Daria Kasatkina recently gave a very intimate one-hour interview about her struggles, tennis and life in general, during which she reveals that she’s open for both a heterosexual and a homosexual relationship.
The 23-year-old Russian takes us deep into her life. For the first time we hear very personal stories as Kasatkina takes us to her hometown of Tolyatti, Russia, her parent’s living room, and the tennis courts in Barcelona where she trains. We also get a rare insight into the financial aspect of being a professional tennis player, learn the reason for the end of her Nike contract, get a detailed explanation of why she wanted to end her sports career and hear a few stories about her love life.
Selling a family house to fund tennis career
Most tennis players have a major sacrifice story, a breaking moment when they and their families went for all or nothing. When Kasatkina was 12 years old, she was sure that she wanted to pursue a tennis career. Since her family didn’t have enough money to support her aspirations, they had to sell their house in Tolyatti and Kasatkina explained how emotional it was:
I cried a lot, because my room had pistachio green wallpapers of my dreams. I remember when we were about to leave, I leaned on my pistachio wall and said goodbye to the house.
Retirement crisis in 2019
After a loss to Vera Zvonareva at the 2019 St. Petersburg Ladies Open, the former world No.10 Kasatkina seriously considered retirement. Her coach at the time, Philippe Daheas told her that if she didn’t find tennis enjoyable anymore, she should consider another profession. After that conversation, or better said monologue, she locked herself up in a hotel room for a couple of days. Kasatkina then laughed and explained why she didn’t give up in the end:
I can’t do shit for a living, except tennis. I had to re-think quitting. It was a pretty dark and hardcore period.
Jealousy of Naomi Osaka, Sofia Kenin, Iga Swiatek
When asked whether she’s jealous of Naomi Osaka, Sofia Kenin and Iga Swiatek, players from her generation who have won Grand Slam titles, Kasatkina admitted that she’s definitely jealous, but she considers it a good thing, something that pushes her to perform better. When asked what makes those players better than her, she confidently stated:
In my opinion, nothing. It just happened that way.
After five years of partnership with Nike, Kasatkina lost that clothing sponsorship, but she has no hard feelings and actually says that if she were Nike she wouldn’t pick herself either. Nike is simply focused on the USA market and there are players that fit into that picture much better, like Naomi Osaka.
Kasatkina also revealed that Nike paid her about $100,000 per year, plus bonuses, for example when she got past the fourth round at Grand Slams.
The current word No.37 Kasatkina revealed that coaches usually take 7-10% for bonuses when players play well, plus they have a salary. During her most successful season, her expenses were about $700.000 (600.000 EUR) — that included her coach, fitness trainer, physiotherapist, bonuses, hotels, airplane tickets, etc.
During the interview, Kasatkina revealed that she’s been flirting with both men and women, but fellow WTA players are absolutely out of the picture for her. When asked why she would prefer dating women, Kasatkina explained:
Women know how to dangle the bait properly. Woman knows better how other woman works. Understands other woman’s psychology and needs.
She said that dating men and dating women both have their own perks, so why not. When asked explicitly whether she would date a girl, she responded:
Yes, I would. Girls in a relationship are connected with more connection. I mean, more understanding.
Watch the full interview. It’s really interesting. You can learn a lot about Kasatkina and life of tennis players in general.