-being off it. Amidst the whirlwind of tournaments and training, I find solace in simple pleasures: losing myself in the rhythms of music, escaping into the narratives of films, or immersing myself in audiobooks. These aren't just distractions; they're essential respites that recharge my mind and spirit. When the calendar allows, my ultimate retreat is to the tranquility of the mountains or the serenity of a spa. These moments of peace are increasingly rare luxuries, but they're investments in my longevity and performance. It's this delicate balance - the fire of competition tempered by moments of calm - that I believe will sustain me through the rigors of a long and successful tennis career.

We remind you that, Viktoriya Tomova managed to secure a spot in the upcoming Paris Olympics, according to the Bulgarian Tennis Federation (BFT). The official singles lineup will be announced on June 10, but Tomova is expected to qualify. Under International Tennis Federation (ITF) regulations, 56 players are chosen based on rankings, with an additional spot available as France won't use its home quota due to having two players in the top 50. This allows more players, including Tomova, to qualify, despite fierce competition with numerous American, Russian, Czech, Chinese, and Ukrainian athletes already in the mix.

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Tags: Tomova, Bulgaria, tennis, court


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