Katie Volynets’ parents — Her Ukrainian roots explored

Katie Volynets

Katie Volynets recently made history by becoming the first American qualifier to reach the third round of the Australian Open. The 21-year-old defied the odds to defeat 9th-seed Veronika Kudermetova in three sets, advancing to face Zhang Shuai in the next stage. 

Volynets’ victory over Kudermetova was her first triumph against a top-10 opponent. Regardless of how far she goes, Volynets will surely improve her world ranking, which is currently No. 113. 

Volynets has caught the world’s attention primarily because of her tennis but also due to her name Volynets. People consider her name – which is really pronounced ‘volley nets’ – the perfect tennis player’s moniker. 

Katie’s parents moved to Northern California from Ukraine

Katie Volynets' parents
Katie Volynets’ parents | katie.volynets/Instagram

Katie Volynets was born on 31st December 2001 to Anna and Andrey Volynets in Walnut Creek, California. Andrey and Anna immigrated to the United States from Ukraine and settled in Northern California. 

Volynets told the Associated Press that she is fluent in Russian, her first language. Volynets said she learned English in school. “They wanted English teachers to teach me English, so I wouldn’t pick English up from them,” Katie said of her parents. 

She grew up visiting her extended family in Ukraine – she last visited the country after Wimbledon 2021. Volynets said she appreciates the support she receives from her relatives:

“I have a lot of cousins in Ukraine and actually they watch every single match. They usually write me and I communicate with them. It’s really special. It’s really a difficult time.”

Volynets hopes to show support for Ukraine through her performances. She continued: “To have their support through all of this is incredible. Whenever I come out on the courts, I hope that I’m supporting them as well because they’re watching, and I stay strong for them.”

Katie’s mom wanted her to pursue swimming, but she was more interested in tennis

Katie Volynets' mother
Katie Volynets’ mother | katie.volynets/Instagram

Katie Volynets told WTA Tour that she started playing tennis with her family because she got bored with coloring books. She was five years old when she borrowed a tennis racquet. She continued:

“The funny thing is we started playing in the house. My dad would be, like, ‘Hit it into my hand,’ and there was a chandelier up there. No pressure. After that we moved on to Heather Farms Park. That was where I had my first lessons. Then to Moraga Country Club.”

Anna, Katie’s mom, was an accomplished swimmer who tried to nudge Katie into loving the sport. However, she hated the monotonous movements of swimming, so she faked stomach aches to evade swimming practice. She said:

“Nothing against swimming, but for me personally I felt that you just take one lap, two laps, three laps, four different strokes. In tennis there’s so many different shots, and that kept it really exciting for me all the time. I’m still really excited about every shot.”