The first turning point was in junior tennis. I had started playing well when I was 16, but I had less success the following year and my rating took a big hit. I had already been training for 11 years in "Luzhniki" at that point, so I started thinking about changing something in my life and trying something in a different area. Instead of the Russian State University of Physical Education, I chose the National Design Institute where I studied costume design for a year. It was hard to combine my education in the evening with tournaments and training sessions, so I took academic leave and went to Spain for three months to the renowned Valencia Tennis Academy. When I came back to Moscow, I started working with a new coach, Eugenia Maniokova, and with her my career quickly took off. After some time, I nevertheless went to the Russian State University of Physical Education and graduated successfully.
The next turning point can be linked to two injuries: a hand injury which took three months to heal with me having to miss tournaments, and the second injury with my Achilles tendon which became chronic because it hadn't healed in time.