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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Q&A With Israeli Tennis Player Yulia Glushko

Yulia Glusko is currently the #2 player in Israel. Yulia is a member of the Israeli Fed Cup team, is an active member of the Israeli Army, and is fluent in English, Hebrew, and Russian. 2010 was a breakthrough year, as Julia was crowned champion at 4 different ITF Tour events. Yulia carried her momentum into the 2011 season, where she played in her first ever Grand Slam qualifier. At the U.S. Open qualifiers, she made it to the final round but eventually lost to Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak(6-1, 6-4) to end her landmark run in Flushing Meadows. We caught up with her to talk about being a tennis player in Israel and her plans for the future.

Q: First thank you for taking the time to sit down with isRealli today. Tell us a little about yourself!

Yulia: My name is Yulia Glushko, and I am a professional tennis player from Israel. Right now, I live in Modi’in, which is between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. I was actually born in Ukraine, and I moved to Israel when I was eight.

Q: When did you start playing tennis?

Yulia: I actually started before my family came to Israel, when I was four. Both of my parents are tennis instructors. So naturally, they coached me when I was little.

Q: What is the tennis culture like in Israel?

Yulia: In Israel, it’s a bit different than in the U.S. or Europe. There’s not a lot of people who go professional. It’s somewhat hard to go professional, as there are very few quality programs for adults. Sure, there’s lots of tennis schools for younger players, but to go professional, you’re really on your own. One of the biggest obstacles is that there aren’t many sponsorships. A lot of Israelis actually go to college in the States and play tennis there.

Q: What is it like as an Israeli playing in the U.S., especially New York with its high Jewish population?

Yulia: It’s great to have that support, and I felt that when I played for Fed Cup.

Q: Was this your first time in New York?

Yulia: No, I’ve been to new York many times.

Q: What have you been doing in New York? Catch any good meals?

Yulia: Well, because of the hurricane I was inside for 2 days, which was a little boring. I love New York and have spent a lot of time here, but I didn’t go out much this time as I needed to be in shape and prepared for the U.S. Open.

Q: Ok, so which has the better nightlife, New York or Tel Aviv?

Yulia: New York is very fast paced, I feel like I cant even walk slow here. It’s amazing to visit, but I don’t know if I can live here! They say New York is the city that never sleeps, it’s all night long, but Tel Aviv doesn’t sleep either. But its different, it’s on the beach, but there’s also bars and nightclubs. It’s not quite as intense as New York, I’d say Tel Aviv is like a mix of LA and New York.

Q: What are your plans for the rest of the 2011 season?

Yulia: Going home first to train, then off to Europe for a few weeks. I’m not sure exactly what tournaments I will be playing there, my coach and I need to figure that out when I get back. Then I have a tournament back home. We don’t have very many of those [in Israel] so it’s great to play at home. It’s been an amazing year, Ive been able to play in all of the grand slams. You can always do better, but I’m really proud.

Q: What are your goals for 2012?

Yulia: I grew up a lot in 2011, I want to keep working hard, improve my ranking. Working hard is the main thing for me, both mentally and physically. It’s not about specific benchmarks for me, but of course  if I break it through to top 100 that would be amazing.