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3 - 11 feb. 2024 Cluj-Napoca

Anna Blinkova: “My life completely changed after winning the Transylvania Open”

We spoke with Anna Blinkova, the 2022 champion from Cluj, about what has changed in her career after the success that she achieved here two years ago, as well as her expectations at Transylvania Open 2024.

Anna, welcome back to Cluj! How important was your 2022 Transylvania Open win? What has changed for you after winning the tournament here two editions ago?

The 2022 win was absolutely incredible! Throughout that year I had dreamed of being in the Top 100. I was thinking about it all the time, I was obsessed with the idea and I couldn’t win a single match. There was so much pressure on me that I couldn’t find myself. In October 2022, I had reached the 140th place. Until the end of the year, I had to play in Cluj-Napoca, plus two more tournaments. I had already carried over the dream of reaching the top 100 for the next season. At that moment, I suddenly felt relaxed. When the first list of the Cluj tournament appeared, I was 14th out of the qualifying places and I think I had the confirmation of entry into the competition barely an hour before the sign-in deadline. In the end, I won the tournament coming from the qualifiers. I was very relaxed throughout the tournament, I had no expectations. And the victories began to connect miraculously. In a week, I was already in the 80th place of the WTA, my dream had come true! And the following year I was playing on the main draw at the Australian Open and the other Grand Slam tournaments.

So my life changed completely after the Cluj 2022 moment. I realized what is mentality that I should have to play at this level. Of course, this mentality is not easy to maintain at all times, because there is always stress, there are always expectations, there is always pressure. But now I try to find my calm self, I try not to overwhelm myself with expectations.

How is the Transylvanian Open 2024 experience for you, how is this year’s tournament?

I already said that it is the best WTA250 tournament even before it was officially voted. The organization is at the highest level. The players’ lounge we’re in right now is the best players’ lounge in the world. There are as many sofas as you want, you have enough places to relax, snacks and fruits everywhere, muesli, juice, coffee, barista, you have everything! There are massage chairs, there were also some video games at one point. Then there are the playing courts that are beautiful: I love the colors, black and purple, they are just magnificent for a women’s tournament, and I love the surface. The gym is very important for any tennis event, and the one here is big, I am used to doing sprints, and here you can also do that. Let alone talking about the facilities, they are excellent. The hotel is right next door. I also like the cars: you feel like a queen when you get into a Porsche. The city center is not far either, on Sunday I went for a walk through Unirii Square. I like the Toulouse restaurant, maybe it’s because I started living and training in France recently, and also all my team is French.

What do you think of this year’s draw? Many say this is the best draw in Transylvanian Open history.

Indeed, there are a lot of really good players, there are big tennis names even in the “qualies”. Many good players come to compete here because they like this tournament. We all come here to enjoy the atmosphere and we all try to stay as long as possible. We are all here to win (smiles).