sep 1

Lilia Osterloh's Tennis Interview

Do you think that you can get your ranking back up to where it was a couple of years ago? Knowing you, I assume you will say yes. If so, are you training differently now compared to when you first turned pro? Good luck and hope to see you at Scarborough again some time! "Us Columbus folks" are always bragging about you out here on this forum and we certainly are proud of you.

Lilia Osterloh: When I first turned pro in 1997 I was the up and coming and everything was new and exciting and nothing stopped me to reach #41. I have to work even harder now to set the bar for my fitness to be above the rest. The game has changed and there was a turning point when I knew I had to adapt to come back into top 100. I feel I'm a much better player now at #77 than when I was #41. That's how much the women's game has come along and the depth is increasing.

Kara: What do you think of Sharapova's decision to produce her own T.V. show about the WTA?

Lilia Osterloh: I think a few of the top 10 players have branched out into other fields or endeavors.

I'm sure Maria has excellent writers surrounding her and I hope the show will enable the viewers to see the tour's ups and downs and maybe it's not so glamorous side. I think it's a fantastic opportunity for the world to catch a glimpse of what tour life is like. I look forward to seeing the show and maybe a camio?

Dallas: We've heard that the ATP men's tour/locker room is great and that for the most part the players get along well. We've also heard just the opposite about the WTA. What is the 'real' WTA tour like as far as players getting along with each other - or not getting along with each other?

Lilia Osterloh: Well, I don't spend much time in the locker room except to gather my things. There is a lot of gossip I'm sure but maybe one day we'll have some interesting impersonations and you'll see some highlights on youTube.com in the near future. At the grand slams the locker rooms have zen-like quiet rooms, lots of flat screen tv's, internet access, food and drinks, and comfy couches and even the attendants will draw you a bath after a long match!

Pawan89: You had grown up playing tennis in a different fashion, most likely modeling your game after players like Graf, Seles and Evert. What do you think of the transformation of the game due to players like Williams(s), Davenport, Capriati and the trend just continuing with Sharapova and some recent new comers? Do you think it's a good thing for women's tennis? What impact does that have on injury prone players? Do you feel there are more injuries in women's tennis now as opposed to before the time of the big hitters? How do you feel your game has had to change, or how she has adapted if at all to fit in and how much success has it brought you?

Lilia Osterloh: I think with the new technology the game has made great strides. It's taken some of the older players to make adjustments with the way they actually swing the racket through the air. I've just been trying some Luxilon strings combined with Gosen in my new HEAD radical racket and I really like it. I feel like I haven't been able to come to the net as much because players can hit winners from anywhere in the court with such powerful and light rackets.

Babblelot: I'd like to know what you (and other current players) think about women playing best-of-5-sets in majors. Let me preface this by stating up front that I like to speculate on this forum about this, and other topics, most notably the return of the serve and volley to the men's game. So if you'll indulge me for a moment, here are my thoughts.

First, fans tend to have selective memories when considering best-of-5-sets. Everyone recalls the few matches that reach the four hour mark during the course of a fortnight. They fail, however, to realize that the length of the typical best-of-5-sets match is in the neighborhood of 2:30 to +3:00 hours. Yet, regardless of the round, the women are on and off the court in about an hour. In fact, it's exceptional when a match approaches the 2:30 mark.

Second, and more importantly, I'll be so bold as to speculate that playing best-of-5-sets would usher in a new breed of player. Specifically, quicker women who rely on their all-court game, as the big, ball bashers would "punch" themselves out, much like a prize fighter in the early rounds of a fight.

Lilia Osterloh: In fact, I would not be opposed to playing best of 5 sets in Grand Slams but I'm not sure the fans would stick around to see the entire match. Since women have equal prize money in Grand Slams only and not the rest of the year I'm not sure why we don't play best of 5. It would add a new dimension to women's tennis.

Dmastous: When you have played Sharapova, what do you think about the noise factor, and how do you block it out?

Lilia Osterloh: Sharapova was one of the loudest players I've played or even the loudest when she's on the same row of courts. I just hope a plane flies over to muffle all the shrieking.

Alison2006: Which player do you admire the most - Past Players and Present Players?

Lilia Osterloh:
I've admired Steffi Graf for her hard work and determination and Martina Navratilova for her longevity, self-discipline, and charitable works. More recently, I've admired Kim Clijsters for her athleticism and outgoing personality and starting a family.

Bablelot: Who do you prefer playing, a Henin, Mauresmo, Hingis or Schnyder, or do you prefer playing the big ball bashing Sharapova's of the tour? By the way, I did check your head-to-head against the former "group" just to ensure that you've played all four. My original question was going to be "Henin or Sharapova", but learned that the only time you played Justine was 1999 Rockford and didn't think you could glean much from that match.

Lilia Osterloh: I've always enjoyed playing against Martina Hingis, a clever player and knew that I wasn't going to be over-powered. I look forward to play more matches with the top players especially Henin since she's #1.

Jamesdster: Do you make it back to Columbus much and if so do you still go to Scarborough? I saw you practicing there once last winter and thought you were stroking the ball incredibly well? Also, do you still keep in touch with Al (for our viewing audience, he was your coach at our club).

Lilia Osterloh:
I'm just now back in Columbus after Quebec preparing at 'home' before the 75K in Pittsburgh next week. I haven't been to Scarborough since last winter and was happy I was able to train at the club and see Al, my first coach. I love coming back to Columbus and hope I can come home more often in between tournaments next year. Seems like the tour schedule is non-stop traveling. The past 7 weeks I was in California, Slovenia, Luxemburg, Stuttgart, Sweden, Moscow, Marbella, Nice, Vienna, Bratislava, London, Quebec, Ohio. My residence is San Francisco now and don't even live there!

Blackgirltennis: Who are the most genuinely nice WTA players?" and "Who are your closest friends on tour?

Lilia Osterloh: It's tough to say who are my closest friends on tour because we are all competitors. But, I used to hang out with: Brandis Braverman, Nana Miyagi, Sandra Cacic, Allison Bradshaw, and Caroline Basu who are now retired from the tour.

Tennis4you: I would like to hear about the kind of training you do to stay in shape to compete on the tour. Do you try to keep a regular schedule of tennis and training or do you improvise day by day?

Lilia Osterloh: I train every day for my tennis and my well-being. I try to do yoga and pilates when I'm on the road. I travel with dvd's I can put in my Mac and do exercises in the room. I definitely try to keep a regular tennis schedule and in the off season take some time for a more rigorous fitness regime. I have to watch what I eat and take time for myself at the end of the day. I enjoy movies, reading, outdoors, skiing(not while on tour), playing with my dog, Rudy, family and shopping!