|Ashley Weinhold. (c) Jonathan Kelley, On the Rise|
On the Rise: Talk a little about your career. A few years ago you were in the top 200, and you've dropped a bit since then. Can you talk us through what's been going on?
Weinhold: I've had some little nagging injuries here and there that have kept me out periodically. I didn't play a full schedule last year, so that didn't really enable me to have a super-high ranking. I'm trying to play a bigger schedule this year. I played a lot this summer. My ranking might not show for it, but I've won a lot of matches this year. So I feel good about that, and it's just a matter of kind of doing well on the weeks that I didn't previously do well, because I tend to do well at the same events so my ranking kind of stays in the same spot. So I need to work on a better schedule, maybe. Finding other events.
OTR: You played main draw singles here?
AW: Yes, I snuck in last minute. I was originally in qualies, and then the list moved a little bit and I was in main. Which was nice, and I wanted to take advantage of that, but I had a pretty tough first round against the #2 seed [Varatchaya Wongteanchai] ... it was 6&6 and it was 3 hours long for 2 sets. Just a matter of a couple of points. So that one hurts a little bit. But it's okay.
OTR: What do you do after a tough loss like that?
AW: I had to play doubles right after. So kind of clear your mind right away. I'm pretty good at taking notes and kind of moving on. You've got to have a short memory in tennis.
OTR: You're a really accomplished doubles player -- you've got I don't even know how many pro titles [13 after Redding, including her first $50K earlier this summer]. Is it ever a thought to you that you might want to try doubles full time or are you absolutely committed to singles?
AW: I'm very committed to singles. Everything I work on and try to improve on is based on singles. I do very little doubles work, it just comes naturally. It's nice to be able to play both, but my focus is on singles.
I've gotten stuck in a couple of situations and at the moment I'm stuck here playing a doubles final, and I'm trying to get to Albuquerque for singles. [Ed. note: She was able to make her first round qualies match in Albuquerque on Sunday. She fell 3&4 to top seed Amra Sadikovic, who ended up reached the semifinals.] So travel-wise, that's not really going to help my singles. I've had that trouble a few times. It's a good problem to have but also I'd like to be in the main draw [in singles] so I wouldn't have to worry about it.
OTR: What is it about your game that transitions well to doubles? You don't see a lot of players your height [5'5"] serving and volleying. You're really active at net as well.
AW: Yeah. I mean, I'm low to the ground, so I'm pretty quick. Fast-twitch muscles. I'm, I guess, pretty athletic, so I like to have an all-around game in singles and it kind of just carries over to doubles. I'm comfortable at the net and that ends points quicker.
OTR: Looking back a few years, was college tennis a consideration for you?
AW: It was. I probably would have ended up at the University of Virginia. I have some great friends there and I work with the coach here and there still. But at the time, I was #1 in the nation in singles and won our hard court nationals. So I took the main draw wildcard into the U.S. Open and that kind of solidified my decision. I'd always been training and working for pro.
I think the college game now is a bit stronger now than when I graduated, so I think it's a great option now. Maybe more resources coming out, bigger tournaments, more opportunities for wildcards. If I were to go back, I wouldn't change it. I was in a very good place at the time.
OTR: What's your schedule going to be like for the rest of the year?
AW: I don't know for sure. Going to Albuquerque next week. We'll see about Vegas and Kirkland ... where my ranking's at it's going to be a little tough in the fall. I'll be in qualies a lot. My plan is to stay in the States right now; we'll see if I have to go elsewhere.
Thanks very much to Ashley for the interview! And to her and Caitlin Whoriskey (who are into the Albuquerque doubles quarterfinals as the #2 seeds) for their post-title interview the following day. Watch it below: