Coco Vandeweghe on her pre-match rituals, her U.S. Open debut, and wanting to party with Novak Djokovic

Coco Vandeweghe in action at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. this week. (Photo credit Romana Cvitkovic)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — American Coco Vandeweghe, who shot up 50 spots in the the WTA Tour rankings after reaching the Stanford final three weeks ago, is in action this week at the Citi Open. After receiving the tournament’s last wildcard and her highest career seeding, Vandeweghe finds herself in the quarterfinals with fellow American Vania King as her next opponent.

I had a chance to chat with the rising star and she cheerfully reminisced about her greatest on-court moment, admitted she would want to party with Novak Djokovic, and disclosed some funny pre-match rituals she has.

What is your most memorable moment in your career?

Playing on opening night in Arthur Ashe stadium against Jelena Jankovic when she was no. 1 in the world, and I was 16 years old.

What would you do if you weren’t a tennis player?

I would be in college – playing basketball, probably.

If you could play against any player in history, who would it be and why?

I’d want to play against a couple: Chris Evert, Lindsay Davenport, and Martina Navratilova because they’re all great players. I’ve looked up to Lindsay for a long time and she’s been a great friend, and so has Chris Evert.

If you were hosting a party, what three tennis players would you invite and why?

I would invite my coach who is an ex-tennis play, Jan-Michael Gambill, Irina Falconi who is a great friend of mine on the WTA Tour, and Novak Djokovic because he’s seems like a lot of fun. [Laughs]

What are two things you couldn’t live without?

Music and probably my family.

What do you to get ready in the day before a match?

I enjoy my sleep. [Smiles] And then I have my own little rituals and different tedious things that I do, like tying my left shoe before my right shoe.

If you could invite any three people, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be?

I would invite my grandmother who died two years ago – pretty much just family members, my grandfather, my mom, my family.

No famous people?

No, probably not. [Laughs]

If you were given a camera crew and unlimited access to the WTA Tour, what would you want to show the public about pro tennis?

Just how fun the women’s tour is. We have great personalities, but we do dumb stuff sometimes. Even myself – dumb little fights like with the airline attendant, and me trying to sneak my tennis bag onto the airplane without trying to check it because it’s a pain in the butt! There’s a lot of fun stuff on Tour, and I would want to capture that.