While tennis is an individual sport in that there is only one person out there hitting the ball, a player’s team can often make the difference between “good” and “multiple Grand Slams.” And when a player has a support system that includes a fellow professional–someone who knows what kind of grind it takes to be successful at the highest level–it’s even better.
Stan Wawrinka, who is looking to add a fourth Grand Slam title to his ever-growing resume, has exactly that in the form of his girlfriend, Donna Vekic.
Though she may not be as accomplished as the 32-year-old Swiss, Vekic has had her share of triumphs. Not only does she owns five ITF titles, but in 2012 Vekic became the youngest player in six years to advance to a WTA final. She’s now been to four finals in all, capturing her first singles title in April of 2014 when she knocked off top seed Dominika Cibulkova to win the Malaysian Open.
Overall, Vekic is 175-130 in her WTA singles career. She has won six career Grand Slam matches, she advanced to the third-round of the French Open in 2015, and she is ranked 75th on the women’s side (her career high rank was 62 back in July 2013). Still only 20 years old, she has pulled in just over $1 million in career earnings.
Still, she has voiced frustration for not playing well as of late:
In August 2015, Vekic was at the center of an ugly moment. During a court change of a match at the Rogers Cup in Montreal, the often-unpredictable Nick Kyrgios–who was 20 at the time–told Wawrinka that fellow Australian player Thanasi Kokkinakis had slept with his girlfriend–a reference to Vekic.
Kyrgios was fined $10,000 and later issued a public apology on Facebook.
He didn’t get suspended,” Vekic later said. “It’s ridiculous. No more comment on this.”
Nevertheless, despite being thrust into that unfortunate spotlight, Vekic is a constant source of support at Wawrinka’s matches. She was notably in attendance when he triumphed at the 2016 US Open:
Wawrinka can only hope the presence of Vekic helps him to similar success in Roland Garros.