CitiOpen Interview: Michelle Larcher de Brito
Steve Fogleman, TennisEastCoast.com
Tonight, 19-year-old Michelle Larcher de Brito will face crowd favorite Sloane Stephens in an attempt to book a spot in the CitiOpen quarterfinals. I sat down with her on Monday, following her main draw first round match against Mirjana Lucic.
How are you holding up in the DC summer heat?
I am fortunately used to the heat, because I live in Florida.
On beating Lucic in three sets:
She started playing well. I slowed down a little bit. I managed to regain myself, cool down a little bit and stay strong in the third set.
My first serve for some reason didn’t want to work today. So, I have to be strong on the second serve or the match isn’t going to go my way.
On the surface at CitiOpen:
Hardcourt’s my favorite. I got used to it. I really like the Deco surface.
What’s it like growing up next door to a tennis powerhouse like Spain?
I played against a lot of Spaniards. They have a great game, lots of spin. I actually grew up and played until I was 9 on clay courts, before I moved to America. That may have given me a little more experience.
Weren’t you trained or coached by Nick Bollettieri?
My dad is my coach. He’s always been my coach. He never stopped doing it. My dad has supported me from day one until now. I’m really happy to practice with my dad and that he’s my full-time coach.
After ten years, is Bradenton home now?
I love Portugal, and I do miss home sometimes, but I don’t see myself living anywhere else beside Florida. I just love it there. Bradenton is so relaxed. There’s no traffic and the beaches are five minutes away. Everything is so close by. It’s a great place to live.
Grunting is in the news again. Any thoughts?
That happened to me (getting called out for grunting) three years ago. My tennis had been down. I think I’m playing better now. It is behind me now already. I just want my family there, my team to support me.
I love Washington. This is a great tournament. I love it here, so I really hope to do well.
Did you get a chance to catch any Olympics coverage?
I did. As soon as I finished my practice the day before, I went and turned on the TV to watch the opening ceremony. I watched the fireworks and went to bed a little later because I wanted to see the end.