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“Set a goal, go for it, and everything will work out.” The future star of beach tennis grows in Russia

Date: June 25, 2024 Time: 14:52:38

The fragile 14-year-old Diana Izraileva is perhaps the protagonist of the championship and the Russian beach tennis championship that ended in Rybinsk. Only she managed to win two gold medals in one tournament, and even stop one step away from getting among the final four of the strongest adult couples in the country.

The tournament has just ended, and Diana and her partner Nastya Stepanyuk, with whom they won the final at the U-17 category, are again in the “golden” arena for them at the local stadium of the Zvezda sports complex – no one has canceled the training programmed. In a few days, the girls will play the next tournament, so this time it’s a gentle lesson: only two hours. After completing the training process, Nastya and Diana stayed to tell Soviet Sport about their performance at the national championship, about beach tennis and, of course, about themselves.

– Diana, which victory is more important to you, in pairs or in mixed doubles?

– The victory paired with Nastya, of course, is more important and priority. We have been doing it for so many years, we have taken third place more than once at the Russian championships, and now we finally did it. This year we really trained a lot, we prepared tactically, we tuned in. So this gold is worth a lot. And it was nice to win the mixed.

Diana Izraileva and Anastasia Stepanyuk during the award ceremony

– Tell us how your partner appeared?

– Nastya: – We are both from Rybinsk, we met here, trained, and then decided to try to play in pairs. And it immediately began to work – they began to successfully play tournament after tournament, won medals at the Russian championship. Turns out we’ve been playing together for 4 years.

– In the final we meet your main rivals. Did you prepare in any way?

Diana: – Fundamental – that’s for sure. We have known them for a long time, we have played dozens of matches, and if we calculate the overall result, it will be 50-50 in terms of wins.

Nastya: – More recently, at the World Championships in Italy, we lost to them in the semifinals. Just a little bit was not enough, then they easily won in the final and became champion, and we only got third place. But now the Rybinsk houses have taken revenge.

Diana: – We specially prepared for the final with them. With our coach Sergei Dmitrievich Nazarov, we analyzed both his and our mistakes a lot, prepared various combinations. Therefore, everything went well.

Give three brief descriptions of your coach. It can be in one word.

— (Smiling) Responsive. Strong will. He always supports us, despite all the mistakes. Even in the tournament, he tries to give hints, although it is forbidden by the rules. Gestures, facial expressions (laughs).

Diana, how did your champion pairing with Arseniy Tarasov turn out?

– Yes, they just canceled, that’s all. I wanted to play with him, he wanted to play with me. We already did several tournaments with him, we played well, we began to understand each other better, to feel ourselves on the court. And now the result came in the championship of Russia.

– In the final you had to play against Nastya. How does it feel?

– Emotionally very difficult. I know her weaknesses, she is mine, so no one had any advantage here. Somewhere, maybe we were a little lucky, somewhere we turned out to be a little stronger, but even from the score (7: 5, 7: 5) you can understand that the game was as intense as possible. So this year we were stronger, but next year it could be different.

– Nastya, what emotions did you have after the final?

– Of course, it was a bit insulting, nobody likes to lose. And on the other hand, I’m glad you have such a strong partner, because we are mainly focusing on playing in pairs.

Diana Izraileva and Anastasia Stepanyuk during the Russian championship in Rybinsk

– Do you have time for school? Who is in what class?

Nastya: – Diana definitely has enough, she is an excellent student. I went to ninth grade. And I finished ninth, so to speak, a good student. I am going to enter the Pedagogical College, physical education.

How to learn to win the biggest tournaments and be an outstanding student?

Diana: – The main thing is to set a specific goal and go towards it. Then everything will work out. I would like to finish the 9th grade perfectly to get a red certificate, I will do my best to achieve it. But if suddenly something does not work out, I will not be upset, I plan to continue studying until grade 11 and enter the university.

Diana Izraileva and Anastasia Stepanyuk during the Russian championship in Rybinsk

What are your sports plans for the future?

Nastya: – The next ones – we are going to Kazan for a tournament, we want to show a good result there. No worse than in Rybinsk (smile). Then Samara will host the Russian championship in the under-19 category, it will be more difficult there, but we want to at least take a prize.

Then our conversation continued with a certain Diana.

– Tell us how and when you came to play tennis and why beach tennis?

– Initially, I was engaged in tennis, my parents took me there at the age of 5. After 3-4 years in a summer sports camp, I got acquainted with beach tennis and really got hooked on it. At first I tried to combine training sessions there and there, but later, due to a series of circumstances, I finally opted for the beach one. I began to fully train, it began to work, and then Nastya appeared, and almost immediately good results came.

What led you to beach tennis?

– I dont even know. It was more of an emotional choice, I love summer more and beach tennis is a very hot sport. And I really like running in the sand.

Diana Izraileva and Anastasia Stepanyuk with diploma and awards

– Who was your first coach?

– In tennis – Irina Leonidovna Lukina, it seems to me that she is the first coach of all children in Zvezda (smiles). In beach tennis – Sergey Dmitrievich Nazarov. She is still my coach. In the course of his career, she also studied with Dmitry Ivanov and Alexei Lukin.

– You and Nastya have already said that coach Nazarov is sympathetic and strong-spirited, but what if we assess professional qualities?

– I would probably put it in one word: competent. I feel and understand that working with him you can constantly develop and improve your results.

How many workouts do you have per week?

– From Monday to Friday – every day. Saturday and Sunday are days off. Trainings last 2-3 hours on average.

What are you doing for 3 hours?

– Standard training looks like this: a full warm-up, then we practice all kinds of blows and tactical work: we analyze situations that may arise on the court, we study our own mistakes. Sometimes we play sparring. In fact, 2-3 hours is not so much, time flies by unnoticed.

Do you watch videos of your own matches or other people’s?

— Of course, it is essential. Especially your games, because this is one of the best options to analyze your own mistakes. You see them clearly and then in the game you understand how not to play. And do not allow unnecessary losses.

Do you know your weaknesses?

– Certainly. The main problem, probably, is the reception through the center. Often we still can’t fully figure out who to play.

Award ceremony to Diana Izraileva and Anastasia Stepanyuk

— Your mother said that you suddenly decided to play tennis. So that?

Yes, I have had these thoughts recently. My dad and I played tennis once, and suddenly I had the desire to fully play it and train, of course. So I decided to try to play at least for myself first, and then we’ll see.

– Do you want to try again to combine both disciplines?

“I think I can do it now.

– Outside of sport, where do you see yourself?

— I haven’t decided on a profession yet, but in general I like learning languages. English, for example, is good.

Does knowledge of English help in tournaments outside of Russia?

– Definitely. I can communicate relatively freely on it, it’s definitely enough for the everyday level. Some in-depth topics are still hard to find, but this is a matter of time.

What would you like to win especially in beach tennis?

– I want everything. Now we prioritize tournaments in our age category – this is the next Russian championship and the world championship in the under-17 and under-19 categories. Although the task to perform as well as possible in adult tournaments and already seriously compete for prizes, Nastya and I did not go away from ourselves.

– Do you know anything about the international competitions this year?

– Now there are no details in the plans, it is almost impossible to go somewhere to play. Of course, we have next year’s world championship in mind, it’s hard to talk about anything else.

– Who bears the costs of your participation in world championships?

– This year the tournament was held in Italy, so all the expenses for our trip and performance there were borne by the Russian Tennis Federation. If we are talking about national competitions, then our sports school helps, from there some expenses are covered, but you have to pay something out of your own pocket. That is, from the parents (smiles).

Diana Izraileva and Anastasia Stepanyuk during the Russian championship in Rybinsk

How do your parents feel about your hobby?

– They totally support me, they come to all the competitions, they cheer me on. In general, a serious incentive arises from them, which motivates me to continue and try to improve. Often kind words alone are enough to keep you going. And, of course, no one forces me.

Is your sister also an athlete?

Yes, she nothing. She also started playing tennis as a child, but she didn’t like it at all. But she found herself in another sport and at eight years old she is very happy. Her parents also go to the competitions with her and also support her as much as possible.

– You said that you would study at school until grade 11 and then go to university. Will you stay in Rybinsk or…?

– No, I want to move to a big city like Moscow or St. Petersburg and study there. And exercise, of course.

Why a big city?

— There are more opportunities, more possibilities for implementation. Serious and prestigious universities, the best education. In general, it’s great when there is a choice, that is, in big cities it is the largest.

– Do you have a dream?

– That’s why it’s a dream, so as not to tell anyone about her (smiles). Probably, it is good to play, to achieve the maximum result, but it all sounds very banal. I want to take the first line of the world ranking, but this is such a big dream that you just need to make it a goal and go for it. And then you can do it yourself.

— Have you ever tested yourself as a couple with foreign partners?

– Last year, when Nastya and I took first place at the world championship, I played with a foreign guy in mixed doubles. He is from Spain, but my knowledge of English helped us to understand each other calmly.

– Did you feel the difference in the game?

– Yes. In Russia, everyone plays approximately the same way, everyone has a similar style, but in other countries the players move differently, the technique is different. And this difference, rather, interfered with me. Yeah, and probably him too. I would love to train abroad for a while to learn other styles and techniques, understand the differences between outside and inside, get to know their mentality. It’s a great experience, and it only helps.

Do you have an idol or player that you would like to be like?

– I probably don’t have an idol, but in the game I would like to be like Giulia Gasparri, she is Italian and now she is the first number in the world ranking. She has a magical technique.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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