Daniela Hantuchova: Bouchard and Li Na in battle of generations

The women's tournament at this year's Australian Open has already given us some interesting battles between youth and experience. I know from my own career that there are advantages to both.

Like Eugenie Bouchard, who takes on Li Na in the semi-finals on Thursday, I had some big breakthroughs when I was still a teenager. I won my first tournament in Indian Wells aged 18 and then reached the quarter-finals of Wimbledon and the US Open that same year.

At that age, you are quite fearless and you can go for it because you don't necessarily think about how much is on the line. You live in the moment and you can get swept along. It's an incredible feeling and so exciting, but it's easy to get overwhelmed as well.

Bouchard is used to having a lot of attention around her, and I was a kind of used to being in the public eye a lot myself by the time I broke through. That definitely helps because there are a lot of things to deal with off the court when you do really well at a major event.

Suddenly the media and everyone else is very focused on what you are doing and you have to learn to manage all that and keep your mind on what you have to do on the court. The matches keep getting tougher and you need to be mentally fresh for every challenge.

Bouchard has a big challenge on her hands in playing Li who is the only grand slam champion left in the competition. Li is at the other end of the scale to Bouchard in terms of her experience and she really loves playing in Australia.

She is a former finalist here and when you have played well at a tournament before it can make a big difference. You feel comfortable in your surroundings and it feels familiar and natural to be playing well at this stage of the tournament. It can be just as valuable as being young and fresh. It's kind of a battle of the generations.

My fellow Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova is having a fantastic tournament and I expect her to play well against Agnieszka Radwanska in the other women's semi-final on Thursday. The women's draw is very open and it will come down to who gets the details right on and off the court.

A lot of big names have gone out of this Australian Open but I think it's fantastic for women's tennis to have such a mix of personalities and age groups all playing well. All of the girls left in the draw have their own characters and styles of play and they are from different nations and regions as well, which attracts more fans to the sport and to the Australian Open. Everyone has someone to cheer for.

However long you have been around you can always keep learning and I have really enjoyed getting the chance to try some commentary for Channel Seven this week. The commentary box has an amazing view at court level and it's a good challenge to analyse a match and try to describe it in a way non-tennis players will understand. It's definitely something I would like to do more of when I stop playing, but for now it's fun when I have the time.

Follow Daniela on Twitter @DHantuchova

The story Daniela Hantuchova: Bouchard and Li Na in battle of generations first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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