I was given a great opportunity to interview Bethanie Mattek Sands and she did a great job answering my questions. I believe you'll enjoy the interview. Bethanie seems to prefer the way men's tennis players are dressed, she has quite a few very good friends on the WTA Tour in the times when camaraderie is very rare in professional tennis, and I also got to ask her what she thinks of the attitude of the Williams sisters towards participation in the Fed Cup. Enjoy!
You are famous for your tennis clothes, I've recently even made a short overview of them, so what's your favorite outfit you have worn on the tennis court?
One of my favorites was my initial high sock outfit back a few years ago at Wimbledon against Venus. I've kind of made it my staple this past year along with my Under Armour gear. Next season I'm hoping to add some more colors and designs though. DryMax makes the high tennis socks especially for me so we'll see what we can come up with for next year.
Whose on-court fashion style do you like?
I think Nike does a great job with Rafa! All his colors are coordinated, from wrist bands to shoes, and considering he's extremely superstitious I'm willing to bet his undies are matching too! I'm loving all the neon colors he was wearing this year but I think what makes his style even better is that Roger is polar opposite!
Can you tell us something about the tattoos on your right arm? Are those the only ones you have?
The ink on my forearm is a swarm of bees. When I was young my nickname was killer bee and believe it or not now that I have a few inked on me I can't bring myself to swat at or step on any of the little buggers! The flowers on my bicep are water lilies and along with being one of my favorite flowers it means enlightenment and change, so its kind of my own personal zen garden. I have one more (for now) and its my husband name scrawled on the inside of my left ring finger. Awwww! He has my name too!
Is there some player on the Tour that you, for whatever reason, simply hate to see as your next or possible opponent in the draw?
I think the hardest girls to play are your friends. I'm lucky that the girls I'm close to keep business on the court and don't take the competition personally.
Can you name some of your best friends on the Tour? I recently read that Sania Mirza is one of them, where does Jelena Jankovic stand?
I've always gotten close with my doubles partners, Sania, Jelena, Nadia, YanZi, Meg just to name a few, but honestly I like to think I'm friends with a lot of the girls on tour… Mel and Jilly are great and we always end up practicing at most the tournaments we're all at. The Americans are a pretty tight group but it's neat having friends from everywhere. Timi's from Switzerland, Iveta and Barbora are from Czech, Julia's German, Edina and Sorana got Romania covered and all the Italians crack me up… But honestly I feel kind of bad because I'm one of the few that only speaks one language!
What do you think of the journalists' habit to raise too much dust around young players doing well at tournaments, like in the cases of Melanie Oudin and Beatrice Capra at the US Open?
Everyone is always looking for the next young phenom, not just in tennis, in every sport! So I think it's standard. Every young kid that rises to a pedestal quick always has given up a little of their childhood and is forced to grow up fast. The best thing they can do is have a good team around them to help handle the pressure and stress. I think Mel had a great year considering how much pressure and expectation was put on her. As one of my good friends, I think she's had a great attitude and worked hard through it all.
What do you think of the Williams sisters' participation in the Fed Cup? A lot of people are arguing it's unfair of them to show up only when they have to, in order to be eligible to play the Olympics?
Well it does seem unfair considering Fed Cup is a team event, but at the same time, they are the top ranked Americans. I think if you had to point a finger at something it would be the rule. Why is it only 1 appearance in 4 years? Why not a full season, however many matches it ends up being? Like I've said before the US core group of Liezel, Mel and myself, along with some other keen young Americans, have gotten to 2 finals in a row. As cliche as it sounds, I consider it an honor to be able to play for my country.
Nashville – can you tell us more about the Nashville flood fundraising you're doing? How did it start? Why Nashville? How much has been raised?
Well first off, Nashville was where my very first USTA national event took place, I was in the 14's and my whole family piled in the van and drove down from Wisconsin. But it's also an awareness to know that there are folks right here in the US that are having hard times, down on their luck, and need some help, and I think some of these issues get overlooked by all the International turmoil that goes on as well. Too many times I think people lose track of the amount of good they can do in their own country, state or even neighborhood. As far as the money count goes I think I'm around $9,000. I kind of lost track throughout my hectic schedule but I figured if I kept winning it would keep going up!