Service With A Smile
By Michael Benninger / Photography by Dominic Kawaja
Styled by Simone Perloff and Andrea Ross
Hair and Makeup by Janice Johnson, makeupbyjj.com
In July 2012, Hantuchová appeared nude on the cover of ESPN: The Magazine’s “The Body Issue.” Today, the Slovakian tennis star is posing (clothed, sorry) for the cover of PacificSD’s International Issue. She’s in town to make preparations for her upcoming season with the Aviators, San Diego’s new professional tennis franchise.
“Being drafted by the Aviators is very exciting,” says Hantuchová. “I’ve never played team tennis before.” One of seven teams comprising the Mylan World TeamTennis (WTT) league, which International Tennis Hall of Famer Billie Jean King co-founded with her ex-husband in 1974, the Aviators also include twins Mike and Bob Bryan, the world’s leading men’s doubles players. San Diego businessman Russell Geyser bought the team, formerly the New York Sportimes (2013’s last-place finisher), and moved it to San Diego.
When competing for the WTT’s coveted King Trophy, the Aviators will play five sets (men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles), facing off against the top players in the world, including Andy Roddick, Martina Hingis, sisters Venus and Serena Williams and many others.
To prepare for the coming WTT season (July 6-27, 2014), Hantuchová hired Peter Lundgren, former coach of Roger Federer, who’s currently ranked fourth in the world in men’s singles.
“Peter’s the best coach I’ve ever known,” she says. “I’ve wanted to work with him for many years, and this means so much to me.”
Off the court, Hantuchová’s service comes in another form - helping children. She established the Daniela Foundation, which supports a Cambodian hospital that cares for 120 HIV-positive children, and started a children’s charity near her original hometown in Slovakia.
“I’m trying to promote a healthy lifestyle for kids from a young age, encouraging them to be active, play sports and follow their dreams,” she says.
Trained as a classical pianist and fluent in five languages (she’s a great golfer, too), Hantuchová is something of a Renaissance woman. She’s also single.
“I can’t wait to have a family,” she says. “I would like at least two or three kids. Now I’m just waiting for the right husband to come along.”
Interested parties - in tennis, not marriage - can catch a glimpse of Hantuchová when she and the rest of the Aviators play seven home games at the Valley View Casino Center in July.
Shot on location at:
The Sporting Club
8930 University Center Lane, La Jolla
A League of Their Own
The teams of the World TeamTennis 2014
San Diego Aviators
Springfield Lasers (Missouri)
Washington Kastles (Washington, D.C.)
D.O.B.: April 23, 1983
Hometown: Poprad, Slovakia
Current Home: Monte Carlo, Monaco
Height: 5’ 11”
Turned pro: May 1999
Plays: Right-handed; two-handed backhand
Prize Money Won: $9.47 million
Career Record (Singles): 515 wins, 349 losses
Singles Titles: 6
Doubles Titles: 9
Highest World Ranking: No. 5
Current Ranking: No. 30