By Erwin Ong
Photo by Billie Weiss
Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova has had much success on the hard courts of the BNP Paribas Open. The two-time champion (2002, 2007) sat down to chat with us about her fantasy superpower, working with coach Peter Lundgren, and what she loves most about the desert.
BNPPO: As a two-time champion, what do you like about Indian Wells?
DH: It’s such an incredible place and it’s one of my favorite tournament. I know we tennis players always say “this is my favorite tournament” but this really is my favorite tournament in the world. Even just the scenery – you look around, you see the mountains, and the beautiful golf courses. The moment you arrive, it just makes you feel so good being here.
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BNPPO: Speaking of golf, you’re a bit of a golfer. Do you get a chance to work on your golf out here?
DH: I always make sure I’ll get some holes in. I haven’t had time yet this year. Can’t wait to be out there. There are some very special places to play on. I love the sport. It’s a great way to relax and get away from it all.
BNPPO: What is your off-court style?
DH: I think it’s about just being yourself, so whatever that means for everybody. Everyone has different styles. I always like to keep it simple and not overdo it. I just like to be casual with a few accessories to make it a bit more interesting.
BNPPO: Have you had a chance to try any of the new restaurants on the grounds?
DH: I haven’t yet. I go to my favorite sushi spot around the corner from the stadium. And obviously Ristorante Mamma Gina’s where I have been many, many times.
But Nobu is on top of my priority list. I’m hoping to go there soon.
BNPPO: What are your hobbies off the court?
DH: Just being with my family, friends hanging around. Talking about normal stuff.
BNPPO: And playing the piano?
DH: Yes, I’ve been playing a lot more recently.
BNPPO: Your favorite piece?
DH: That’s tough to say. When I was starting, I used to play a lot of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, so I would say it’s something classic.
BNPPO: So you’ve started working with legendary coach Peter Lundgren. How would you do his hair differently?
DH: [Laughing] I wouldn’t change a thing about him. He’s such an amazing guy. I am so thankful for the opportunity. I can’t even say how happy I am. Every moment with him has been extremely helpful. I still cant believe I have him in my team. He’s such a great, fantastic coach and also as a person.
BNPPO: If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
DH: To be invisible.
Thanks for chatting with us, Daniela!