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Maturity, Wisdom, Winning: Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk Has Time For It All
4 Min Read · March 13, 2024

Six years into her pro career, and recently married, Marta Kostyuk is benefitting from her experience.

She’s only 21, and already has spent more than a quarter of her life as a professional tennis player. Marta Kostyuk burst onto the scene over six years ago, reaching the third round at the Australian Open as a fresh-faced 15-year-old. 

Since then, the road has been hard and the journey long, but Kostyuk, who defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 6-1 on Tuesday to reach the BNP Paribas Open quarterfinals for the first time, wouldn’t have it any other way. 

“I think with time and age you become more calm,” the No. 32-ranked Kostyuk told a small gathering of reporters after her win, when asked about her journey as a player and a person. “I’m still overwhelmed with things sometimes, especially when they happen for the first time, but it’s way less than before.”  

Kostyuk has always worn her heart on her sleeve on the court. She’s tough on herself – maybe too tough at times. 

The ups and downs of life on the WTA Tour, with the white-hot spotlight staring down on a player that is expected to be the next best thing, can take a toll. 

“Generally teenagers are much more emotional than other people,” she said of her formative years on the WTA Tour. “Everything is so important, it seems like the whole world is watching you and wants something from you and you have nothing to give, and whatever you give is not enough.”

Time has helped Kostyuk process difficult moments through a softer lens. She has added coach Sandra Zaniewska to her team, who also helps her keep her spirits up and focus on the long game instead of day-to-day results. 

It all adds up to a more experienced player who is able to cope with pressure in a much more productive way. 

“I think it just comes with time,” Kostyuk says, “You are becoming your own person and you start to care less about the outside, and I’m very happy that I have all these years in my pocket because I have all these girls who are my age, there are some that are playing really well, but they don’t have as much experience as I do, because of all the years that I had on tour. 

“I cannot say that they were extremely successful or that I’m very happy with how all these years went, but I still have them – I still have all these matches and all these experiences with me and that you cannot buy, you cannot get by doing something. It just takes time.”

Ukraine's Marta Kostyuk is enjoying the best start to a season of her young career.

In 2024, Kostyuk is also putting more prize money in her pocket. Kostyuk reached her maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal at this year’s Australian Open, and last month she went to the final of a 500-level event in San Diego. 

Here in Tennis Paradise, her maiden 1000-level quarterfinal has come – and she heads into her next match with Anastasia Potapova without having dropped a set so far at the BNP Paribas Open.

“Definitely one of the best [seasons] of my life so far, and I want to keep going, enjoying it,” she said.

There is one other thing that is helping Kostyuk hit the next level in 2024 – she was married last fall, in a beautiful ceremony in Cyprus, in November. 

“It’s different, but it’s very cool, because it’s another responsibility in life and it gives you a lot of power when you know you can take this responsibility and hold it,” Kostyuk said. “A lot of people are running away from it, I would say – doesn’t matter if it’s about marriage, just in general.” 

Kostyuk says that the experience of being married, of learning to live with another person and make selfless sacrifices, has helped her learn about herself and become a better problem solver on the tennis court. 

“When there are some struggles and you are overcoming, it gives you confidence,” she said. “It gives you a different perspective on a lot of things. 

“You learn a lot about yourself and I can say that it definitely helped me a lot on court. I can solve more things quickly. I got some very valuable lessons and experiences and I don’t think I would be able to do that if I was not married, so I really cherish it a lot.”

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