5 Minutes With… Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

by Nicholas McCarvel

Pavlyuchenkova, AnastasiaAnastasia Pavlyuchenkova is known by plenty of names: Nastia, Nastia Pav, APavs. But what does the Russian world No. 34 like to be called? We found that out, plus talked to the New Haven Open at Yale competitor about her love for nails, her penchant for the game of chess and where in the world she likes to get her hair done the most.

New Haven Open blog: Your nails are amazing. Tell us more.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova: I’m addicted. I do it myself. I like to do different designs whenever I can. I think just nail polish is boring, even if it’s a bright color, but I love to draw something on top of it or use stickers. I could say I did it myself… but I should be honest [laughing]. People are always asking me how long it takes, but it’s a sticker! So just 10 minutes. I started being creative with it when I was six.

NHO: Serena is pretty into nails, too. Have you two traded secrets before?
Pavlyuchenkova: Just before Wimbledon and I saw her in the locker room and I asked her if I could touch her nails, they were beautiful! We chatted about them… they were amazing. I asked her if they were real and they were. They were incredible.

NHO: So you’re also a pretty good chess player, so we hear. Is that true?
Pavlyuchenkova: I am pretty good [smiling]. I guess it’s unusual for a girl to play, right? But I like to show that I’m not just a tennis player, I can think off the court, too [smiling]. My dad taught me to play when I was a little girl because he thought it was good for me to learn. In school, I would stay after school and take an extra chess class for a few years and even tried to play in a tournament once. Right now, he’s winning and it makes me sick! [Laughing.] I hate losing at anything. But we always have good games back and forth.

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NHO: Say you could play with any tennis champ from throughout history, who would it be?
Pavlyuchenkova: Steffi Graf I think. Honestly, I would pick all the champions one by one for each day. They are such legends and have made such a history in tennis by winning everything. Those are the people that I was looking up to when I was little.

NHO: What’s your earliest tennis memory? Does something stick out when you were little?
Pavlyuchenkova: My family is very sporty. My older brother started playing first and that’s how I was brought into tennis. I was always roller-blading around his court and I had my girlfriends around, I think I was five or six. I really had to play since that’s what my family was doing all the time, but I started on my own by hitting against the wall since everyone was focusing on my brother. I came over to my mom at one point and said, ‘Hey! I just beat Steffi Graf and Martina Hingis‘ and that’s when my parents realized I was really into it.

NHO: If you weren’t playing tennis, what would you be doing with your life?
Pavlyuchenkova: I love fashion and being creative. I would love to have my own beauty salon. We would do nails, hair… it would be a spa, really. After tennis, who knows! I might do it! [Laughing.]

NHO: Is there one salon in the world that you love going to each year?
Pavlyuchenkova: There is one in London that I love that is close to Wimbledon. Last year I was changing my hair color a lot and I did pink at Wimbledon. My agent knew the owner and I’ve become friends with them; it’s just off the Wimbledon village. After the pink we did a chocolate brown – I loved it. I’m always telling Bethanie [Mattek-Sands] how much I love her hair and that she changes it so much, it fits her personality.

NHO: So let’s clear the air: A lot of people call you “Nastia,” “Natia Pavs” or “APavs.” Does that bother you? Or what do you want to be called?
Pavlyuchenkova: I actually like my name, Anastasia, I think it’s pretty. I think it’s natural – it’s what my mother gave me. Nastia is OK. And Nastia Pav is fine because Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is such a long name. In Russia, every name has a shortened name, so for me it’s Nastia. I like them all.

NHO: If you could trade lives with anyone in the world for one day. Who would you choose?
Pavlyuchenkova: Blake Lively. I love Gossip Girl. I would love to be in that TV series… especially with all the cute guys! [Laughing.]

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