Dayana Yastremska is still only 19 years old and she’s already a well-known name in the tennis world, with three WTA singles titles (Hua Hin, Strasbourg and Hong Kong) and a career-high ranking of No.21. The Ukrainian and her family have recently shared her growing-up story and I’ve taken the most interesting excerpts from it, along with a couple of childhood photos, as part of my Little Tennis Stars series.
Yastremska was born in Odessa in 2000, to mother Marina and father Alexander. As a child, Dayana was fun-loving, active and energetic, so she channeled her energy in a lot of activities, including swimming, dancing, gymnastics, and singing.
The person responsible for her introduction to tennis at the age of five was her grandfather Ivan Yastremsky. What motivated him to take the little Dayana to the tennis court was when he saw her jumping off a two-meter high wardrobe. He thought that her lively and hard-working personality would fit well with tennis and Dayana immediately started feeling passion for the sport.
Dayana’s father introduced her to boxing at the age of 11, as he thought it was important for tennis, to train her attention, focus, rhythm and character. Boxing is still part of her training routine.
The WTA video also features an emotional story about Dayana’s 2019 title run in Hua Hin and the personal problems her family faced at the time. Namely, Dayana’s mother got injured by an exploding champagne bottle during the Australian Open in Melbourne, so badly that she couldn’t see at all with her left eye. Dayana felt so bad for her mother, who had to stay in Melbourne. The tennis star unwillingly went to to the tournament in Thailand and didn’t even feel like training. Miraculously, she reached the final at Hua Hin and then recovered from 2-5 in the third set to beat Ajla Tomljanovic in the title match.
Interesting fact: Dayana was born with a birth defect, her feet were inverted when she was a baby. Her treatments were successful and she has perfectly healthy feet and legs now.