CINCINNATI, Ohio — Known for her contagious smile and striking looks, Dominika Cibulkova is quickly become a fixture as an upper echelon player and personality on the WTA tour. The current world No. 13 is having a notable season having recently won the Mercury Insurance Open in San Diego in July, while also reaching the final in Barcelona and advancing to five quarterfinals including the French Open. The 23-year-old Slovak sat down with me following her first round victory over Akgul Amanmuradova at the Western & Southern Open.
What is your favorite location on Tour and why?
Paris. My favorite tournament (Roland Garros). I love coming to Montreal, it is very a nice tournament. I recently won the tournament in San Diego. It is a really, really nice tournament. Many places I really like. Carlsbad is nice. The resort is really nice.
What is your most memorable moment as a pro tennis player?
You know, I have many good memories. I would have to say when I won my first title in Moscow at the Kremlin Cup. I was the type of player that could beat anyone of the tour but I did not have my title. Everyone was saying why I don’t have a title, why don’t I have a title. It was a little bit of pressure, but I remember the match point when I beat (Kaia) Kanepi. I did it, I won the tournament!
What is your opinion of Cincinnati?
I just won my first match today in Cincinnati, so I am very happy. I played here only once and last year I was injured here. It is a very nice place and the courts and everything. I am really planning on going to Kings Island (Amusement Park across the street).
If you could play mixed doubles one with guy, who would it be and why?
Maybe I would pick John Isner because he is so high and I am so little, so it would be different. It would be funny (laughs).
What would you be doing now if you weren’t playing professional tennis?
I get asked this question many times. When I was younger, I wanted to be an actress. I would try to go this way and see if it is something for me. I really love it!
What is your favorite movie?
I like many movies and I love watching movies. I watch so many movies with my boyfriend, so it is really relaxing me. Sometimes I get into the movie so much and then it is normal life again. I like Brad Pitt like every girl (laughs).
What is the most played song on your iPod?
Rihanna – “Where Have You Been” – I love that song, she is my favorite!
What famous person would you most like to meet?
(Long pause). Rihanna.
What is your ultimate goal during your career?
(I want) to get into the Top 10. I am really getting closer.
Who is your celebrity crush and why?
I know who I hate, but I don’t know who I really like. (I like) LeBron James. Not LeBron, I mean (I like) Kobe Bryant!
Who do you hate?
Justin Bieber! I just cannot stand him (laughs). I know that I don’t like him!