Being a professional is hard at any age, but being one at 16 is even harder, and Russian talent Alina Korneeva knows that best, and she talked about it recently.
We've seen an uptick in very talented youngsters recently, with three 16-year-olds making the second round of the Australian Open on the women's side. One of those is Alina Korneeva, a 16-year-old from Russia who is slated for a bright future.
There are a few of these 16-year-olds who are making moves in tennis, with Mirra Andreeva being the most famous one. She's one of the best players in the world already, which is amazing, but don't count out Korneeva.
She might not be there yet, but she's quickly learning and improving. In a recent interview with Tennis Majors, Korneeva discussed the transition to professional tennis and how it compares to her previous experience.
"It’s completely different (the pro tour vs the junior tour). Mental side, the game, everything, but mostly on the mental side. From every match now, I gain a huge experience. On every important point, the professional players play really, really smart. When I played juniors, for example, if it was deuce, the girls can miss two points in a row. But in the pros, nobody does that."
Playing on the professional Tour is an invaluable experience for the 16-year-old, though, as the example of compatriot Andreeva shows. Her talent was evident early, but with every match, she gained confidence and became more dangerous for other players.
Fast-forward to now: A year after she started playing against the professionals, Andreeva can demolish the Top 10 ranked players in less than an hour.
The same will soon await Korneeva, who is only starting to gain experience among professionals, but she seems to be a fast learner, and soon, she can became the same threat as Andreeva.