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29.11.12 | Anna Petrakova: I want to win the EuroLeague!

She seems to just step off the catwalk: tall, slender and beautiful. Might dedicate her life to fashion, but basketball was first. She is Anna Petrakova, debuting this year in UMMC the multiple times Champion of Russia and Cup of Russia owner.

Anns every successful shot is followed by hailstorm of applause because she has a lot of fans at home. Her team record is also impressive: Gloria-MIIT (Moscow), Nur (Kazan), CSKA, Spartak (St. Petersburg), Sparta & K (Vidnoje), Vologda-Chevakata, Dynamo (Kursk).

- Why there were so many clubs? Did you ever want to stop and say: That is my team?

- There were no enough space for self expression and satisfaction of the ambitions for the game. Wanted to get maximum possible from what I had. But it had another side. Every new club had its new city and brought difficult period of adaptation. Hope it wont be like that in UMMC.

- You were born in Budapest, werent you?

- Yes I did. It was the time my dad Victor Stepanovich Petrakov used to coach local Hungarian team and brought my mom there. I lived there for 2 years. When I was 18 I could get the Hungarian citizenship according the law, but I havent decided yet. My dad used to play for the CSKA during the famous coach Alexander Gomelskiy. Victor Stepanovich is 11 times Champion of the USSR, the record holder in collecting the gold medals. He keeps on playing for the basketball veterans. His team won the champion title of the world championship in Brazil. My dad is the tallest in the team about 2 meters height. That where my height comes from

- How tall are you?

- 188 sm. Perfect for the basketball player.

- How did you decide to play?

- My dad an unquestionable authority for me. Although my mom prepared me to play music and even bought a musical book. Dad stood firm: Dont you see that the girls was born to play basketball! So far I never regret my decision to play and dad was 100 percent right. This is my sport. It is a team game still I always have an opportunity to realize my individual capabilities. There always a place for self-rating: to be useful in every episode of any part of the game. I am a leader and a forward. It means not only to make a fast break and run away from the opponent in order to outplay the rival and score but also to do the best in the defense, collect all possible rebounds under the boards.

On the other side of the world.

- Anna, how did you happen to be in the USA in Louisiana?

- My elder sister Marina lives there. She went there to study there and decided to stay. She married a foreigner there (he is from India). Now they have 3 children with Russian names Nadya, Victoriya and Anton. In 2000 when I finished school in Moscow my sister invited me to visit her. Dad also gave his blessing and told me to go. It was an uneasy task to adapt; it was a stress and a thrill. I had a hard time especially at night, but my sister was there for me. We are very close with Marina. I entered the university in the city of Lafayette in Louisiana. I played for the university basketball and the education was for free. At summer I returned to Russia to play in the junior national teams and won two gold medals of the European championships. Graduated from the university with a degree information technologies in business. I was the only one to get honours degree. My English is good so I always had to work as an interpreter almost in every team that I used to play for except CSKA.

- What did you get after 5 years in the USA except sports?

- Priceless experience. I dont want to compare what is better but the USA is so different from Russia, its perception of the world is totally different. I like American positive way of thinking because its just the way I feel, I dont like pessimists and try to convince them that everything will be ok.

Willing to win the EuroLeague with UMMC.

- Lets get back to sport. I have read once Anna Pertakova might turn to be the Russian national team leader one day. It was after the Olympics in London when the team didnt get any title.

- Its hard for me to make any comments. If it is what everybody expect from me, then I wont fail. Olympic Games were a personal breakthrough for me because I always dreamed to get to the Games. In 2008 it didnt work out. Then it was London. What did we miss? It might be experience, tall players (Maria Stepanova with her 2 meters). In order to win you must have a perfect game plan, adequate players rotation and it all depends on the Head Coach. Why UMMC? It is a well know brand in the womens basketball. Its also one of the best clubs. My agent chose UMMC and I was happy to agree. I want to play in the EuroLeague and win with this team. I know that Ekaterinburg did not have this title for 9 years. FIBA Europe gave one more chance and in March 2013 we will host the Final Eight. We look forward to make our fans glad.

- What are the fans like at Sport Arena?

- Its something insane. Crazy people. I havent heard anything so loud in no other place. You feel the support and fly over the floor as if you have wings.

- Few words about the Head Coach.

- Olaf Lange is what German punctuality and integrity is. He doesnt let himself to relax and demand from us to do the best we can. With his wife and assistant Sandy Brondello they supplement each other quite well.

- What can you say about Ekaterinburg. Do you like the city?

- The American Olympic Champion Diana Taurasi is delighted with it. Its a fairytale she says, and it reminds her America and one the other side its unique and has its own style. I would agree with her impressions. Lately we visited the Butterfly park in order to get away from practices and games. We expected it to be quite common but it happened to be very interesting. There were a lot of animals of all type, bunnies, guinea pigs. I even took a picture with a bald pig.

- Anna, you told us about your dad and sister. What about boyfriend?

- I have one, Nikita Kurbanov. He is also a basketball player and used to play for CSKA, now he is in Spartak from Saint Petersburg. We have been friends for a long time but not married yet. Hope we will be a family in a couple of years. We need more time to play. Nikita is also full of ambitions and he is quite a realist. We perfectly feel each other.

- You are here in Ekaterinburg and he is in St. Petersburg, pretty far

- We meet sometimes in the airports and hotels. There is Internet and SMS.

- Do you know that on February our local Ural basketball club will meet Spartak from St. Petersburg in a game for the Cup?

- It is great. We also have a little vacation before the catholic Christmas as well as men do and both of us will have a short break in the game series. Hope we will meet the New Year together.

An exemplar.

- Lets talk about the hobbies. Do you have an examplar in the literature?

- Anna Karenina. Tolstoy could perfectly express the womens feelings and picture their deepness. I often focus her image one myself. I also look forward to see a new movie with Kira Nightly.

- It seem like the movies by Guy Richie and David Fincher are your favorite?

- Yes I enjoy watching thrillers combined with drama and detectives shot in a specific way. Richie is one of my favorite directors. Fight Club by Gavid Fincher impressed me so much that I watched it three times. I dont look for the movies of this type on purpose but when I have an opportunity I really enjoy watching them.

- Are you capable to do crazy things?

- When I was studding in Louisiana I died my hair in a bright color. My fans asked me what happened. Sometimes I am experimenting. At the age of 21 I looked for something new. Now I think twice to make right decisions. The craziest thing I can do is going out in the evening without any plan when I dont have trainings. Still I always know when I must come back and always call my loved ones.

From: Vecherniy Ekaterinburg
By: Albert Chudinovskiy

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