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Vania a Broadway star with racquet up her sleeve

Kolkata, Sep 20 (UNI) With her spitfire serve and motoring mobility on court, combined with her singing abilities, American Vania King is a sure bet to don the mettle of poster girl in the world of tennis.

Having registered the biggest upset of her career packing Wimbledon runners-up Marion Bartoli from the meet before a near empty stadium well past midnight on Tuesday, Vania is on a high.

Coached by father David King, who also travels with her, the teenager started playing at the tender age of four.

A baseliner who prefers hardcourt, Vania is all 'kick ass' as evident from her choice of heavy metal music and Tomb Raider 2 for the movie.

When not playing tennis this pint sized dynamite is either biking or swimming. She relaxes by meditating and listening to music.

Speaking of music, she sang ''America the Beautiful'' before the night matches of the US Open on August 31, 2006 and considers it as one of the most 'nerve wrecking' moments of her life. She has also sung ''Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again'' at the 2007 Australian Open.

Enjoying her second year at the WTA circuit, the diminutive Vania said, ''I have trained in music. Its very close to me.'' Coming back to tennis, she adds, ''I haven't been in tour for a very long time. Being a professional tennis player requires a lot of traveling and you need to get used to it very fast. All this takes a toll on your body, but the more you do it, you get accustomed. I miss home amidst all this but I love traveling. I guess that evens out things.'' Vania countered Bartoli's power play with an array of delightful forehand passing shots and amazing court coverage that left the French flummoxed.

''At home I usually train for three to four hours a day. It's usually six days of tennis training a week and five days of fitness work,'' she added, when asked about the secret behind her fitness level.

Vania has won a multitude of USTA National and ITF singles and doubles title. She also has one WTA singles and three doubles title in her kitty.

''Dad (David King) has the biggest impact in shaping up my tennis career. He is the only coach I ever had except for a brief period this year. My two elder sisters and brother also play tennis. So I guess it was always going to be tennis for me since I was born. Dad and I gel well together as a team,'' an emotional Vania said.

Vania who is not afraid to attack the net, has taken singing lessons since she was four and continues to exercise her vocals most days on the road. She enjoys belting out Broadway tunes and the occasional Celine Dion hit.

''I started singing either at the same time or before I started playing tennis. I still train when I go home. I have some 500 songs in my computer. I just need to switch it on and start singing when I am on tour,'' she said.

So the next time you see her hitting a cross-court winner and breaking into a jingle, just wait, for there is more that this King has to offer.


Story first published: Thursday, September 20, 2007, 15:37 [IST]
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