La Portugaise privilégie l'entraînement à l'enchaînement des tournoisLarcher de Brito talented beyond her years
Michelle Larcher de Brito is your ordinary teenager -- most of the time. Just 15 years old, she enjoys her friends, movies and journeys to the mall. But she is also a burgeoning tennis star, patiently waiting for her opportunity to mix it up with the world's best.
Teen phenom loves Armani
Michelle Larcher de Brito might be only 15 years old, but she appears to have a good head on her shoulders.
Clearly talented beyond her years, the Portugese teenager could be moaning about the fact that the WTA Tour sets limitations on the number of tournaments a young teen can play.
But instead, Larcher de Brito, ranked No. 226, steadfastly supports the rule."I think I can only play 10 tournaments a year,"
she said, speaking on the phone just an hour after setting up a second-round outing against recent Wimbledon finalist and former world No. 1 Serena Williams at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, Calif., last week."I'm not really against that rule. I think it's a good rule because they're trying to protect the players from overplaying. I actually don't like that many tournaments in a row. I like playing a couple of tournaments and then going home. I don't want to get too tired."
After winning the Orange Bowl title in December, Larcher de Brito ended her junior career, despite having three more years of eligibility.
She participates only in select pro tournaments and otherwise spends her time training at home in Bradenton, Fla., where she is attached to the Nick Bollettieri Academy. Her father, Antonio Larcher de Brito, is her full-time coach, and her entire family -- dad, mom and older twin brothers -- lives in Florida.
Michelle Larcher de Brito started the summer by playing the qualifying at the Bank of the West Classic, then won her first-round match against seasoned Gisela Dulko 7-5, 7-6 (1).
That provided her with the opportunity to face off with Williams, an eight-time Grand Slam champion. Larcher de Brito did not lose face against her notable opponent -- she won the opening set before surrendering 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Earlier in the year, Larcher de Brito scored a significant top-20 victory over Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in the first round at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, her favorite tournament thus far in her career."It was a really great win,"
she said of beating Radwanska, also still a teenager. "I was playing really well that day."
When she's at home, she goes to school at the academy and spends time going to the mall and movies with friends, just like any teenage girl."I don't have much time for it, but whenever I can, I go to movies and to the mall,"
Larcher de Brito said. "I love Armani Exchange. I actually have a Siberian Huskie, and his name is Armani."