Timea Bacsinszky's journey from kitchen to tennis court
Paris: There was a little disappointment and a few tears as first-time Grand Slam semi-finalist Timea Bacsinszky left the French Open after a three-set defeat to Serena Williams on Thursday.
A defeat on the tennis court is humbling, but it is nothing compared to facing rants by unsatisfied clientele at hotels.
The Swiss player knows it well. Fed up of her time trapped inside the white lines of the court, she had interned at a few hotels, washing up plates and making beds before she found her way back into the game.
“Sometimes they were talking really badly to me, I was like, ‘Okay, I didn’t do anything wrong, but, well..’,” the 25-year-old recalls.
“I was all the time asking that at least they don’t give their anger on me because they are stressed.”
Though a little extreme, she says it was one way of experiencing life outside the tennis bubble.
“It taught me humility,” says Bacsinszky, who started playing at the age of three and was touted as a child prodigy.
The other side
“When you’re a tennis player, everything is already given to you. You don’t see all the people, who are working for you. And then I learned to be maybe on the other side. It was just to be once treated as someone normal.
“I mean, not all the time to have those VIP pass and to have the luck: first in a row. Now I think I’m also maybe a better person with all those people, which are also working behind the scenes. I try to tip them, because I was really happy when I got tipped.” She insisted to her work colleagues and boss to not make any special concessions for her.
Bacsinszky though had to take time off work when she received an email from the French Open informing that she had made the cut for the qualifying tournament in 2013.
Hwo years down the line and she was playing the semi-finals at Roland Garros.
“Even then I was trying to clean the plates quicker than my colleague,” she says. “I always had this thing for competition.
“I have never worked on myself for my tennis,” she said. “I worked on myself because I think it makes the life easier if you have more peace inside of you. Then you get angry fewer times in a day.
“Then you lose less energy. You feel better when you go to sleep. You just enjoy more your life. I have never thought it would help maybe my tennis so much... But, well, it looks like it helps.”