Silvia Soler has lived out two dreams this season, making her Fed Cup debut and playing in the Olympics. In a candid interview with Madrid-open.com she reflects on a season in which she has cemented her place among the WTA top 100 players.
2012 has been a very special year for Silvia Soler Espinosa. The Spanish player broke into the top 100 in the WTA ranking last year, and one year on she has secured her place among the very best. She has also managed to live out two of her dreams in a very short space of time, representing Spain in both the Federations Cup and the Olympic Games in London. However, she is by no means content with her achievements this year and has even bigger ambitions ahead of the 2013 season.
You started this season as the 54th ranked player in the WTA table, the highest position in your career, and finished out the year as number 82. How do you look back on the season?
Having broken in to the top 100 last year, this year was all about consolidating my place there. It has been a complicated year, as the Olympic Games took precedent in the middle of it and I also picked up an injury, which luckily I was able to recover from quickly. But there was more to the season than just making the top 100, and at the end of it all my overall conclusions are positive.
Back in 2009 you played in the first edition of the Mutua Madrid Open as a wild card when you were still very young. What memories do you have of that tournament in the Caja Magica?
The Mutua Madrid Open has always been great to me and I have very fond memories of the tournament, but the first time playing there it was all very new to me, and finding myself playing alongside such greats was really special.
In terms of grand slams, you have reached the third round of the US Open on two occasions now. What is it about that tournament that is so special for you?
New York is my favourite city in the world and I always start the US Open full of confidence, and fortunately things have gone well for me there in the past few years. I’ve played well in matches and have been able to reach the third round. However, you constantly have to compete there and the results have gone in my favour, perhaps because of the surface.
You have played a big part in Spain’s Fed Cup team this year, taking part in knockout matches against Russia and Slovakia, and recording your first victory in the competition. How was that experience?
At the end of last year I said that one of my objectives was to make the national team and play in the Olympics, and I have managed to achieve that. And the fact that Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario was the one who selected me for the team was also really nice. The experience has been unforgettable. I also won my first match in Marbella, although Spain ended up losing. I do think that we have a team capable of bouncing back though.
You also represented Spain in the London Olympics. What did that mean for you as a sportswoman?
It has been the best experience in my life as a sportswoman so far. It is everyone’s dream to represent their country, and it was an experience that I will never forget.
At 24 years of age you now form part of current generation of Spanish female players, but you have the likes of Lara Arruabarrena and Garbiñe Muguruza coming up behind you. How do you see the future of women’s tennis in Spain?
It’s great that new players keep being produced. People constantly say that women’s tennis is behind the men’s game in Spain, but I don’t see it like that. We have a lot of players ranked among the top 100, and there are very few countries who can boast as many as we can. The continued development of young players is a good thing for everyone.
Have you fulfilled all the objectives you set out for yourself at the beginning of 2012?
Yes for some and no for others. Playing in the Olympics and making the Fed Cup team yes, but I would have liked to have advanced further in the rankings. There’s always next year, and I’m already really excited about and can’t wait for it to start.
What goals have you set yourself for next season?
I’d like to finish in the top 50 next year, but above all else I hope I can avoid injury.