“I want to beat the Chinese”
Date: 7/1/2012 9:58 PM
Published by : Marie-Anne Midy

Linda Zechiri is currently number 29 in the BWF world rankings and the second best female shuttler from her country Bulgaria. Recently, with the bronze medal at the 2012 European Championships she landed her biggest victory so far. We spoke to the 24-year-old from Sofia about victories, barriers and she reveals to us who she finds inspiring.

BADMINTON EUROPE: Linda, we know you as a European top player in the women’s singles for quite a while now. But when did you hit your first shuttle?

Linda Zechiri: Well, I started playing when I was a little girl at the age of 5 and I loved it from the first rally I have played. Later at the age of 14, I started to practice more serious and by then I was slowly beginning to have the dream of being amongst the best players in the world.

BADMINTON EUROPE: What are your biggest victories until now?

Zechiri: My greatest achievement until now is definitely the bronze medal from the 2012 European Championships in Karlskrona. This is something I really wanted to achieve. It was my big goal and being one of the best players on our continent feels incredible nice. But a very big victory for me is also that I found out how to win against my toughest opponent. And that is myself (laughs)!

BADMINTON EUROPE: Did you have any barriers on your way to become a European top player?

Zechiri: I have had too many barriers, really. It will take me too long to list them all!

BADMINTON EUROPE: How do you handle your defeats?

Zechiri: The first feeling after losing a match is of course not a nice feeling, you know! I hate losing since I was a very young girl. I have to admit that's something I still have to learn and control a bit better. But once I start reflecting, I am really good at finding out good ideas for improving my game and become a better player. That’s something which came natural to me.  

BADMINTON EUROPE: What is your next ambition to achieve?

Zechiri: For me it is very important to develop in every way. I’m patiently waiting to achieve the next step as a player in terms of quality. Definitely, one of my ambitions is to start beating the Chinese girls. The consequences from it could be so many!

BADMINTON EUROPE: What are you like off court, in ordinary life? What do you like to do when you are free from tournaments?

Zechiri: If I have to define myself, I think I’m a friendly, honest, very ambitious, positive and an open-minded person.  And well, I am pretty good at separating or defining myself from Linda on court and Linda off court as much as that can be done! There is difference - at least for me!

Furthermore I am a huge music fan. And I love doing other sports. I spend every free minute off court for hanging out with my friends and my family. I love having fun with them and do 'crazy' things sometimes! I love being in the nature! In Bulgaria we are extremely lucky to have such a wonderful nature with beautiful mountains, lakes and of course the hot and exotic Black Sea Cost. For me this is the perfect climate and combination. Not many countries in the world have that. For me  it's priceless! I try to escape there as often as possible (laughs).

I have big interest in playing guitar too. Psychology and philosophy is something I am also very interested in.

BADMINTON EUROPE: Do you have any recommendation to other young girl’s players on how to achieve your very personal goal?

Zechiri: My recommendation to them is to do everything from all of their heart and work hard. Then anything they want to achieve will be joyful and possible.

BADMINTON EUROPE: Which other female athletes inspire you and why?

Zechiri: One of my best friends Maria Dimitrova. She is from track and field. She inspired me for her love to the sport and her fighting spirit. Another very good friend is Anna Rice. She is mentally very strong. And she was inspiring me in every way as an athlete and person.

Thanks for the interview!

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