Olga Danilović is a Serbian tennis player who rose to fame after breaking into the WTA Top 100 by winning the Moscow River Cup in 2018. At the time she was only 17, becoming the first player born this century to win a WTA title.
The same year she won her first WTA doubles title in Tashkent followed by five singles titles won and one doubles title on the ITF Circuit. On 8 October 2018, she reached her best singles ranking of world number 96.
Danilović has plenty of athletic experience in her family, although not in tennis. Her father, Predrag "Saša" Danilović, was a star shooting guard in European basketball leagues in the 1990s and played for two seasons in the NBA. He is now the president of the Basketball Federation of Serbia. While her mother, Svetlana (born Radošević), is a sports reporter for Radio Television of Serbia.
From a young age, she has been mentored and inspired by the 20-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic, a compatriot who has quietly offered support to many young Serbian players, even as he chases a spot atop the pantheon of men’s tennis history.
We met with Olga to discuss her career and future steps as a newly qualifier for the US Open.
What is the main difference between Olga on and off the field?
Olga is relaxed off the field, permanently smiling. Olga on the field is serious, I rarely laugh even though I really enjoy playing. What I can restate about myself on and off the field is that I never give up and that I like to be a fighter throughout life.
How much time you’re dedicating to your passion for the game and what does it entail?
If I'm not at a tournament, then I’m constantly preparing as the work never stops and you need to be ahead of requirements. That's what I love most about sports, you can always work on yourself, both physically and mentally.
Which city in the world feels like home to you?
Where my family and friends are, Belgrade. I travel all year round to tournaments and, whenever I have the opportunity, I like to return home and enjoy myself with my family and circle of friends.
We congratulate for qualifying for the US Open. What are your expectations now?
Thank you, I am very proud of myself. I passed the qualification and fought to the second round but due to some health reasons, I could not continue the tournament. I am very happy and believe that this was a step in the right direction. There are still a few months left before the end of the season and I will do everything in my power to finish the season in the best way possible.
What is your perception of women in tennis?
I think that we have a wonderful group of women fighting for titles and I believe that they need full support. Sometimes people aren’t aware of how many sacrifices are behind a match, so I am glad when we get the recognition and praise.
What’s your main goal for the following years?
I want to enjoy tennis, I love what I do, and would like the passion to continue in the future. Of course, I aim to play as well as possible and hope for my tennis level to increase so that I can participate in the best tournaments. My ultimate goal is to make a name for myself in the sport by climbing at the top of the ranking list.
Can you give us an insight into how your days look like?
Hard work is the common thread of all my days. I start early in the morning and my day includes two tennis sessions, fitness conditioning and then recovery. When I get home, I try to spend quality time with my friends and family. I like to watch TV series, read books, and explore the city I’m currently in. The daily schedule varies slightly if I’m participating in a tournament or if I’m tired, in those scenarios I normally allocate the evening to decompress and relax.