Tennis Europe Junior Tour

In the Spotlight: Victoria Barros

In the Spotlight: Victoria Barros

We recently had the opportunity to sit and talk to the effervescent Victoria Barros of Brazil. The 13-year old São Paulo native is one of the many faces of a new generation of players from South America enjoying success on the Junior Tour.

Having won last year’s Overseas Player of the Year award, Barros has continued to make waves this season. She won the coveted Paris Cat.1 title in 2022, which she successfully defended in 2023, and was the highest-ranked non-European on the last year’s rankings with a 28/9 win/loss record.

How and when did you start playing tennis?

I started to play tennis because my mother played so many sports, like beach tennis and volleyball. At the beginning, she really helped me to get started. At first, I played beach tennis and then after that, I loved racquet sports and I started to play tennis when I was five.

When did you realize, “OK I’m quite good!”?

I think at first, I just loved the game…and then I started to play seriously and when I was six or seven I thought “yes, I can do this!”

How did you first find out about the Tennis Europe Junior Tour?

Well, I started to play in São Paulo and when I was training, I didn’t know too much about it…but I heard about it for the first time when I was 10 or 11 maybe. I didn’t start playing (on the Tour) then, because it was too far at that time.

What did you know about Tennis Europe?

Well, when I was young, I saw that it was so good and that there were a lot of good players there, you know even before, with Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Sharapova and everyone who played in these tournaments. So, I said “Mum, these tournaments in Europe are so good!” Then my mother and I learned more about Tennis Europe, how it works, who were the players and things like that.

What would you say are the advantages or drawbacks of the TEJT?

Well, I would say the good thing, depending on the tournament, is that the organization is generally quite good. The clubs (venues) are normally very good. Like in Maia (where this interview took place) for example, it’s great. I think the Super Category tournaments are really well organized, but it would be better to improve the match organization.

You mean the scheduling?

Yes, sometimes matches go late, and they don’t change the courts … so we are here until 5 o’clock or 6 o’clock and you start playing so late … and on court there is a match at 3-3 in the third set and you’ve been waiting all day and it’s just a little bit tiring. So, it’s better if I play on another court - any court. I think in general the schedules are OK but when matches go long, it needs to improve.

You recently started training at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy. How is that experience for you?

Yes, I started in January and it’s an incredible experience. There are so many good players there and a lot of different coaches. Everything is new for me. I have improved everything and I’m starting to play more consistently. The club is so good and the people there are amazing.

How often do you go there? Is that your base now, or how does it work for you?

Yes, now I am there full-time. Sometimes I go on a holiday to Brazil. But yes, my base is there now. My Mum and I live there.

There are a lot of videos on social media where you’ve been training with Patrick himself. What was that like for you, working with somebody like that?

It was an incredible experience to have a coach who worked with Serena Williams, Holger Rune and other top players. He has so much experience at tournaments - it’s so good.

Have you ever had the chance to practice with any top players?

Well, back in Brazil, I practiced with Beatriz Haddad Maia. And she’s such a good player now, representing Brazil and everything (she’s doing).

We can see a lot of players coming from Colombia, Argentina and so forth. Do you see tennis in South America getting stronger and becoming more powerful in tennis?

I think in South America there’s one difference that is really good because in South America it’s more … more fight! Because in some countries, the situation is very difficult like in Venezuela or Brazil, even. So, the players just fight and go for every ball and everything.

Moving forward, what does the near future hold for you?

Well, I think for now just to keep playing and try and improve with every match… and start to work even harder and, yeah, just keep playing. There are so many tournaments to come!

You were Tennis Europe’s Overseas Player of the Year in 2022. What does it mean to you to win something like this?

I feel so good because It’s such a great experience in Europe, and I’ve played in some good tournaments. I have improved and I won a big tournament in Paris (Open Stade Français, Category 1). I think for me and for South America it’s very good because having one player starting to play in Europe might open the minds of other people.

When you have time to relax away from tennis, what things do you like to do?

Well, one of my hobbies is playing football. I used to play football very well ... and beach tennis too! Like I said, I started playing beach tennis before playing tennis … And well I just love beach tennis so much!!

Yes, it’s so much fun! And what about when you just want to chill or to relax at tournaments?

At the tournaments I like to meet and talk to new people, and I also spend time on Tik Tok (Laughs). I also like to talk to my mum, about my matches and everything. I like that so much. My mum is my rock.

What are your plans for the rest of 2023 and beyond?

I think I will play more ITF events to get more points and enter in junior (events). I might play some TEJT as well but now my focus is to start to play ITF and improve.

Thank you very much, and good luck with everything.

Thank you.

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