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PARIS, May 30 (Reuters) – Julia Glushko hopes her success in reaching the third round of the French Open could lead to sponsorship opportunities in her native Israel.
Glushko beat the 21st seed Kirsten Flipkens on Thursday and will play Italy’s 10th seed Sara Errani in the next round. Win or lose, the 70,000 euros ($95,000) for reaching the last 32 will come in useful for the 24-year-old, whose family moved to Israel from Ukraine when she was nine.
“In Israel, the sport is popular but not as much as in other countries and a lot of the attention goes to the army and security, which is completely reasonable, Glushko, who is ranked 98th in the world, told Reuters.
“I do get help from the federation which is awesome, they’re not a big federation but they do everything they can, and that’s really nice.
“Besides that it’s very hard to get sponsored in Israel, not like in the U.S. where they understand the meaning of sponsoring an athlete. The big companies in Israel - we don’t have that as much.”
Would she welcome a sponsor? “Yes,” she says with a laugh. “It’s an individual sport so we pay everything, we have to cover ourselves and the coach. But it’s definitely worth it.”
Glushko’s success at Roland Garros has been particularly surprising because, with nearly five months of the year gone, she had yet to win one match on the main WTA Tour before arriving in Paris.
“I think that’s tennis’s up and downs. I’ve had some tough weeks, but I’ve been better recently and felt much better on court. My coach said it would come so I’m happy it’s this week.”
Slow starts to the season seem to be a recurring theme for Glushko, whose father manages a tennis club in Israel where her mother coaches.
“Also last year I didn’t start well and then the summer has been great and the year before as well. So much in tennis is confidence, confidence and hard work - it comes from off-court, from practice and from knowing that you’re doing everything. Once you have a few wins, then you feel better and better.”
Now she is back in the winning groove, Glushko is looking forward to her second third-round match at a grand slam, after the U.S. Open last year.
“I practised with Sara (Errani) just before the tournament started. I just want to go out there and enjoy myself like I’ve been doing until now.” ($1 = 0.7345 Euros) (Editing by Ed Osmond)