Photo: Badminton Photo
Davletova: Maria Sharapova has inspired me
Date: 4/3/2020 9:52 AM
Published by : BEC Staff

With BWF announcing a world ranking freeze, players who are still fighting for their place in Tokyo are eagerly awaiting news on how this will play out for their Olympic journey. 

One player very much in this bracket is Russian player, Alina Davletova, who sits just a single spot outside Olympic qualification in both her categories. Her ranking in women’s doubles with Ekaterina Bolotova is frozen at 27, and 22 in mixed doubles with Rodion Alimov. It is a cold and hard journey that will yet continue on once it is decided rankings can be unfrozen.

The young mixed doubles partnership, 2017 European Junior Champions, Alimov and Davletova, have caught the attention of many with their recent performances and haven risen up the rankings. They both hail from the same club in Ufa, Russia and have played from the age of 13. 

Since then, Daveletova, 21, has become one of the biggest talents in Europe. In 2019, she won the World Tour Super 300 Syed Modi International in mixed doubles and won the bronze medal in women’s doubles at the European Games. Asked how it feels knowing that people expect you now to play at this level every time, she responds.

- It motivates me to work harder and show we can even achieve above and beyond these results.

Read: Selena Piek: I also felt the pain

Absolutely different

Davletova has the added challenge of attempting to qualify in two categories, putting her in the same group as top European players as Lauren Smith, Selena Piek and Isabel Herttrich. Discussing whether she has a priority over the other, Davletova states. 

- I have no priority. I like playing both events because they are absolutely different, exciting and tough compare to each other. 

Cross-sport inspiration is common amongst athletes. Admiring success in their different area and drawing on certain comparisons can give energy and motivation to do the same in your sport. Davletova revealed. 

- Maria Sharapova has inspired me. I admire her success and work-ethic.  

Read: Popov: I have to fill the gap as soon as possible

Love what you do

Davletova has recorded great wins, against the likes of 2018 world championship bronze medallists Tang Chun Man and Tse Ying Suet and commonwealth champions Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith, amongst others. However, reflecting on what she needs to improve on to become one of the very best players, she explains. 

- I need to improve my technical skills and tactics, and of course to never give up, don’t be lazy, believe in yourself and love what you do. 

We have seen great European players perform well on the international stage lately. Davletova shares what is her major goal. 

- I want to show my best game. I have a great example of Ivanov and Sozonov. They proved that everything is possible. 

Badminton players are one of the most well-travelled athletes in the world, playing tournaments in all four corners of the globe. Davletova explains what in her opinion is the best part of travelling.

- I am visiting many amazing countries, finding many interesting things, meeting a lot of nice friends.

Lastly, we asked the young Russian star, who is also at University studying Sports Management, to lay out what she thinks key attributes a truly great badminton player has.

- Professionalism, determination, patience, politeness and willpower. 

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