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By Varvara Lepchenko

Varvara Lepchenko US Open (August 28, 2012) -- It’s so great to be in New York! Since I’ve been in town, I’ve gotten to watch Novak Djokovic dance to Call Me Maybe at Arthur Ashe Kids Day, and I also attended a “farewell” event for Kim Clijsters.  Novak is definitely amusing, and Kim will be missed. She’s a great role model on and off the court.

Of course, I also made it through a tough first round match against Mathilde Johansson on Monday. If I were by myself in a different country, I might not have been able to pull through in the third set. But with so many people cheering for me, I said to myself, “I’m winning this match no matter what. No way I’m going out in the first round!”  

After becoming an official American citizen last year, I’ve really noticed a huge difference in fan support. And now people asking for autographs actually know my name! Before, they would ask me to sign things without having any idea who they were talking to. Ha:) Speaking of autographs, I had a little boy ask me to sign his forehead earlier this summer. His forehead!  I told him we should probably find another place for it, but he insisted. I got a few weird looks from coaches passing by, but what can I say? I can’t deny the little kids.  

After Monday’s match, I headed home to my rental apartment in Queens. Some players stay in a hotel, but it’s really important that I stay in a place that feels like home. Plus my little kitten gets to stay with me (well, she’s almost two months old…not so little anymore).  In fact, I have scratches all over my arms from where she’s bitten me. Hopefully she’ll grow out of that.

I didn’t play today, so I tried to sleep in a little. Then it was off to the courts where I got in a fitness session with one of the USTA coaches. After hitting for a bit, I finished up by hitting a basket of serves with my dad/coach watching. Post-practice, I was treated to a massage and LOTS of food intake!

Tonight I’m going to try to get to bed early because I’m the second match on after play starts at 11:00. I’m thinking I’ll probably put my Netflix subscription to good use, but I’m hoping to find a better movie than the last one I saw. Have you seen The Hunter? I watched it a few days ago and went to bed before it ended…oops!  

Tomorrow I have a tough match against Anastasia Rodionova, but I’m hoping fans will bring the same great atmosphere as they did on day one. I’ll let you guys know how it goes!

- Varvara

(Photo Credit: Getty/Elsa)


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