Daniela Hantuchova was born on April 23rd, 1983 in Poprad, Slovakia. Her father is a university professor and her mother a toxicologist. She was raised in a family of avid tennis players. Her grandmother was a former Czechoslovakia national tennis player and taught Daniela the game when she was three years old. Her grandmother, seeing her potential, enrolled her in Salvia STU, an exclusive tennis club in Bratislava. Daniela showed a natural talent for the game and enjoyed it tremendously; she vowed at a young age that she would be a professional player someday. She kept her vow and turned professional in 1999 when she turned sixteen.
Her first Grand Slam came in 2001 at the Australian Open. She qualified for the first round, but was later beaten by Anna Kournikova. At the US Open that year she also qualified but was defeated in the first round. As she built her competition skills she made steady progress. She won her first Grand Slam Mixed Doubles match at the All England Tennis Club later that year.
In 2002 she made the semi-finals in Birmingham and Oklahoma and won another mixed doubles Grand Slam at the Australian Open with Kevin Ullyett and also won her first singles title at Indian Wells; she won over two-million dollars in prize money. By the end of 2002 she had a world rank of eight. In 2003 her rank went up to five, but she suffered extreme stress in the later part of that year. She had a breakdown on the court and it was assumed that she was overwhelmed by the pressure; also she had lost a considerable amount of weight which stirred rumors of anorexia. It later turned out that her parents were going through a difficult divorce which greatly affected Daniela who wanted to keep the ordeal private and out of the media.
She has had a difficult time re-gaining her standing and rank since 2003, however, given her talent and young age, it is speculated that if she so desires, she will reposition herself in the top ten once again.
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