I love it when players blog, because as a writer, I believe you can tell a lot about a person by the words they choose, the quotes that inspire them, the stories they share, and their choice of emoticons. In a new regular feature for The Changeover, I’m going to take a deep look at the blogs of the tennis pros and see if I can learn new things.
Let’s start with Sorana Cirstea, if for no other reason than she is currently blogging for the WTA site for a six week stretch, and as far as I know she is a Positive Polly. After all, this is her Twitter bio:
KINDNESS IS THE NEW BLACK!!!! Why hasn’t Adidas adopted that slogan yet?
Sorana has blogged for the WTA website three times – in Paris in 2010, at the US Open in 2012, and currently. I’m going to be honest and say that before starting this article I knew very little about Sorana. I knew that she had a big but erratic game, I knew she was BFFs with Ivanovic, I knew that she sometimes wore too much eyeliner, and I knew that our podcast friend Brodie is her biggest fan. But that’s about it.
So I had a lot to learn. I started out by checking out her beginner blogs, which I now consider her “warm-up blogs” from 2010 in Paris. While not as long or involved as her later work, she did get off to a pretty good start with a well-disguised #humblebrag and smiley-face combo. Tricky.
“I love Paris because of the style too. There are some great shops and lots of classic styles. I love the language, too. Everyone speaks to me in French here and I have the basics, because I’ve been learning it for years, but if it’s too complicated I speak to them in English :)”
In case you’re wondering how long ago 2010 was:
I have a tough first match against Melanie Oudin tomorrow. I played her in Hopman Cup this year and lost. She’s very solid.
And then the next day:
Even though I lost to Melanie today I finally feel like I found my game. I really feel like I’m getting back on track.
But here’s where Cirstea really began to set herself apart from from other tennis pro bloggers — just because she was out of the tournament didn’t mean she was out of the blogging game. Since she stayed in Paris a few days after her loss, she kept writing! On Thursday she shared her crazy ice cream adventures with her dad and brother:
Afterwards, it was really funny, we went to Haagen-Dazs and asked for the biggest ice cream possible. When we came out, at about 10:30pm, it was snowing and freezing cold. People were looking at us like we were crazy. We were laughing so much, it took us about half an hour to eat it, it was so huge.
It was two and a half long and boring years until Sorana graced us with her blogging again, this time at the 2012 US Open. When she came back she was really on her game. From her first blog back on Monday, August 27th:
This is gonna be my second time blogging for the WTA site and I’m really excited. Few people know that I love to write, so instead of putting my thoughts in my black notebook like I always do, I’ll put them here so during the US Open you guys can get a look at my inside world…
She provided some insight into her head during a rain delay, but kept things light with a perfectly-timed emoticon. 🙂
People ask me what I do during rain delays. For example, today I was in the locker room most of the time. Usually I put my headphones on with my music at maximum volume, and I try to stay by myself. I don’t like to interact with many people when I’m in a break during my match, so I can keep my focus… but don’t worry, once the match is done I’m friendly again 🙂
Then she waxed poetic about her love for tennis. I’d like to submit this paragraph for consideration for the next WTA advertising campaign:
As much as I’m trying to call tennis my job, tennis is actually my passion, my hobby, my first love – and when things are going well, no sacrifice feels big enough. Tennis has given me my biggest joys and nothing can compare with the feeling you have when you win… I would give up anything for that and for the sweet taste of victory… yep I guess I have a sweet tooth 🙂
Turns out her first blog back was a humongous hit. She got a lot of positive feedback and was really, super appreciative! She checked in again on Tuesday:
I was really happy to hear today that my first post was received very well, so thank you very much. As I’ve said I love to write so for me doing the blog this week is a pleasure! Putting my thoughts in writing gives me a lot of peace of mind and in time I realized it’s something that helps me… and to know that you guys enjoy it as well is very rewarding.
Turns out that Sori doesn’t respond well to tough love. She needs positive reenforcement:
Some people get motivated when someone tells them they are not good enough or they can’t do it… I’m different, I get motivated by positive thoughts, positive things and positive people…
I can very much relate to Sorana on her need for positive feedback, but not on this:
I woke up early as usual today. I never really sleep past 7am… I’m an active person and I have the feeling that if I sleep more I miss out on the things life has to offer me…
The best part of Sorana’s blogging is her willingness to open up about the mental struggles involved with being an athlete, and her determination to let positivity and hope overcome all. ENJOY IT!!!
I’ve been getting better this year at putting less pressure on myself. If it goes well great, if it doesn’t I’ll go on the practice court and work harder. And this way of thinking has been helping me to be a little bit more relaxed and ENJOY IT!!! You know what they say, happiness is a journey, not a destination, so let’s treasure every moment we have and remember that time waits for no one…
After Sorana lost in singles, she checked back in again. Once again, that’s rare for a tennis pro blogger:
I allowed myself a mourning day with tears and the whole menu, but now everything is back to normal 🙂
On a diffrent note, everything is happening for a reason in life, and I do believe this tournament will make me stronger and I will learn from the mistakes. I still have so much more room to improve and the most important thing is that I still have that will and desire to get better…
As she fights to overcome her sadness over the loss, she confesses that she does sometimes deal with jealousy:
I’m never jealous of anyone, but I do admit that I’m jealous of people that don’t have to get visas… life is so much easier when you have the freedom to go whenever you want without having to stay in line to ask for permission to enter a certain country…
That Sunday, she gives her final US Open blog as she’s on the way to the airport:
I really hope everyone enjoyed my blog this week and in case you guys start missing me you can always follow me on Facebook or Twitter. And if I’m not funny enough, I promise you’ll get your money back 🙂
Saying goodbye is never easy, not even for the pros:
I used to be really bad with “goodbyes” when I was a bit younger, but now I’ve gotten to a state of numbness, where I’d rather keep a distance from people so when the moment of saying bye comes it won’t be that hard..
It helps to have good friends though. Sori and Ana Ivanovic are BFFs, and apparently she’s Ana’a good-luck charm:
Last night I went to see Ana’s match and it’s always nice to be next to her and support her… we joke that she has a 100% success rate when I’m there, because every single time I go to watch her live she wins her match and plays great!!!
Also, she spills the beans on what it’s like to pack like a pro:
And since it’s my last post I won’t avoid the packing subject… I travel really heavy, I’m leaving NY with four bags and I swear I didn’t shop much 🙂 I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people at the check-in desk in the airport asking me if I’m moving to another country because of the amount of bags I carry with me!
And then she closes her US Open blog out in style. Read this whole thing. It’s perfect:
Ahhh talking about this… I bought a magazine yesterday and I was reading this article (yes I do read as well, I don’t only look at the fashion pages ;)) and I came across this statement, “I’m done with the doubts and struggles and insecurities of youth. I’m finished with loss and guilt and regret. I’m very old, and nothing is expected on me”… so I thought “Oh, this is a really smart woman, that’s the way to think”… then I read the whole interview and realized the lady was 101 years old and her name is Bel Kaufman… I hope I won’t have to get to that age in order to get to that level of maturity 🙂 But this proves that WE are in control of our lives and it’s our choice the way we wanna see things and deal with them no matter what age we are!!!
Luckily for us it was not GOOD BYE!!!! forever. Sorana is back blogging again at Indian Wells, and it turns out she is even better than she was at the US Open, if that’s at all possible. And she’s around for the WHOLE SIX WEEKS:
I will be writing through the whole six weeks I’m in the US. Not sure anyone has done this for so long before, but I see this as your chance to get bored of me :)))))
She renamed the blog “Sori’s Story”, and she had a really great reason:
During this time I’ll be blogging… actually I’m not a fan of the word “blogging” as it sounds too formal… that was the reason I called this “Sori’s Story” instead of “Sori’s Blog”. I feel it’s a little more personal and sounds friendlier.
And somehow she’s gotten even better at her “stories” over the last six months. What a pro:
My friends always say I’m an expert in talking a lot but saying nothing in the end! I guess that’s my job’s fault – in time I’ve learned that no matter what questions people ask me, I can always go around and around until I get them wherever I want with my answer!
Then she delivers the line of the year:
I have an early practice with Andrea Petkovic, and she is German, so I’m not allowed to be late!!!!!!!!!!!!
In her Saturday, March 2nd blog called “Silver Linings” (after the movie, of course), she takes us inside one of her last days in Vegas before heading to Indian Wells. She impressed me with her knowledge of the Spanish language:
Few people believe me when I say I learned this language only by watching soap operas, and I’ve never had a lesson in my life… but us Romanians are very talented with languages and we have Latin background as well, so for us it’s quite easy to learn Spanish, Italian and French, and if we try a bit harder Portuguese as well. But the main idea is that I like anything that has to do with South America, Spain or any other Latin country, so I always joke that if you speak Spanish I already like you 🙂
She also really loves Steffi, just like the rest of us:
Steffi is gonna come out today. She is the coolest person ever, a true champion on and off the court. I started tennis because of her when I was four years old, so when I met her for the first time five years ago I was so ovelwhelmed I couldn’t talk. She is the reason why I’ve picked up tennis and no matter how much I see her I still can’t get used to the idea that I’m on the same court with Steffi Graf. She is my idol…
In her March 6th blog “The Simple Things,” Sorana takes us through her journey from Vegas to Indian Wells and discusses her unpacking rules. I like them:
I have rules – when I stay longer than seven days in a place I unpack, otherwise I keep all my clothes in the bag. I wanna believe that I can use my time more wisely than just putting dresses on hangers and taking them down week in week out!
Unfortunately she lost her first battle of Indian Wells, a driving competition with Dani:
The only little problem was that Daniela Hantuchova, who left Vegas a little earlier that day, did this trip in 3h 50min, and for us it took about 4h 45min… so when we got here she was making a little fun of our driving skills.
Speaking of driving…
And now a special announcement: if you see a grey SUV, try and run the opposite direction… I’m just joking, I’m actually a good driver, even if my coach Darren Cahill always makes fun of my parking… but of course I’m a good driver, I’m Romanian and that says it all 🙂
Finally on Saturday (yesterday), Sorana updated us again. This time she talked about how her perfectionism has effected her in areas other than tennis. You see, the rest of the world March 8th is International Women’s Day, but for Sori it’s Mother’s Day. And it’s stressful:
I recall this very well because 8th of March was a very stressful day for me – in school they always used to make us learn a song or poem so we could tell it to our mum together with a hand-made card that we had to make… since I can’t sing and I didn’t want to ruin my mum’s day by making her listen to me, I always used to choose a poem instead. Even at that age I was a perfectionist so I was stressing a lot to make everything look and sound perfect… later on I realized that sometimes it’s more about the gesture than the actual gift. So the conclusion is that every country and side of the world celebrates things and traditions differently, so it doesn’t really matter the date on the calendar, but the date in your heart…
Then, she talks about what an inspiration Victor Hanescu is. Which … well … hmm …
Victor is an amazing player, an example for me and a person that I can learn a lot from, because he has been in this business for much longer than I have. He works so hard and has done some great improvements lately so it’s very nice to see him doing well. I’m happy to see any Romanian doing well, we are a small country so we should support each other as much as we can!
Sori concludes her blog by confessing that she’s coming a bit of a Blogging Superstar:
For example the other day I met Lisa Raymond in the hotel parking and she told me that I was doing a good job with my blog. Knowing that such an amazing and accomplished player like Lisa reads my blog made my day :))
So yes I’m human and I nurture myself with postive feedback…
Well, Sori, you get all the positive feedback in the world for us. As someone who knew very little about her before digging into the archives, I can now say that I’m a fan. She’s open, she’s funny, she’s sincere, and she’s long-winded. Those are pretty much the keys to my heart.
Let’s sum things up, shall we?
Six Things I Learned from Sori’s Stories:
1. She is a sweetheart.
2. She’s a morning person. I thought those were just a myth. She seems to do more before 11:00 a.m. each day than I do each week.
3. She’s really passionate about tennis and puts her heart on the line every time.
4. She probably enjoys the wise worlds of the “Notebook” Twitter account, just like Fer.
5. She has the perfect amount of self deprecation and emoticon use to be a great blogger if her tennis career doesn’t work out.
6. She likes to ramble. I feel like in conversations with her BFF Ana they probably both forget to breathe and listen.
Sorana will continue to tell her stories on the WTA website over the next three weeks, and I personally can’t wait to read about the rest of her adventures. Also, I’m going to adopt her emoticon use. I figure it will make Changeover Chats a lot more fun.
GOOD BYE!!!!!!!! 🙂
This series is very much a work-in-progress, so let me know if you have any ideas for other blogs to profile. I am hoping to make this a weekly(ish) feature, so I need a lot of ideas. The blogs do definitely not have to be current. We’ll go back in time.