Agatha Christie, Enrique Iglesias and the Samba - Getting to know Jelena Ostapenko


There can't have been much money changing hands in the name of Jelena Ostapenko reaching the French Open final a fortnight ago, but the Latvian could secure a historic win on Saturday.

At just 20 years old, Ostapenko has reached her first grand slam final at Roland Garros. 

She could become the first player to win a maiden trophy at a major since Gustavo Kuerten did so in Paris on the day Ostapenko was born in 1997.

Having emerged from nowhere, we know very little about the world number 47. Allow her to rectify that in her own words...


"I used to do ballroom dancing before, so it's kind of my hobby now. Then I like to learn other languages, to read books, listen to music, spend time with my family, my friends."

How often do you get to dance?

"When I'm home, like, four times a week. I was dancing from five to 12 for seven years. Then I stopped and now I'm doing [it] for myself.

"I think it really helps my footwork because you need to be very coordinated and those small steps are helping. I think it helped me. And I'm still doing it now just for myself, the dancing. My favourite one is Samba - I actually think because of the music, because some really nice songs fit Samba."

What music do you like? What books do you like? Who's your favourite author or band?

"Music, I like pop music more and also rap sometimes. I like a lot of them. Like, The Weeknd and Enrique Iglesias. Some Russian ones as well.

"Books I like to read detectives. I like to read Agatha Christie. The last one I read was a really interesting one with a lot of interesting things happening. And it was really interesting to read because I wanted to know how it will end.

Do you read books during tournaments?

"Sometimes I do it just before going to sleep, I read some books, yeah."


Your dad was a professional footballer; is that correct?

"He used to play football in Ukraine. I honestly don't know which team, but I think something like... no, I don't know, actually... I don't know. Sorry.

"I think it's a small city called Zaporizhia. It's near Dnipro." 


Ostapenko's semi-final win over Timea Bacsinszky arrived on her 20th birthday. Where does an appearance in the French Open rank among her favourite presents? 

"I think maybe this one is one of the best ones. 

"To play a semi-final of Roland Garros on your birthday, I think it's really nice!"