Role Right-handed aggressive baseliner (two-handed backhand)
Relation(s) Jevgenijs Ostapenko (father), Jelena Jakovleva (mother)
Jelena Ostapenko is a Latvian tennis player, who announced herself on the world stage by winning the 2017 French Open at the age of 20.
Ostapenko is widely regarded as one of the best ball-strikers in the world, and her success at such an early age suggests she will be a dominant force in the years to come.
Best finish at each of the four Grand Slams:
Australian Open: 3rd Round (2017, 2018)
French Open: Champion (2017)
Wimbledon: Semifinalist (2018)
US Open: 3rd Round (2017, 2018)
Highest Ranking: No. 5
Style of play
Ostapenko is a super-aggressive player who takes big cuts at virtually every shot. She looks to end points as quickly as possible, no matter where she is on the court, and is especially eager to hit aggressive returns.
Ostapenko hits her groundstrokes very flat, and prefers pace over placement. She launches her all-out attack from at or just behind the baseline, but occasionally approaches the net to take the ball out of the air.
Strengths and weaknesses
Ostapenko's groundstrokes are some of the most powerful in the world. She is capable of hitting anyone off the court; very few players can match her firepower from the ground.
Ostapenko's forehand is an especially dangerous weapon, as she can blast winners off it from anywhere in the court. Her backhand is also very pacy and flat; her down-the-line backhand in particular takes many of her opponents off-guard.
The Latvian's movement is not her strongest suit, but she is not slow either. On the few occasions that she does play defense, she is quite capable of holding her own. Her combination of strong offense and good footwork means that her game translates well to all surfaces; one month after winning her first French Open on clay, she reached the Wimbledon on grass, reinforcing her versatility.
Ostapenko's serve is possibly her biggest weakness. She doesn't possess the pace or control of some of her more powerful peers, and often sends it short and loopy.
Her impatience can also sometimes get the better of her. In her eagerness to hit winners, she can make a ton of unforced errors too, which can end up costing her the match.
Ostapenko was born in Riga, Latvia, and goes by her nickname 'Alona' in her hometown. She has been coached by her mother Jelena Jakovleva since the age of five, and her father Jevgenijs Ostapenko used to be a professional footballer.
Ostapenko devoted her growing years to both tennis and dancing, and even competed at the National Championships for Ballroom Dancing as a kid. She decided to shift her focus completely to tennis at the age of 12, but still credits her dance training for her footwork and coordination on the tennis court.
Ostapenko's role model is Serena Williams, so it's no surprise that she plays such an attacking brand of tennis. She's one of the few players in the world who can match the power of the Williams sisters, which is why great things are expected of her in the coming years.