Who is Varvara Gracheva
After Daria Kasatkina and Iga Sviontek, the Spaniard’s greatness is also recognized by the 71st racket of the world. Varvara Gracheva, the first Russian player in the WTA, has unsealed Roland Garros – 4-6, 6-4, 7-5. In the opening match she defeated Astra Sharma in a difficult three-setter. The tennis player capped off the match when she had no chance to win.
Though she was lower-ranked – №177 WTA Sharma led the game, serving hard and breaking in the corners with a nice short backhand and a line drive. If she could play a few more frames in this style, it seemed to be hers. But it was rather her lack of experience in the decisive moments that prevented her from winning the second game, she dropped two games to nil and at the same time won the hidden set point. Or maybe the mentality of the Russian player came into play? It is not for nothing that Varvara’s idol is Rafa Nadal!
And what has always separated the 21-time TBS champion from the rest of the tennis tops or tennis prodigies? That’s right! A beastly desire to play and win at any score, in any condition or condition – the phrase “not my day” simply does not exist for him. If the “ultra-c” component in the figure is quadruplets in a cascade, in tennis it is willpower: when the game absolutely falls apart, Big-3 is bailed out by his mentality and inner self-confidence to change soon. That is how Gracheva pulled the match: she was patient, brought everything back to the court and made practically no mistakes.
“If there’s anyone to admire, it’s definitely Nadal. He remains such a simple man, even with such an incredible number of Grand Slam tournaments won. I haven’t interacted with him, but I’ve seen the way he behaves on the court and in life. My coach once met him. Of course, I am also inspired by my mother,” said Gracheva.
It was she – Natalia Kazakova – who brought her daughter to the courts and was her coach until she was 14. Varvara was training at Meteor Sports Center in Zhukovsky, then moved to Germany, where she had been coached by former 79th world racket player Nina Bratchikova. Lately she’s been training in France, at the Jean-René Lisnard Academy, where she meets Daniil Medvedev from time to time. Since this is a tennis center, she has several coaches, and that’s why she plays with different specialists on tour. The main coach, however, is Jean-René Lisnard himself.
“I have a good right stroke and a short cross, a long line on the left, no particularly outstanding strokes. I like to play on the back line,” said Varvara.
Moreover, Varvara is no longer a junior, but a strong middleweight of the first hundred. In the summer of 2018 the girl moved to the pro tour, and her results quickly improved. She finished 2017 with 882 points, then her first year among adults she finished 447, and that was her debut in the second hundred.
With seven ITF titles on clay, she is a regular on the TBS – mostly first and second rounds. She managed to go beyond these stages at her favorite Paris sand – she played three rounds there in 2021. Until recently only specialists knew about Gracheva – there is no popularity in the media and among fans. So, probably, like her idol Rafa Nadal, Russia’s “WP2022” dark horse will surprise everyone.