Seles keen to get on court[12.17.2004]
By Daryl Fenemor - Women's tennis legend Monica Seles will use the two exhibition matches against Martina Navratilova in Auckland and Christchurch in February as a build up to her return to the WTA Tour.
Seles has not played competitively since the 2003 French Open as she has battled with a foot injury, but the matches against Navratilova will help her gage how close she is to a return to top competition.
"This is going to be a great test for me," Seles told the phone conference on Friday. "I've been hitting for some time but it's always different when you play a match. There's no better way to try it than playing against Martina, as she was the one I played against in my first come back.
"It's going to gage where my game is. It's going to tell a lot about how my foot holds up. Then I'll probably want another months practice and then hopefully be ready in about March or April."
Seles has won 53 tournament singles titles but is very excited about the prospect of playing the exhibition matches as she has never been to New Zealand and is also bringing her mother along.
"It's so exciting to come to New Zealand because I've never been there and I've heard how beautiful it is and checked it out now that I know I'm coming, on the website and just making a list of stuff I want to do and see and definitely want to sea kayak."
She also mentioned the possibility of a bungy jump, which would be more a test of her nerve than her foot.
The 31-year old has a slight upper hand in the history of matches against Navratilova and she says they are both very competitive players who will take the matches seriously.
"We count them when we play in the back yard," Seles said as the two are now nearly neighbours in Florida and often hit together. "We're just competitive, I guess it's part of your blood."
The injury break was frustrating for Seles but it has not quelled her hunger to compete at the top level and has given her the opportunity to work on more of her overall fitness.
"The good thing was that it has definitely made me do tons of stuff off court which I probably should have done a lot earlier in my career but I'm definitely probably in one of the best shapes, if not, by shape and my fitness, in a long, long, long time."
Seles says she will give herself six months back on the tour to try and prove she can still compete with the best but even if she can't she is happy with what she has achieved in the sport.
"If my time comes and my career is over then that's fantastic I had a wonderful career, but if I can eek out just a little bit more to at least finish on a happy term instead of playing in pain like I have the last few months that would be great."
Seles will play Navratilova in two exhibition matches at the ASB Tennis Centre in Auckland on February 1 and Christchurch's Westpac Centre on February 3.
And for those that are interested she is pretty sure she still grunts but she says she never realises she is doing it.
Navratilova and Seles to play in NZ[12.08.2004]
Two of the biggest names in women's tennis are to play in New Zealand next year.
Tennis legend Martina Navratilova and Monica Seles will play two exhibition matches in February, it was announced today. It will be the first time either of the former world No. 1's have been to New Zealand to play tennis, with the first match in Auckland on February 1, followed by a rematch on February 3 in Christchurch.
Today's joint statement from Auckland Tennis and Canterbury Tennis follows the top-class men's field assembled for the Heineken Open in January.
Navratilova is recognised as one of the world's most phenomenal athletes and has won 58 grand slam titles in a career that has spanned over 30 years.
She has also won 167 singles titles on the WTA Tour, which is the most won by any man or woman in the history of tennis, and 173 doubles titles. She is one of few players to have been ranked Number 1 in both singles and doubles concurrently.
Navratilova, 48, played in the women's doubles at the Athens Olympics and is still playing mixed doubles on the professional circuit.
In 1990 a 16-year-old Seles won her first grand slam singles title after beating Navratilova - making her the youngest French Open champion to date.
In the next two years Seles won eight out of nine grand slams she played, but in 1993 Seles was stabbed in the back by Guenter Parche during her quarterfinal match in Hamburg, subsequently missing more than two years on the WTA Tour.
She eventually carried on to win 53 career titles and spent 178 weeks as world No 1.
No retirement, wedding plans for Seles[11.06.2004]
Monica Seles has heard the rumors of her retirement so many
times that she hardly notices them anymore.
It was the rumor of her impending marriage that caught Seles by surprise.
Seles, home to visit her mother recently, walked into a Sarasota business and a man she knows asked her about the rumor she was getting married.
"I have no idea where that one is coming from," Seles said. "It completely blew me away.
"It's not true … and the other one isn't true, either."
The other rumor has much more credence. Seles has hardly played the past two years. A foot injury threatens to end her career. While she hasn't called it quits, Seles concedes that the end of her tennis career could come sooner rather than later.
"By January, I will make a decision," Seles said. "If I can't play then I probably will (retire). But not until January. I am trying to get ready to play this year. I don't want to talk about it because I am still trying so hard. I am not going into it with that frame of mind."
Seles, 30, was the dominant player in women's tennis in the early 1990s and ranked No. 1 at the time she was stabbed by a crazed fan during a tournament in Germany in 1993. Though she has had her moments since returning after a two-year absence, she never completely recaptured the magic that led her to winning eight of the final nine Grand Slam events she played before the attack.
She did win another Australian Open and got to a pair of U.S. Open finals and a French Open final after coming back. She even reached at least the quarterfinals of all four Grand Slam events in 2002 but the past two years have been plagued by a series of setbacks because of a stress fracture in her left foot.
Seles practiced and rehabbed most of this past year and planned several times to play but her foot wouldn't hold up. She has not played a match on tour since losing in the first round of the 2003 French Open.
Once again, Seles has been practicing, mostly in San Diego. This week, she returned to New York to have her foot checked.
"I am trying to stay in a positive frame of mind," Seles said. "I have been feeling good. I have been hitting in the morning and then in the afternoon about three times a week. It is feeling better."
The plan is to play a lower level tournament in early January, starting in New Zealand or a tournament in Canberra, Australia. The Australian Open is later in January.
Even if she does return, Seles acknowledges that she probably would not play for more than another year, "but at least one more year would be great."
Several times during the past year the foot seemed to be progressing but wouldn't hold up to the rigors of tournament tennis. Each time, rumors of retirement grew.
Seles is determined not to give in to those rumors without one more good try.
"I have not said that to anyone," Seles insisted about plans to retire.
ITA Women's Tennis Hall of Fame to Induct Four[09.10.2004]
WILLIAMSBURG, VA - The Intercollegiate Tennis Association Hall of Fame will be celebrating its 10th anniversary in conjunction with the induction of the class of 2004. The festivities will be held on the William and Mary campus at the award-winning McCormack-Nagelsen Tennis Center (MNTC) on September 18, 2004.
The 2004 inductees are Barbara Schofield Davidson (University of California – Berkeley, University of Miami), Belmar Gunderson (UNC – Greensboro), Barbara Jordan (Stanford) and Kathy Jordan (Stanford). The Class of 2004 brings the hall a wide variety of accomplishments in both the collegiate and professional tennis ranks (see below for detailed accounts of their individual achievements).
Aside from the induction ceremony, one of the evening's highlights will include a special tribute made to the memory of Mark McCormack '51, who with his wife Betsy Nagelsen, made the MNTC the home of the Tribe tennis teams and the ITA Women's Hall of Fame. Tennis great, Monica Seles, will join Betsy Nagelsen in the tribute ceremony. Saturday's event will cap off an exciting weekend of activities for the inductees, as they will participate in exhibition matches, tour the Williamsburg area and much more. The evening's events will kickoff with a cocktail party, followed by the induction ceremony, complete with dinner and video tributes.
Hall of fame members consist of outstanding collegiate players, players who attended college and later had a significant impact on women's tennis, outstanding collegiate coaches, and individuals who played a major role in the development of women's intercollegiate tennis. The Hall also holds a century's worth of exhibits, ranging from Wimbledon Rosewater plates, to prototype rackets, designer tennis clothing, historic photos and scrapbooks.
Resulting from a financial gift from Mark and Betsy McCormack, the MNTC opened in 1995. It was built not only as home to the Tribe's men's and women's tennis programs, but as the permanent home for the ITA's Women's Hall of Fame. McCormack was the founder, lead chairman, and CEO of the International Management Group, the world's largest sports and entertainment conglomerate before he passed away on May 16, 2003.
All fans of tennis are invited to attend the Hall of Fame activities. Tickets are $100 per person and can be acquired by contacting Alycia Libby, Director of Special Events, via phone at 757-221-1599, fax at 757-221-2048, or E-Mail at email@example.com
The following is a brief thumbnail sketch on each of the 2004 inductees.
Barbara Schofield Davidson She started riding horses, but Barbara Scofield Davidson (b. 1926) discovered her true sport when she picked up a racquet at age 11; by age 12, she had advanced to the finals of her first tournament. She was the No. 1 ranked junior player in northern California in 1944 and won the Eastern Intercollegiate Championships in 1947. 1949 was a banner year: Davidson won the California State Championship; defeated Maureen Connelly in the U.S. Championship; and won the Singles, Ladies Doubles, and Mixed Doubles at the Championships of South America. By 1950, she was No. 5 in the world. She enjoyed the social side of the tennis tour and brought quite a fashion flair to the traditional whites at Wimbledon—but those white jackets covered one of the best forehands in tennis. Davidson retired from tennis in 1956 at age 29 to raise her children, but time never dulled her passion to compete. She won the National Grass Court Championships in 1997 and was ranked No. 2 nationally among players in their seventies in 1998. Davidson won the Les-Grand Dames Championship in 2002, a tournament that draws many former U.S. Open and Wimbledon players. She also supports the arts in Wisconsin and Florida.
Belmar Gunderson Encouraged to participate in all kinds of sports, from hockey to football, Belmar Gunderson (b. 1934) started playing tennis at age 12. She competed in ten U.S. Championships, three Wimbledons, and one French Championship, and she celebrated her 21st birthday in 1955 with a win over Wimbledon champion Louise Brough at Forest Hills. Even though she now spends much of her time raising horses, Gunderson remains fiercely competitive on the court. She has won eleven national doubles titles in three different senior age groups since 1994. Gunderson's legacy is not just to tennis, but to all women's athletics. When she went back to school as a teacher and coach, she used her competitive spirit to improve women's sports. She established the first women's extramurals sports programs at the University of Minnesota when she joined the faculty in 1962. She was the first official coach of the women's tennis team and oversaw the creation of ten women's varsity sports. She fought to increase the women's sports' budget to $330,000 when she left the school in 1977. Gunderson was a force in creating women's college athletics as we know it today.
Barbara Jordan Under her father's coaching, Barbara Jordan (b. 1957) never lost a single match in her age group in ennsylvania between age 13 and 18. Her aggressive serve-and-volley game dominated the Middle States and helped Upper Merion High School win two Pennsylvania State High School Singles Championships. She won her first USTA National Championship and played in the Junior Wimbledon Championships in 1974. In 1975 Jordan was among the first women to receive an athletic scholarship to Stanford University. She became a three-time All-American, and won the AIAW Doubles Championship (with her sister Kathy) in 1978. Jordan turned pro in 1979 and achieved a high ranking of 37. She became the only American woman during the 1970s to win the Singles at the Australian Open that year. Her doubles record includes the French Open Mixed Championship in 1983 and victories over Chris Evert, Wendy Turnball, Rosie Casals, and Billie Jean King. Jordan also served the game off court on the WTA Board of Directors, where she worked to make the WTA a more professional organization. She was honored with WTA's Player Service Award.
Kathy Jordan Her father, Robert, started coaching her when she was 7, and Kathy Jordan (b. 1959) loved the game, playing her first tournament when she was 8. She and her sister Barbara dominated the middle states as junior players. Jordan used her height and reach to great advantage at Stanford, who awarded her an athletic scholarship in 1978. She capped her college career by winning the Singles and Doubles (with Barbara) at the AIAW National Tournament in 1979. After her sophomore year, Jordan found success on the pro circuit, claiming victories over Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Pam Shriver, and Tracy Austin and ranking No. 5 in the world. She won seven Grand Slam doubles titles, including three Wimbledon Championships. Jordan has worked hard to advance women's tennis. She served as Secretary and Vice President of the WTA Board of Directors; helped initiate the circuit's first drug-testing policy; and, with the help of her father, started the first retirement plan for women's professional tennis players. Jordan also cofounded what would become the Advanta Championships in Philadelphia. She received WTA's Player Service Award in 1991.
For further information please contact Millie West, Curator, ITA Women's Tennis Hall of Fame, 757.221.3331 or visit www.ITAHallofFame.com.
Nagging foot injury leaves Seles' future uncertain[09.07.2004]
By Douglas Robson
NEW YORK — She was once depicted as Madonna and Greta Garbo rolled into one: bold, outgoing and spotlight-seeking one minute, and then imperious, mysterious and incognito the next. Lately, however, two-time U.S. Open champion Monica Seles is just MIA.
With many of the WTA Tour stars back at the U.S. Open after missing last year's tournament, Seles is the biggest name in the women's game still sidelined. The tennis world waits and wonders: Is she gone for good?
Seles, who is doing promotional work for American Express in New York City this week, says she is not ready to hang up her rackets. "I've thought about it a lot the last few years, even when I was playing," says Seles, 30, who has not played a tour match in 15 months. "I'm very happy either way."
The Yugoslavia-born American last played in May 2003 when she lost in the first round of the French Open. A debilitating foot injury has kept her trademark two-fisted shots off the tour.
"It has been a very frustrating time for me because it comes and goes," Seles says of the pain caused by a crack in the sesamoid bone in her left foot.
Seles says she loves and misses her sport so much, she can barely tolerate watching it, though she plans to attend some matches at Flushing Meadows this week.
"Any time you're at a tennis tournament it's hard," she says. "For me it's easier to watch the men's than the women's matches."
With nine major singles titles, the Sarasota, Fla., resident is a lock for the International Tennis Hall of Fame. She still holds more titles (53) than any active player (except the reborn doubles specialist Martina Navratilova).
Seles knows the clock is ticking but doesn't know if or when she'll be able to return. "I know what level I would be happy coming back," she says, "and if I can't be at that level, that's when I'll decide to retire."
Known for her unparalleled killer instinct, Seles became a sympathetic figure in 1993 when she was stabbed in the back by a deranged Steffi Graf fan. Seles had been on a blistering pace with more Grand Slam titles than any 19-year-old in history. But unlike the dark and difficult two-plus years after the stabbing, Seles says the time off has been enjoyable, if exasperating.
"It's been nice to have a life," she says. "The biggest thing was not to feel the pressure of packing and unpacking again and again and not having to say to friends, 'See you in a month's time.' "
There is no feeling like it[07.25.2004]
By Mic Huber
Monica Seles will always cherish the bronze medal she won but that prestigious memento is only part of her Olympic experience.
The medal she earned in the 2000 Olympics hardly compares with the memories she gathered by simply being able to take part in the Games and hanging out with the other competitors.
"It was just so awesome to talk to them," Seles said about being able to interact with many of the top athletes in the world. "I absolutely had a blast. I met a lot of other athletes from different countries and was able to talk to them about the type of training they had gone through."
Seles has accomplished just about everything possible in tennis. She has won nine Grand Slam singles titles and 53 singles titles overall.
She has been ranked No. 1 in the world and earned almost $15 million in prize money.
She has won about every award possible in tennis, including the inaugural Sanex Hero of the Year Award in 2000. That award was the result of voting on the Women's Tennis Association's official website by fans of more than 90 countries, many of who were inspired by Seles' comeback from a stabbing by a crazed fan in 1993.
The Sarasota resident has modeled, written a book, and is a partner in the All-Star Café sports restaurant chain.
Yet, for all she has done, taking part in the Olympics remains at the top of her list of accomplishments. It holds a special meaning for the player who was born in Yugoslavia, moved to Bradenton as a child and officially became a U.S. citizen in 1994.
"I would have to say that playing in the Olympics, for me, was one of the highlights of my career," she said. "There is no feeling like it.
"In tennis, you are always playing as an individual. In the Olympics, you are playing for your country and you have teammates there watching your match."
Seles actually has played in a pair of Olympics. She took part in the Atlanta games in 1996 as the No. 1 seed and was shut out of the medals when she was upset by Jana Novotna in a match Seles has called "one of my tougher losses in my career."
She went to Sydney, Australia, in 2000 and won the bronze, losing to eventual gold medal winner Venus Williams in the semifinals before coming back to beat Jelena Dokic in the bronze-medal playoff match.
The medal was a bonus. The experience was what was most important. In an age in which professional athletes are often jaded, Seles has always appreciated her opportunity to share special experiences.
"For me, just walking in the opening ceremonies and staying in the Olympic village was what was so wonderful," Seles said. "It is really one of the few times in an athlete's life that you are around other athletes who have gone through similar training regimens and lifestyles that you have undergone."
One evening, Seles was walking back to her accommodations in the village after eating dinner when she was stopped by a large American athlete.
"He just comes up to me and says, 'Hi. How are you? I am a big fan of yours,' " Seles recalled. "Then he starts telling me that he was so worried about a big wrestling match he had the next day against someone who had never lost in his career.
"I just said, 'Omigosh.' "
The athlete was Rulon Gardner, who the next day pulled one of the greatest upsets in the Games by beating Alexander Karelin, a Russian who had not lost a match in 13 years.
"Two days later, everybody knows (Gardner)," Seles said. "There were so many cool experiences. It is great for tennis that it is in the Olympics."
Tennis has been Seles' life ever since, as a small child, her father began hitting tennis balls to her in a parking lot. Her father, Karolj, would draw cartoon characters on the tennis balls and Seles quickly showed the focus and talent that would take her to the top of the sport.
Seles made her professional debut in 1988, at the age of 14 years, three months. She won her first Grand Slam event by 1990, becoming the youngest French Open champion at the age of 16 years, six months.
By 1991, Seles was ranked No. 1 in the world and that year, she won three Grand Slam titles (French, Australian and U.S. Open). She won the same three again in 1992 and was the runner-up at Wimbledon and again was ranked No. 1 in the world.
Seles was still No. 1, and coming off another Australian Open victory, when she was stabbed during a changeover at a tournament in Hamburg, Germany, by Guenther Parche, a German who wished to see Steffi Graf back at No. 1.
Seles returned in 1995 to get to the final of the U.S. Open and won her last Grand Slam title the following January in Australia.
Last season, Seles was sidelined most of the year with a stress fracture in her left foot. She has yet to play a tour event this year but began playing competitively again recently in World TeamTennis matches.
Seles won't be playing in this year's Summer Games in Athens, but she remains committed to Olympics. For years, Seles has been active in working with Special Olympics athletes.
Newport breaks down Seles[07.12.2004]
by Rick Devereux - NEWPORT BEACH — The grunts and groans heard at the Palisades Tennis Club Sunday night came from Monica Seles and the rest of the New York Sportimes.
The noise probably resulted from the 24-13 beating the Newport Beach Breakers issued in a World TeamTennis game that included the demise of Seles, the nine-time Grand Slam champion.
Seles looked a step slow in her 5-2 mixed doubles loss to the Breakers' Nana Miyagi and Ellis Ferreira, and equally as slow in her 5-3 women's doubles loss to Miyagi and Aniko Kapros.
Seles, who made her first return to competitive tennis in a year and a half due to a foot injury, looked downright tortoise-like in her 5-1 drubbing to Kapros in women's singles.
"I haven't played in a long time," Seles said. "But [Kapros] was hitting every shot."
Kapros dominated her singles match to remain undefeated in five matches this season.
"I was just honored to be on the court with her," Kapros said of playing against her childhood idol. "I know that she wasn't in top form, but it was great to be on the court with her."
The fact that Seles was making her professional return against the Breakers did not rattle the Newport Beach team. It seemed to put the Breakers at ease.
"I was looking forward to playing against her," Ferreira said. "It was important for us to get out to a fast start because it makes the rest of the team feel good. You never want to play out of a hole."
The tandem of Miyagi and Ferreira raced out to a 3-0 lead in the mixed doubles. Ferreira put the set away with strong plays at the net, smashing point winners in the final game.
Kapros and Miyagi tried to exploit Seles' time away from the court, hitting many balls to her instead of Bea Bielik, Seles' partner.
"I was expecting [Seles] to come out and be fiery," Miyagi said.
But it was Kapros and Miyagi that were on fire, taking the first two games while allowing only one point for New York (1-5). Kapros aced three of the four points in the sixth game of the set, and Miyagi finished strong to give Newport a 10-5 advantage for team points.
"I just wanted to come out and play some good tennis," Seles said. "It felt good, but there was a combination of reasons why I was slow out there."
Seles cited her foot injury, rustiness from time away from the court and conditioning as reasons for her out-of-sync play.
Ferreira credits his female teammates for the early success of the Breakers.
"Team tennis relies on the women getting a lot of points, and Nana and Aniko have been great," he said. "Aniko has won, 5-2, 5-2, 5-3, 5-2, and now 5-1. She's been great for us."
The Breakers (4-1) have a road-and-away series with the Sacramento Capitols Tuesday and Wednesday, with the home Wednesday match being Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova's lone appearance with Newport. She canceled her scheduled match for Sunday due to exhaustion.
Seles not ready to pack it in[07.10.2004]
By Cindy Shmerler - MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- In the garage of Monica Seles's Sarasota, Fla., home sit unopened cartons of tennis trophies. There is the 1990 French Open Coupe -- the first of her three Roland Garros triumphs -- and the 1996 Australian Open prize. That one was special because it was Seles's first major victory following nearly 2 1/2 years away from the game because of an on-court stabbing in 1993. Neither of her two US Open trophies are anywhere to be seen, either.
Years ago, Seles promised not to open the boxes and decorate her home until her playing career, begun in February 1989 at age 15, was officially over. During the last injury-filled year, Seles, 30, was pretty sure retirement was imminent. She had not played competitively since she lost in the first round of the 2003 French Open to 76th-ranked Nadia Petrova of Russia.
"Sure, I thought about it a lot," said Seles last night as she prepared to play for the New York Sportimes of World TeamTennis, the summer league founded by Billie Jean King that attracts a mixture of young stars (such as Wimbledon champ Maria Sharapova and US Davis Cuppers Mike and Bob Bryan), former greats such as Seles, Martina Navratilova, and Patrick Rafter, and breakthrough-hopefuls such as 2002 NCAA champion Bea Bielik and Anna Kournikova. "It was so frustrating to keep thinking that I would be able to play and then not be able to. There were a lot of lows, but I also realized that even if I can't play again that I've had a great career and hopefully I'll still be able to play recreationally."
Seles has spent much of the last year in rehab, including four months with her left foot in a cast, the result of a painful sesamoid bone that required no surgery but plenty of time off. Seles, who has missed the last five majors, said she is finally playing without pain. With World TeamTennis her first competitive play in more than a year, she is planning to make a comeback at the US Open next month in New York. She hopes to play her only warm-up event at the Pilot Pen tournament in New Haven the week before the Open.
While she has missed the day-to-day competition and is realistic about returning to world prominence, Seles has spent little time watching her fellow WTA players. She went to Wimbledon once, on a day play was cancelled because of rain. But she is still impressed by Sharapova and Anastasia Myskina, the French Open champ.
"You have to give a lot of credit to the Russians," said Seles. "For Sharapova to beat Serena [Williams] on her favorite surface [grass] was very impressive."
Seles looked fit and trim on the court last night, even if her ground strokes, once the most feared in the game, looked jaunty opposite the blistering power of 15-year-old Russian Viktoriya Kutuzova. While the crowd of nearly 2,000 gave her a warm reception, Seles was clearly far from the player who won nine majors and 53 tournaments in her career. Still, the fan-friendly atmosphere of World TeamTennis (spectators are encouraged to cheer between points and on-court promotions involving the players are the norm) brought a smile to Seles's face. The joy of being back on the court was evident. Those boxes in her garage? Looks like they'll remain taped shut just a little longer.
Seles rusty in return vs. Smash[07.09.2004]
By Kristian Pope - WILMINGTON -- Monica Seles, the former No. 1 women's tennis player in the world, threw the ball up for a serve and dropped it.
"Sorry," she said to the crowd with an innocent smile.
"No problem," a fan quipped back. Seles, after all, was the person the crowd at the AstraZeneca Tennis Facility paid to see.
Appearing fit and happy, Seles took the court Thursday night for the first time since fracturing a bone in her left foot in May 2003 in Rome.
With a local police officer flanking her on the team bench, Seles played three matches, losing all of them, as the Delaware Smash came away with a 23-19 win over Seles' New York Sportimes before a crowd of 2,150.
"I felt fine out there. It was very good," said Seles, who had a line of about 100 people waiting for autographs after the match. "The crowd was into it. I did what I wanted to do."
Seles said she just began hitting for points in practice a few days ago, but she told Sportimes coach John Roddick she felt good enough to play all three matches.
The WTA Tour's No. 1-ranked player in 1991 and '92, Seles is getting back into the game in World TeamTennis. She recently said this would be her last attempt at a comeback.
Her most competitive test came from Delaware's Samantha Reeves. As the points got bigger, Seles went from being quiet in her returns to letting out some of the trademark grunts fans gave come to expect from her.
With the score tied 13-13, Seles and Reeves went back and forth in their match with Reeves taking a 5-4 (5-3) win in a tiebreaker. Seles put her team in front 17-16 before Reeves won the final two points to give the Smash (3-0) an 18-17 lead heading into the final set.
"I started to get more comfortable," Seles said. "I was just trying to hit a lot of balls."
Seles said she still plans on playing at the U.S. Open in August.
In the final doubles match, Seles teamed with Bea Bielik, losing to Reeves and Liezel Huber, 5-2.
Seles teamed with Hermes Gamonal in mixed doubles, losing to David Wheaton and Huber, 5-4 (5-4).
The Sportimes came roaring back with a win at men's singles as Rajeev Ram, playing for Smash starter Paul Goldstein, lost 5-3 to Gamonal. Ram held a 3-2 lead, but lost three straight points to Gamonal.
In the first match of the night, Wheaton and Ram beat Gamonal and Joe Sirianni in a tiebreak, 5-4 (5-3).
Seles begins comeback in Delaware[07.08.2004]
By Kristian Pope - Monica Seles has watched a lot of tennis on television lately. That's not a good thing when you were once ranked No. 1 in the world.
Seles has been forced to watch for more than a year, exchanging her travel schedule for doctor's appointments because of a foot injury that she admits may put an end to her career.
The nine-time Grand Slam winner returns to competitive tennis tonight - in Delaware. She will make her debut for the World Team Tennis' New York Sportimes against the Delaware Smash at the AstraZeneca Tennis Facility.
Since injuring her left foot in May 2003, Seles has flown between Florida and New York to see countless specialists. She says she finally is ready to regain the form that made her the world's top-ranked player in 1991 and '92.
"The injury definitely tested my love for the game," Seles said. "I wanted to try everything I could to come back."
Sometimes, she admitted, it seemed like a lost cause.
"If I'm not at the level I want to be at, then I won't be back," she said. "I will play only at a level I'm used to. Otherwise, forget it."
In her time off, Seles, 30, became an expert on her injury. More importantly, it has been a year of soul searching.
"When I was in a cast, I had to be realistic [about continuing]. There were lots of ups and downs. I would like to try to play again, but I'm happy with what I've done."
Her foot became painful in Rome at the Telecom Italia Open. She was forced to retire from her early-round match against Nadia Petrova.
She played in the 2003 French Open, but clearly was not herself in losing to Petrova, 6-4, 6-0.
It was Seles' last major tournament. Specialists in New York eventually told her she had suffered a stress fracture because of overuse.
"I saw every specialist," Seles said. "Either I've got too much calcium or too much stress [on the foot]. I'm always pushing it to the limit."
Seles stayed out of tennis to rest the fracture.
The injury worsened, and doctors put her in a cast from October to March.
Questions about retirement started to come, but Seles wanted to play.
"Anytime you can't do what you love it's frustrating," Seles said. "Your body is telling you, 'You can't do it.'
"If I didn't have that love for it, I wouldn't go through this."
She first wanted to return by this year's French Open. Now, she says, she could return to the WTA Tour in time to play at the U.S. Open in New York Aug. 30-Sept. 12.
Playing for the Sportimes is a way to ease back into the spotlight.
"The year flew by," Seles said. "It's good to come back in a positive environment. My ideal goal is to get back on the tour right away. But this is a great way to get matches."
Still, Seles knows what might be ahead.
"Right now, I don't even want to think about retirement," She said. "But I'm realistic about it. This is still uncharted territory for me."
Seles to return to court[07.08.2004]
by Mic Huber - SARASOTA -- It may not be Wimbledon, but Sarasota's Monica Seles will take her first step back to competitive tennis tonight when she plays a World TeamTennis match in Delaware.
Seles, who has been sidelined by a foot injury since losing to Nadia Petrova in the first round of the 2003 French Open, will play for the New York Sportimes franchise in a match against the Delaware Smash.
"Right now, my foot is holding up well," said Seles, who worked out Wednesday morning at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton and was scheduled to leave this morning for her match. "I have been training pretty hard these past few weeks trying to get ready for team tennis."
Seles, 30, twisted her left foot during the Australian Open in January 2003 and played on and off until the loss to Petrova at Roland Garros finally ended her season.
The Sarasota resident had hoped to return in time for the French Open this year but aggravated her left foot while training. She has spent much of her time rehabbing the foot in New York.
"It has been really frustrating," Seles said about the stress fracture that had her in a cast for several weeks.
Seles will play tonight, then play a home match in Mamaroneck, N.Y., on Friday. She is scheduled to play Sunday at Newport Beach, Calif.
"After that, we will see how the foot holds up," Seles said. "I am taking it a day at a time, but it had been holding up well in practice so far."
Seles flew to London last week to catch a match at Wimbledon and play an exhibition with John McEnroe on a barge floating down the Thames.
"I had a great time doing that," Seles said. "Seeing all the London landmarks floating by while playing tennis was awesome.
"And to have a chance to play John, who is one of my heroes, was like a dream I didn't want to be woken up from."
Seles has won 53 singles titles in her career, including nine Grand Slam singles championships. She has also been a mainstay on the U.S Federation Cup teams since becoming an American citizen in 1994.
Seles hopes to be back in top form by the U.S. Open, which begins Aug. 30 at Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
Seles: Sportimes' new name[07.04.2004]
By JANE MCMANUS - Monica Seles will always see her career as a play in two acts. In the first, she was a brash young phenom whose power changed the game. In the second, after a German spectator stabbed her during a changeover in 1993, she played for love of the game.
"I was definitely more efficient in the beginning," she said.
But it was only later that the fans embraced her. Now Seles, always a favorite at the U.S. Open in late August, will bring her game to Mamaroneck, playing three times for the Sportimes during the World TeamTennis season.
"I've never been to Mamaroneck; I hope we get a good crowd out there and get a lot of kids," Seles said. "I think you'll see a lot of great tennis. I'm excited to come to a new place."
The Sportimes will play their first home match of the season on Tuesday against Anna Kournikova and the Kansas City Explorers. Seles will play once at the 2,057-seat Harbor Island Stadium on Friday. She will play for the team at two away matches as well.
Bea Bielik, who reached the third round of the U.S. Open, her first tournament as a professional, returns to the team. Four-time WTA tournament winner Ruxandra Dragomir, young Chilean Hermes Gamonal, and Australian pro Joe Sirianni are also on the team.
The team format has men's and women's doubles, mixed doubles and singles account for equal portions of the total score. The atmosphere is more relaxed, a crying child won't draw hard stares, and fans are encouraged to be more involved.
Patrick McEnroe has a minority stake in the team, and he and big brother John played last season. This year both have opted out — John due to hosting a new television show, and Patrick with his Olympics and announcing duties.
The season runs during July and there will be seven home dates for the Sportimes.
Circle July 9, though, because there may not be many more opportunities to see Seles play. The 30-year-old suffered a foot injury that kept her out of competition for months. Seles, who turned pro in 1989 and has earned more than $14 million on the WTA Tour, was in a cast from last November until March and has been trying to come back since.
Seles admits she probably played on the injured foot too long, exacerbating the problem. In the time off, she spent a lot of time with friends and family. Some of it was spent mulling retirement, but she decided she would miss the tour too much if she stopped now and has stuck with the arduous rehab.
"Either way, I'm so happy with how my career has gone, but I still would like to try and play," she said.
She had hoped to play in the French Open, but wasn't ready. Her goal now is to use World TeamTennis season to see how hard she can play over her three-day commitment. If all goes well, she wants to play in the Pilot Pen in New Haven, Conn., and then the U.S. Open a week later.
"I would only want to play at the level where I'm happy," said Seles, who reached at least the quarterfinals of every Grand Slam tournament in 2002. "Because if I can't, forget about it."
The uncertainty has been, in her words, frustrating. To have that decision taken out of her hands, just as her No. 1 ranking was stolen more than a decade ago, seems patently unfair.
But Seles never responded to her situation with anger, and that may be why the second part of her career has been so long, and why so many fans respond to her with such warmth.
"It's been a good test of my love for the game," Seles said. "I would really like to continue to play."
Seles knows what other M.S. is going through[07.03.2004]
BRADENTON - by Mike Henry - Monica Seles can relate better than anyone to the scrutiny 17-year-old Maria Sharapova has endured through her meteoric rise to today's Wimbledon singles final against No. 1-seeded Serena Williams.
About 18 years ago, Seles arrived at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy from Yugoslavia with a burning ambition: to become the best in the world.
It took Seles roughly five years to climb the mountaintop. After winning her first Grand Slam championship at 16 at the 1990 French Open, Seles the following year became the youngest No. 1 in history, winning the Australian, French and U.S. Open titles.
As he supervised Seles' training session Friday with rising juniors Jamea Jackson and Michael Johnson, Gabe Jaramillo, the vice president of the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy, reflected on the similarities (outside of their initials) between Seles and Sharapova.
"From the time Monica first came here, she had that same belief Maria has," Jaramillo said. "Monica worked like a champion, acted like a champion, talked like a champion. Anna Kournikova was the same way. They have something inside themselves that can't be taught.
"Maria is a big fighter. She's a tiger. She can get behind, and she keeps fighting, keeps hitting. That's the main difference between her and other kids that age with that kind of ability."
This morning, scores of aspiring junior champions will gather inside the high-tech room at IMG Academies to see if the lanky Sharapova, who arrived at the NBTA 10 years ago, can knock off Williams, who has also used the academy as a training base.
"I'm going for Maria all the way," said Jaramillo, who pointed out Sharapova is being coached by the academy's Mauricio Hadad, a former tour player, and IMG performance specialist Mark Wellington. "Serena comes and goes, but Maria and her parents are family."
Nine-time Grand Slam champion Seles was asked what it will take for Sharapova to shock the tennis world.
"I think she will figure that one out," Seles said, smiling.
Seles sees little point in discussing their similarities - "there is not another Maria, just like there is not another Monica," she said - but appreciates the impact Sharapova's performance has on academy students, who come from more than 70 countries.
"They see all the hard work she has put in, the desire she has," Seles said. "Plus, she's so well put together as a person. She's a great inspiration for kids to try to emulate.
"It's unbelievable what she's done, and she can do something more unbelievable. Everybody who loves tennis is going to be glued to the TV."
Seles looked fit and trim and says she's recovered from the foot injury that has sidelined her since her first-round loss at the 2003 French Open. She plans to return to competition Thursday with the New York Sportimes of World TeamTennis for a match against the Delaware Smash in Wilmington.
She may be 30, but Seles' inner fire burns bright, and her ability to inspire - as attested to by awed juniors Friday morning - remains powerful.
Celebrity tennis by the Thames[06.30.2004]
Angus Deayton and Tony Hawks joined Pat Cash and Monica Seles for a pro-celebrity tennis evening at Potters Fields Park in aid of Sport Relief.
Radio 1's Scott Mills was the host for the fundraising event, An Evening of Aces, which was the first night of the four-day Wimbledon at Tower Bridge event organised by American Express.
Monica Seles and Pat Cash teamed up with Angus Deayton and Tony Hawks (author of Playing the Moldovans at Tennis) for a rapid-fire doubles contest in aid of Sport Relief. The matches were played on a tennis court delivered to the park by barge on Monday morning.
American Express donated £700 to the charity for every game won, and £25 for ever Ace.
Wimbledon at Tower Bridge promises to bring SW19 to SE1 for the final four days of the Championships. Big screens show live action from Wimbledon, and tennis challenges and instruction will enable members of the public to brush up their skills with a racket.
Stalls selling strawberries and cream, champagne and Pimms have also been erected in the park. Admission is free and the event opens at 11am each day and will not finish until the close of play at Wimbledon.
Wimbledon On The Water[06.28.2004]
Seles and McEnroe prefer to play on water
LONDON -- Today John McEnroe and Monica Seles stunned Londoners by playing tennis on a floating court on the Thames river.
The two Wimbledon greats were invited to deliver the court to Tower Bridge by American Express who is staging a tennis event, Wimbledon at Tower Bridge. As the court was delivered to the site via famous London landmarks, Seles and McEnroe took the opportunity to test out the surface.
On being aboard the first floating tennis court Seles quoted; "I've had some nervous moments in my career but sea legs is a new one for me."
The tennis court will be the centre piece to Wimbledon at Tower Bridge. This four day American Express event will recreate the experience of Wimbledon by bringing the sight and sounds of SW19 to SE1. Members of the public will be able to watch live tennis action from The Championships as well as the chance to try out the tennis skill zones and experience photo opportunities with the stars. Classic Wimbledon fare will even be on offer in the form of Strawberries and Cream with glasses of Champagne and Pimms to bring a real taste of summer to the City. The venue will also stage an exclusive music concert; US R'n'B sensation, Alicia Keys, has signed up to play an exclusive and free live concert for American Express.
Monica Seles was particularly concerned to deliver the court to the Tower Bridge site in pristine condition as she is supporting a celebrity tennis match at the event to raise money for Sport Relief*. Seles and Pat Cash will team up with two Sport Relief celebrities in a rapid fire doubles contest in a bid to raise money for the charity.
Wimbledon at Tower Bridge is free to the public and will open at 11am every day and will not close until the close of play at Wimbledon.
Doug Smith, Director of Public Affairs, American Express: "We are proud of our new partnership with The Championships, Wimbledon** and this is an ideal opportunity for us to bring the atmosphere and excitement of this famous tennis tournament to the centre of London."
For further details on the event programme visit http://www.americanexpress.co.uk/wimbledon
* Sport Relief charity uses sport to raise money to tackle poverty and disadvantage in the UK and overseas. In a new fundraising mechanic called ACEs, American Express will donate 25 pounds to Sport Relief for every ace scored on the legendary Centre Court and Court Number 1 during Wimbledon.
** American Express is the Official Card of The Championships, Wimbledon.
Seles a Strong Maybe for Pilot Pen[06.24.2004]
While the rest of the crowd at Wimbledon has spent the last couple of days dodging persistent rain drops, Pilot Pen Tennis Tournament Director Anne Worcester has been basking in the good news raining down around her.
Worcester, who is at Wimbledon trying to secure commitments from top-30 players, received her first dose of positive news when the Women’s Tennis Association notified her that the world’s 11th-ranked player, Paola Suarez, committed to play in New Haven.
It didn’t stop there.
Worcester received a fax from Leo Clijsters, the father of Kim Clijsters, confirming that, contrary to recent published reports, the world’s No. 2-ranked player still plans on entering the Pilot Pen.
Then Worcester heard that former No. 1 Monica Seles said on a Wednesday teleconference that if her injured left foot allowed her to play, she is considering returning to the tour and her first event likely would be the Pilot Pen.
Not a bad couple of days.
Suarez, the world’s top-ranked doubles player, is enjoying her best season at singles. She peaked at No. 9 earlier this month, aided by a run to the French Open semifinals. She is well known in New Haven after winning the 2003 Pilot Pen doubles title with Virginia Ruano Pascual.
"When I got (to Wimbledon), I was in the WTA Worldwide (committee) meetings," Worcester said. "They asked me if I wanted some good news now or if I wanted to wait until July 12 (when the full playing field is announced)."
When it comes to good news for her tournament, Worcester obviously prefers the present over the future.
"I figured why wait," said Worcester, who will be at Wimbledon until Sunday. "(Suarez) made the day last year (at the Pilot Pen) after the short singles final (when Lindsay Davenport had to retire against Jennifer Capriati) when she had that memorable doubles final."
Suarez becomes the sixth top-15 player to commit to the Pilot Pen, which will run from Aug. 20-28 at the Connecticut Tennis Center.
Seles, who reached the 2000 final in her last appearance at the Pilot Pen, hasn’t played a tour match since losing in the first round of the 2003 French Open after being hampered by a stress fracture in her left foot. She plans on playing in three matches for the New York Sportimes in World Team Tennis between July 8-11.
If her foot responds favorably, Seles said she would consider a return to the WTA tour.
"I would like to play a tournament before the (U.S.) Open and (then) the Open," Seles said.
"(The Pilot Pen) is one of my favorite tournaments and I would like to play there, that is the one I am looking at. But right now, I don’t even want to look that far ahead."
Worcester said she would offer one of the Pilot Pen’s three wild cards to Seles if the 53-time WTA singles champion requests entry into the tournament.
Worcester also said that she isn’t expecting to hear anything from (No. 7) Capriati, (No. 10) Serena Williams and (No. 8) Venus Williams -- the top three uncommitted American players -- until the days leading up to the entry deadline on Aug. 19.
Worcester is hopeful that top 10 players and Pilot Pen regulars (No. 3) Anastasia Myskina, (No. 4) Amelie Mauresmo and (No. 6) Elena Dementieva will commit to the Pilot Pen before she heads home.
The deadline for the main draw, with the exception of the three wild cards, is July 5 with the field being announced on July 12.
"We are hoping we get at least one of them," Worcester said. "Every (uncommitted player) ranked 11 to 25 we will sit down with so we can have the same strong competition we always have."
By JIM FULLER , Journal Register News Service
World Team Tennis Conference Call Highlights[06.23.2004]
Monica talked about her fourth appearance in the 2004 World TeamTennis (WTT) Pro League, as she prepares to lead the attack for the New York Sportimes in the Eastern Conference. She will make her WTT debut on Thursday, July 8, as the New York Sportimes visit the Delaware Smash at AstraZeneca Tennis Facility in Wilmington, Del. She will make her home debut with the Sportimes on Friday, July 9, as they host the New York Buzz and travel to Newport Beach, Calif., on Sunday, July 11 to compete against the Newport Beach Breakers. Tickets are now available for Monica's matches by calling: Mamaroneck - (914) 777-5050, Delaware - (866) WTT-TIXS, Newport Beach - (949) 916-6682 or by visiting www.WTT.com.
On playing World TeamTennis:
"I always have such a fun time when I'm playing WTT. I think it's so much more for the fans too… It's an opportunity for people, especially kids to see stars up close and personal, get autographs and talk to them after a match."
On moving from playing in Hartford to New York and playing in Mamaroneck:
"I have some exciting teammates this year. I have spent most of my years with the FoxForce and will miss them all, but it's going to be fun, I'm very excited. It will be a fun way to slowly ease back into tennis…I've never been to Mamaroneck, I hope we get a good crowd out there and get a lot of kids. I think you'll see a lot of great tennis. I'm excited to come to a new place."
On the fans at a WTT match vs. fans at a regular match:
"The fans are one of my favorite things about WTT. During a regular tennis match, fans have to be quiet and have zero interaction with players. In WTT the fans are such a part of it. I think it's also a great way for kids to be introduced to the sport and to the game."
On the status of her foot injury and her return to World TeamTennis:
"It's been a frustrating time for me because I was hoping to be playing by now… I just try and stay positive and take it a day at a time… My goal is to go play WTT to see how my foot holds up because I'll be playing two matches back-to-back, so it will be a good test…It's a great way to get a variety of matches in since I haven't played competitive in awhile yet at the same time have a good time because it's important especially in the beginning, after you've been away, to make sure you come back in a positive environment… It's been a good test of my love for the game, I would really like to continue to play."
On playing the defending 2003 WTT champions – Delaware Smash:
"It's a great start especially for my first match. It's going to be very exciting. I'm just going to be so thrilled for stepping back out on the court because I will have waited for that moment for such a long time. I'm very anxious to get back."
On the possibilities of retiring:
"I had to be realistic when I was in a cast because I didn't know what to expect or what rehab would entail. It was a lot of ups and downs. Either way I'm so happy with how my career has gone, but I still would like to try and play. I look at it as a win-win situation."
On Martina Navratilova:
" She's an inspiration to me… I watched her as a little kid in Yugoslavia. She's just awesome, the level she's playing and the joy she has when she's playing is so exciting… Not many people can play at her level, at 47 years old, that's pretty unbelievable."
That Seles Spirit[05.18.2004]
By Ed Graney UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
The vision never fades. It's that way when a lunatic suddenly emerges from a crowd to destroy his victim, offering shock value at its most severe instant. Always, even years later, you picture the trauma as if it occurred yesterday.
The disheartening truth is that we will never realize how magnificent Monica Seles could have been with a tennis racket clutched in her two-handed grip, amazing when you consider how truly unconquerable she was.
But perhaps because of that terrible day during a WTA Tour event in Hamburg in 1993 – when a German lathe operator and deranged Steffi Graf fan named Guenter Parche stabbed Seles between the shoulder blades – we have witnessed something far more valuable than her legend.
It's called her spirit.
Are you sitting down? She's 30. Three-oh. All grown up and sophisticated and as delightful as ever. The world blinked, and gone was that 17-year old phenom whose desire to crush every ball was just a tad more vigorous than the grunting that accompanied each groundstroke. She was marvelous. The best.
Seles was one of the first to relentlessly whack away no matter the match or its importance. She hit with as much force trying to save a decisive point in a Wimbledon final as she did in daily practice sessions. She was steadfast in her mission and dominant in her craft, winning eight Grand Slam events before the stabbing.
She has captured one since.
"It was a very special feeling what I had going in the early 1990s," says Seles. "Kind of like a storybook . . . I had that focus. It just came naturally to me. I was always in the moment, just me and the ball."
She didn't compete for more than two years after Parche's blade inflicted its physical and mental wounds, and for some time now Seles has either been tired or hurt. She hasn't played competitively in nearly a year and recently delayed her return again by pulling out of next week's French Open, still trying to overcome a lingering foot injury. Her body, unquestionably, has begun to rebel.
She wants to play one more year and depart on her own terms. She deserves that much.
Seles has also recently begun raising awareness about migraines, a condition that has affected her for nearly 15 years. For so long, she believed the acute pain that caused her to withdraw from tournaments and delay practice drills and choose a dark room over dinner with friends was simply a result of tension or stress. It's a common misconception about an ailment that annually touches 28 million Americans, half of whom are misdiagnosed.
"A lot of people with migraines are in denial," says Dr. Susan Hutchinson of the Women's Medical Group of Irvine. "They think it's just a bad headache. People think it's all in your (imagination), but this is a very real physiological condition that can be quite debilitating and affect one's quality of life.
"There is a stigma attached to migraines. People think if they just work harder in certain areas, they'll overcome them. But look at Monica – a world-class athlete in great shape. She still has them."
Typical of Seles, she is approaching the subject as she might an overhead smash on match point. With great intensity. Her stop in San Diego a few weeks ago was one of several on a multicity tour promoting the campaign "Acing Migraine Pain." She is passionate to educate and aid others who might stand in the sunlight and feel as though their head will soon explode.
Bitterness never really consumed Seles as you might imagine. It was her father and coach, Karolj, who often reminded her of life's blessings before he died in 1998 from colon cancer. His message: If that knife had plunged a half-millimeter to the left, she would be paralyzed and in a wheelchair. Seles thinks about this often.
"Sure, the stabbing sent my career in a different direction," she says. "But the game is still part of me. You know the time will come when you are on the court wishing you were somewhere else. The game is so competitive, so cutthroat. For so many players, it's life and death. I know my time is close, but I want to see if I can eke out a little more. Hopefully, my body will agree.
"I know it's weird, but I still love to practice. I still love the feeling of working hard and sweating and trying to hit those cones on the court. I can't tell you why. I don't know why myself."
It really is a much different game now. The athletes are bigger, stronger, faster. Martina Navratilova introduced fitness to the women's game and Graf speed and Seles throttling a ball early on its rise. But it's about extreme power now, a direct result of the Williams sisters.
But that doesn't mean we can't still envision a 17-year old phenom back in 1991, trading mighty strokes with Jennifer Capriati in a U.S Open semifinal.
It was an epic match. It was classic Seles.
It's one vision I hope never fades.
Seles withdraws from French Open[05.13.2004]
PARIS (AP) - Martina Navratilova will play at the French Open, a decade after her last Grand Slam singles match.
Navratilova, 47, received a wild card for the clay-court major she last won 20 years ago, tournament spokesman Christophe Proust said Thursday. Another past champion, Monica Seles, pulled out of the event, which would have been her first in a year.
Seles also asked for and was given a wild card but then decided she wasn't fit, Proust said.
The nine-time major champion is recovering from a lingering left foot injury and hasn't played a competitive match since losing in the first round at the 2003 French Open.
In an interview in February, Seles said she's thought about retiring.
"It does go through my mind, because my brain wants to be out there, playing or practicing, but my body says, 'Wait! Hold on!' I have to listen to my body," Seles said then. "I'm not 18 years old anymore. Not that 30 is old, but I started so young, and my body has taken a lot of pounding."
The French Open starts May 24.
Seles hopes to make a comeback at French Open[05.06.2004]
Monica Seles deserves a break.
And not the one she has been dealing with in her left foot for more than a year.
When the French Open rolls around on May 24, it will be exactly a year since Seles last played a meaningful tennis match. After battling problems with her left foot much of the early part of 2003, the Sarasota resident shut down after losing in the first round at Roland Garros to Nadia Petrova.
It was the worst loss for Seles in 11 appearances at the French Open. She finished out of the top 10 for the first time -- not counting the time she spent away after being stabbed in 1993 -- since 1988.
After months of rehabilitating, Seles, 30, had hoped to play a couple tournaments in Europe to prepare for this year's French Open. That plan disintegrated recently when Seles experienced further discomfort in the foot while training in San Diego.
Instead of entering a tournament in either Strasbourg, France, or Madrid, Spain, Seles headed for New York to have her foot looked at again and undergo more rehab. She planned to make a brief stop in Sarasota this week, then head to Europe to get in some training on red clay.
While she still hopes to play the French Open, a tournament she won three straight years (1990-92), she will not be able gain tournament toughness before the two-week event.
"Definitely, by far, that will be the first tournament," Seles said about playing the French Open. "I want to play the French but I am taking it a day at a time. With this (injury) I am learning that. I have to chill out with it and not put so much stress on my schedule."
Seles is eager to get back, but she knows coming back before the foot is healed could lead to the end of her career. She has taken a long time in rehabilitation and she is in better shape than she has been in a long time. But there is no substitute for playing matches.
"I don't know myself," Seles said about being ready. "I am just trying to follow the doctor's advice and use my head. I am in unchartered territory with this."
That is true as far as her foot injury. But she does have the experience of coming back after a long layoff.
Seles missed 27 months after being stabbed by a deranged fan on April 30, 1993 during a tournament in Germany. In her first tournament after her return, Seles won the Canadian Open in August 1995. During that event, Seles set a tournament record for the fewest number of games lost by a champion (16) and beat Amana Coetzer 6-0, 6-1 in the most lopsided final in that tournament's history.
She was the only player to come off such an extended layoff to win her first event upon returning until Serena Williams did it last month at the Nasdaq-100 Open. This time Seles would be happy to get through a few matches.
"I am going to go to Europe, train a little bit and go from there," Seles said.
In the theater, they say "break a leg" for good luck. Seles doesn't want to hear that.
What she deserves is the cheers for winning meaningful matches.
World TeamTennis Releases 2004 Schedule[04.22.2004]
Some of the biggest names in tennis, including Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Monica Seles and Anna Kournikova, will take to the courts during the first week of the 2004 World TeamTennis (WTT) Pro League presented by ADT Security Services. The 2004 schedule, which was released by the League this morning, includes 70 matches in ten markets between July 5-25, with the WTT Finals set for Aug. 27-28 at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
Kournikova is the first of the marquee names to hit the court on July 6 when she and her Kansas City teammates head to Mamaroneck, N.Y., to take on the New York Sportimes. Kournikova continues her four-city swing with stops in Schenectady, N.Y. (July 8), and Hartford, Conn. (July 9), before returning to Kansas City for a home appearance on July 10.
America's top men are also in the spotlight during the first week of play. Agassi, the WTT National Ambassador, returns to Sacramento on July 7 when his Capitals host the St. Louis Aces. For the past two years, Agassi has attracted sold-out crowds for his matches at the Capitals' stadium court in the parking lot of Sunrise Mall. Agassi will also make a road appearance in Philadelphia on July 9.
Roddick returns to action for the St. Louis Aces, playing a home match on July 10 at the Dwight Davis Tennis Center where he always plays in front of enthusiastic capacity crowds. His Davis cup teammate Mardy Fish makes his WTT debut for the Hartford FoxForce on July 7 when Hartford travels to take on the New York Sportimes. Fish will also play matches in Hartford on July 8 and in Sacramento on July 11.
The world's top doubles tandem of Bob and Mike Bryan return to the League as members of the Newport Beach Breakers. The Bryan Brothers and their Newport Beach teammates will host the defending WTT Champion Delaware Smash on July 10. One of the more interesting match-ups for the 2004 WTT season will be on July 19 when the Bryan Brothers travel to Sacramento to take on the Capitals, who are coached by their father Wayne Bryan. The battle of the Bryans continues the next evening when the Breakers host Sacramento.
Monica Seles also returns to WTT after a two-year break. Seles, the top draft pick of the New York Sportimes, plays her first match on July 8 in Delaware, followed by her home debut on July 9 and a West Coast visit to Newport Beach on July 11.
Week two highlights include the return of rising star Maria Sharapova and tennis legend Martina Navratilova. Sharapova plays two home matches for the Newport Beach Breakers on July 14 and July 17. Navratilova will play six matches for the New York Buzz during the final two weeks of the season.
Patrick Rafter, the top pick in the 2004 draft, makes his WTT debut for the Philadelphia Freedoms on July 21 when Philadelphia hosts the Springfield Lasers. Rafter will also play road matches in Delaware and St. Louis.
The top two teams from the Western and Eastern Conferences advance to the seasonending WTT Championship. Semifinal matches will be played on Friday, August 27, and the WTT Finals will be held on the following day at the USTA National Tennis Center. The winning team will be awarded the King Trophy, named after WTT co-founder Billie Jean King.
Billie Jean King and Larry King originated World TeamTennis and its unique genderequity team concept in the early 70s. The format used for a WTT Pro League match features teams comprised of two men, two women and a coach. Each match consists of five sets, with one set each of men's and women's singles, men's and women's doubles and mixed doubles. The WTT Pro League is presented by ADT Security Services. Other official WTT Pro League sponsors include Advanta, Gatorade, Head/Penn Racquet Sports (official ball) and Wilson Racquet Sports (official racquet). For more information on the WTT Pro League, visit www.WTT.com.
2004 World TeamTennis (WTT) Pro League Schedule
Mon. July 5
NY Sportimes @ Philadelphia
NY Buzz @ Delaware
Springfield @ Newport Beach
Tues. July 6
Philadelphia @ NY Buzz
Kansas City @ NY Sportimes (AK)
St. Louis @ Newport Beach
Springfield @ Sacramento
Wed. July 7
Delaware @ NY Buzz
Hartford @ NY Sportimes (MF)
St. Louis @ Sacramento (AA)
Thurs. July 8
Kansas City @ NY Buzz (AK)
Philadelphia @ Hartford (MF)
NY Sportimes @ Delaware (MS)
Newport Beach @ Springfield
Fri. July 9
Kansas City @ Hartford (AK)
NY Buzz @ NY Sportimes (MS)
Sacramento @ Philadelphia (AA)
Springfield @ St. Louis
Sat. July 10
Sacramento @ St. Louis (AR)
Philadelphia @ Kansas City (AK)
Delaware @ Newport Beach (BB)
Sun. July 11
St. Louis @ Springfield
NY Sportimes @ Newport Beach (MS)
Hartford @ Sacramento (MF)
Mon. July 12
Springfield @ NY Buzz
Philadelphia @ Delaware
Tues. July 13
Hartford @ Philadelphia
Springfield @ Delaware
Kansas City @ St. Louis
Newport Beach @ Sacramento
Wed. July 14
NY Sportimes @ Hartford
Delaware @ Kansas City
Sacramento @ Newport Beach (MSH)
Thurs. July 15
NY Buzz @ Philadelphia (MN)
NY Sportimes @ Springfield
Fri. July 16
Delaware @ NY Buzz
Newport Beach @ St. Louis
Sacramento @ Kansas City
Sat. July 17
NY Buzz @ NY Sportimes (MN)
Delaware @ Philadelphia
Sacramento @ Springfield
Hartford @ St. Louis
Kansas City @ Newport Beach (MSH)
Sun. July 18
St. Louis @ Hartford
Kansas City @ Sacramento
Mon. July 19
NY Sportimes @ NY Buzz
Hartford @ Philadelphia
St. Louis @ Delaware
Newport Beach @ Sacramento (BB)
Tues. July 20
Delaware @ NY Sportimes
St. Louis @ Springfield
Sacramento @ Newport Beach (BB)
Wed. July 21
Hartford @ NY Buzz (MN)
Springfield @ Philadelphia (PR)
Newport Beach @ Kansas City
Thurs. July 22
NY Sportimes @ Hartford
Philadelphia @ Delaware (PR)
NY Buzz @ St. Louis (MN)
Sacramento @ Kansas City
Fri. July 23
Philadelphia @ NY Sportimes
Hartford @ Delaware
NY Buzz @ Springfield (MN)
St. Louis @ Kansas City
Sat. July 24
Delaware @ Hartford
Newport Beach @ NY Sportimes (BB)
Philadelphia @ St. Louis (PR)
Springfield @ Kansas City
Sun. July 25
Newport Beach @ Hartford
Kansas City @ Springfield
NY Buzz @ Sacramento (MN)
AA = Andre Agassi (Sacramento Capitals)
AK = Anna Kournikova (Kansas City Explorers)
AR = Andy Roddick (St. Louis Aces)
BB = Mike & Bob Bryan (Newport Beach Breakers)
MF = Mardy Fish (Hartford FoxForce)
MN = Martina Navratilova (NY Buzz)
MS = Monica Seles (New York Sportimes)
MSH = Maria Sharapova (Newport Beach Breakers)
PR = Patrick Rafter (Philadelphia Freedoms)
Kansas City Explorers .......................................Plaza Tennis Center in Kansas City, Mo.
Newport Beach Breakers...................................Palisades Tennis Club in Newport Beach, Calif.
Sacramento Capitals ..........................................Sunrise Mall in Sacramento, Calif.
St. Louis Aces ...................................................Dwight Davis Tennis Center in St. Louis, Mo.
Springfield Lasers .............................................Cooper Tennis Complex in Springfield, Mo.
Delaware Smash ...............................................AstraZeneca Tennis Facility in Wilmington, Del.
Hartford FoxForce.............................................Blue Fox Run Golf Course in Avon, Conn.
New York Sportimes .........................................Harbor Island Park in Mamaroneck, N.Y.
New York Buzz.................................................MVP Tennis Stadium, Central Park in Schenectady, N.Y.
Philadelphia Freedoms...................................Cabrini College in Radnor, Pa.
World TeamTennis Announces 2004 Marquee/Draft Picks[04.07.2004]
NEW YORK - Patrick Rafter returns to tennis action this summer when he makes his World TeamTennis Pro League debut for the Philadelphia Freedoms. Rafter was the top pick in the 2004 WTT Player Draft held today via teleconference from WTT League Headquarters in New York City. He joins an impressive lineup of tennis stars, including WTT National Ambassador Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Martina Navratilova, Monica Seles, Anna Kournikova and Maria Sharapova, who will take to the courts this summer when the WTT Pro League presented by ADT Security Services gets underway. The season runs July 5-25 with the WTT Finals set for Aug. 27-28.
In addition to Rafter, several other notable names highlighted the first round of the 2004 WTT Marquee Player Draft. Seles, a 9-time Grand Slam champion and WTT veteran, was selected by the New York Sportimes. The fan favorite, who has been sidelined since the 2003 French Open with a stress fracture in her foot, is targeting a return to the WTA Tour this spring.
The entire U.S. Davis Cup team will be in action this summer as Roddick will be back with the St. Louis Aces and fellow U.S. teammate and WTT newcomer Mardy Fish will be playing for the Hartford FoxForce. Also part of the Davis Cup team and selected by the Newport Beach Breakers will be the world's top ranked doubles team of Mike and Bob Bryan. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe is an owner of the New York Sportimes.
Many favorites from the 2003 season will also be back this summer. Agassi returns for his third season for the Sacramento Capitals. Navratilova will play for the New York Buzz as she returns for her 13th WTT season as the 3rd overall draft pick. Kournikova will be back for her second WTT season as the Kansas City Explorers protected the rights to one of tennis' most popular players. Also returning for another WTT season is Russian teenage superstar Maria Sharapova who was protected by the Newport Beach Breakers. The defending champion Delaware Smash are bringing back the core of their 2003 squad with Liezel Huber, Paul Goldstein and Samantha Reeves leading the way.
"Many of the world's top tennis stars will be playing WTT this summer," said WTT Commissioner Ilana Kloss. "The best of American men's tennis will be showcased with Andre, Andy and the rest of the U.S. Davis Cup team playing. It will be great to see Monica back on the WTT courts this summer and we're also very excited about the return of Patrick Rafter to the U.S. tennis scene. With a lineup that ranges from the remarkable endurance of Martina Navratilova to the continuing emergence of one of the sport's next great champions in Maria Sharapova, it will be a great summer of WTT tennis."
The top two teams from the Western and Eastern Conferences will advance to the seasonending WTT Championship. Semifinal matches will be played on Friday, August 27, and the WTT Finals will be held on the following day at the USTA National Tennis Center. The winning team will be awarded the King Trophy, named after WTT co-founder Billie Jean King.
Here is a team-by-team breakdown of today's Marquee and Roster Player Draft:
With the first pick in the 2004 WTT Draft, the Philadelphia Freedoms selected Australian legend Patrick Rafter who will make his WTT debut in July and play three matches for the Freedoms. Joining Rafter will be local favorite and Fed Cup standout Lisa Raymond, Josh Eagle, Elena Tatarkova and John Paul Fruterro. Craig Kardon will coach the Freedoms.
ST. LOUIS ACES
The St. Louis Aces protected the rights to one of tennis' most dynamic champions, Andy Roddick. Currently ranked #2 in the world, Roddick returns for his fifth WTT season. Last year, Roddick became the youngest American and second overall to finish an ATP season ranked #1 and is the defending U.S. Open Champion. Rounding out the Aces lineup will be Tatiana Panova, Tzispora Obzilar, Amir Hadad and a college player to be named at a later date. Greg Patton is the St. Louis coach.
NEW YORK BUZZ
Martina Navratilova returns for her 13th WTT season as the #3 overall draft pick. With 58 Grand Slam titles (18 singles, 31 doubles, 9 mixed doubles), Navratilova's credentials are among the best in the history of the game. Last July, Navratilova tied tennis legend and WTT co-founder Billie Jean King for an all-time record of 20 Wimbledon titles. The Buzz also selected Justin Bower, Marissa Irvin, Bryanne Stewart, and Shaun Rudman. Jolene Watanabe returns as the Buzz coach.
KANSAS CITY EXPLORERS
The Kansas City Explorers protected the rights to Anna Kournikova who returns for her second WTT season. Kournikova has won 16 doubles titles including two Grand Slam championships. Kournikova has battled a continuing back injury but will be back out on the court for four matches during the season. Joining Kournikova on the Explorers roster will be Sylvia Talaja and Alex Kim. After selecting Don Johnson and Lisa McShea, the Explorers traded them to the Hartford FoxForce for David Macpherson and Rachel McQuillan. Paul Smith will once again coach the Explorers.
NEW YORK SPORTIMES
With the fifth pick in the Marquee Draft, the New York Sportimes picked up Monica Seles who returns to the League for the first time since 2001. This will be the 4th WTT season for Seles who played for Hartford from 1999 to 2001. Seles holds 53 singles titles and 6 doubles titles. She also holds nine Grand Slam Titles with wins at Wimbledon, Australian Open and the US Open and was a member of the winning US Fed Cup teams in 1996, 1999 and 2000. Along with Seles and returning favorite Bea Bielik, the Sportimes will add Ruxandra Dragomir, Hermes Gamonal and Joe Sirianni to their roster. John Roddick will be the Sportimes coach this season.
NEWPORT BEACH BREAKERS
The Breakers selected the world's top-ranked doubles tandem of twin brothers Mike and Bob Bryan with their first round Marquee pick. The 2003 French Open doubles champions, who previously played WTT for the Idaho Sneakers in 1999, have posted several wins in 2004 including Acapulco, Adelaide and Memphis tournaments. The Breakers also protected the rights to rising star Maria Sharapova who has won two WTA singles titles and two doubles championships. Rounding out the Breakers lineup will be Ramon Delgado, Aniko Kapros, Ellis Ferreira and Nana Miyagi. Dick Leach will once again coach the Breakers.
With the 7th pick in the draft, the FoxForce selected #28 ranked player Mardy Fish. The U.S. Davis Cup team member won his first ATP singles title in 2003 in Stockholm and recently won his first doubles title in San Jose, Calif., with James Blake. The FoxForce also protected the rights to Milagros Sequera, who will be joined by new teammates Wesley Whitehouse, Don Johnson and Lisa McShea. Johnson and McShea were acquired after the draft when the FoxForce traded David Macpherson and Rachel McQuillan to the Kansas City Explorers.
The Springfield Lasers did not select a player in the Marquee Draft but focused their draft day decisions on a solid lineup from the Roster Draft. The Lasers selected Daja Bedanova, a 21-year-old Czech standout who has been ranked as high as #16 in singles (July 2002). Bedanova, who has won one WTA singles title, has been a member of the Czech Fed Cup and Olympic teams. Joining Bedanova on the Lasers roster will be Andrew Kratzmann who played in Springfield in 2003, former college star Kristen Schlukebir and Jalal Chafai. Trevor Kronemann returns as the Lasers' coach.
The Capitals will have a new look in 2004 with only their top pick Agassi and Mark Knowles returning to the team. This summer will mark Agassi's third consecutive year in Sacramento where he has shown fans why he's not only considered one of tennis' greatest champions, but also one of sports' greatest showmen. The world's #3 ranked player will be joined this season by Knowles, Dmitry Tursunov, Nicole Vaidisova and Anastassia Rodionova. Wayne Bryan returns as the Capitals coach.
The 2004 WTT Champion Delaware Smash also passed on a selection in the Marquee Draft rounds and will be returning most of their championship team from one year ago. The Smash protected Liezel Huber, Paul Goldstein and Samantha Reeves and added U.S. tennis veteran David Wheaton to the squad. Brad Dancer will coach the Delaware squad.
Billie Jean King and Larry King originated World TeamTennis and its unique gender-equity team concept in the early 70s. The format used for a WTT Pro League match features teams comprised of two men, two women and a coach. Each match consists of five sets, with one set each of men's and women's singles, men's and women's doubles and mixed doubles.
The WTT Pro League is presented by ADT Security Services. Other official WTT Pro League sponsors include Advanta, Gatorade, Head/Penn Racquet Sports (official ball) and Wilson Racquet Sports (official racquet). For more information on the WTT Pro League, visit www.WTT.com.
2004 World TeamTennis Pro League Rosters
** (Teams in alphabetical order; Team Rosters in order of draft selection) **
The 2004 WTT Pro League season will run from July 5 - 25
KANSAS CITY EXPLORERS
NEWPORT BEACH BREAKERS
NEW YORK BUZZ
NEW YORK SPORTIMES
John Paul Fruterro
ST. LOUIS ACES
College Player (to be named later)
* Marquee Players
# - acquired in trade from Hartford FoxForce
^ - acquired in trade from Kansas City Explorers
MARQUEE PLAYER MATCHES
Andre Agassi (Sacramento Capitals)– Philadelphia, Sacramento
Patrick Rafter (Philadelphia) – St. Louis, Philadelphia, Delaware
Andy Roddick (St. Louis Aces) – St. Louis
Anna Kournikova (Kansas City Explorers) – New York Buzz, New York Sportimes, Kansas City, Hartford
Mardy Fish (Hartford FoxForce)– New York Sportimes, Sacramento Capitals, Hartford
Monica Seles (New York Sportimes)– New York Sportimes, Newport Beach, Delaware
Martina Navratilova – (New York Buzz) NY Buzz, Philadelphia, St. Louis, NY Sportimes, Springfield, Sacramento
Maria Sharapova (Newport Beach) – Newport Beach (2)
Mike & Bob Bryan – (Newport Beach) Newport Beach (2), Sacramento, New York Sportimes
* Schedule to be announced at a later date
Seles targets May for comeback bid[03.31.2004]
By Charles Bricker
KEY BISCAYNE - Her weight down and her spirits up, Monica Seles said Tuesday her plan to get back on tour following a one-year injury layoff will begin in Strasbourg, France (May 17-23), and then immediately to the French Open.
But, she cautioned, everything depends on her fitness level. "If I'm not ready by the French Open, I'll keep working until I am," she said.
Seles, 30, hasn't played a match since losing to Nadia Petrova in the first round at Roland Garros in 2003.
It's been a long time since she looked this slim, though she couldn't say how much weight she has lost.
"I never get on the scale," she said. But she went on to say that her doctor has told her if she wants to play tournament tennis again she must reduce the amount of weight on her left foot.
She has been practicing one and a half hours a day with her brother Zoltan. Seles said when she's hitting the ball better she might be ready for one of her favorite sparring mates, former ATP pro Jimmy Arias.
The holder of nine Grand Slam titles, Seles probably won't get a 10th. But she wants to play because of her attachment to tennis.
"I love the purity of this game," said Seles, who has played Key Biscayne nine times with two titles (1990 and '91).
Match serves as a measure[03.23.2004]
Navratilova and Seles gauge their games in Siegel Center exhibition
by John Packett
Monica Seles was testing her left foot for the first time since recovering from a broken bone that sidelined her for 10 months.
Martina Navratilova was tuning up her game to play doubles in the Nasdaq 100 later this week in Key Biscayne, Fla.
The two former stars used an exhibition last night to see where they stand, and, in the process, thoroughly entertained a crowd of around 2,700 at the Siegel Center.
"I felt really good moving out there," said Seles, after losing to Navratilova 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) in a match that produced some vintage shots by both players on the artificial surface laid over the Virginia Commonwealth basketball court.
"Just to be able to play points was a lot of fun. I had a great time. It's going to be a slow [process] for me to get back. I'm just excited that my foot held up."
Navratilova, who retired in 1994 but returned in 2000 to play doubles and has won a pair of mixed Grand Slam titles since then, was impressed with Seles' play.
"It's funny," Navratilova said. "We've played each other a few times now in the past three years and the times before, I was the one who was rusty because I was playing doubles and Monica was on the tour. I was expecting her to be rustier than she was.
"She played really well. I'm playing a lot better than I did the last time we played over a year ago. She was moving pretty well. I think her biggest thing is getting her serve going. That's what took me so long. It took me years to get my arm going again.
"Otherwise, her ground strokes are amazing. Her passing shots. A couple of returns I was just watching, being a spectator."
Navratilova, 47, is planning to play doubles with Lisa Raymond in Florida, then mixed with Leander Paes at the French Open in May.
"I'm planning to play singles in Eastbourne [England]," Navratilova said. "People are pushing me to play [singles] at Wimbledon, but that would be too much attention. I'm really trying to play singles to improve my doubles. Most people play doubles to help their singles, but I do it the other way."
Navratilova said this will be her final year on the tour, then she'd like to get involved in some way politically on the women's circuit, as well as continue to be a TV commentator.
"I'm going for the Olympics [in Athens, Greece]," she said. "Hopefully, I'll get in. Also try to get another Grand Slam title. And I love doing TV."
Seles, 30, hopes to return to the tour later this spring, possibly for the French Open.
"I've got to take it very slowly," said Seles, who wasn't grunting nearly as loudly as she used to on her shots. "I've got to take baby steps. I have a tendency to go right into it, but I learned my lesson. I've got to be careful with this injury."
VCU is planning another exhibition later this year that could feature some bigger names in the women's game, but nothing has been finalized.
In a mixed doubles pro-set match that preceded the main event, Seles and local pro Carl Clark defeated Navratilova and Sean Steinour, another local pro, 8-5.
A pair of charitable organizations, Advantage Virginia and the McCormack Foundation, each received $10,000 from the affair, which included a silent auction Sunday night.
Advantage Virginia was created in 2000 by the VCU Foundation to develop a youth tennis academy and build a world-class indoor facility in Richmond that would benefit VCU and the area. The McCormack Foundation makes contributions to educational, sports and service charities.
Seles eyes emotional Paris return[03.23.2004]
By Ossian Shine (Reuters) - Monica Seles could make an emotional return to the game at the French Open in May after coming through her first match in 10 months unscathed.
The American lost to fellow former world number one Martina Navratilova in an exhibition match in the U.S. on Monday night but was thrilled at coming through the test unscathed.
Seles is already talking of a comeback to the tour, but the 30-year-old knows she must learn to walk before she can run.
"I've got to take it very slowly," Seles, who has slipped to 224 in the rankings, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch after her 6-4 7-6 defeat.
"I've got to take baby steps. I have a tendency to go right into it, but I learned my lesson.
"I've got to be careful with this injury."
The Yugoslav-born American has been sidelined by a foot injury since the French Open last May.
"I want to see how it goes for the next few weeks and how I feel," Seles said.
"The doctor wants me to take it slowly because he knows I have a problem where I want to do everything immediately. He wants me to be as patient as I can."
While Seles knows she must be patient, she did say, however, that the French Open was in her plans.
In recent years, the American has been a firm favourite with the Paris crowd. They took her to their heart in 1998 when Roland Garros was the scene for her first match since the death of her father Karolj just a fortnight earlier.
The last time Seles and Navratilova met on the WTA Tour was in February 1993.
Two months later, Seles was stabbed in the back by Guenter Parche during her quarter-final match in Hamburg, subsequently missing more than two years on the WTA Tour.
Seles has won 53 career titles, including nine grand slam crowns and has spent 178 weeks at number one in the world.
Seles navigating comeback trail[03.14.2004]
Siegel Center visit for exhibition is part of star's rehabilitation
So far, so good for Monica Seles.
The former No. 1 player in the world says her recovery from a foot injury that sidelined her much of last year is coming along nicely. Seles had the soft cast removed from her left foot more than two weeks ago and has been working hard since.
"I had been doing a lot of rehabbing with the cast on, but this is much better," Seles said. "I tape it very well and go to therapy every day. No problems. I'm very happy about the way things are going. It was a very frustrating injury, and I'm glad to have it behind me."
Seles didn't have surgery but opted to allow the broken bone to heal on its own.
"I can't go my usual five or six hours yet," she said. "I'm starting very slowly. Hitting a lot of shots. Just repetition and moving around the court."
Seles' exhibition with Martina Navratilova a week from tomorrow at the Siegel Center will be the first real test of her foot in a competitive atmosphere. The best-of-three sets match is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. and follow a mixed doubles match involving local pros.
"We'll see how it holds up under match conditions," said Seles, 30, and the winner of nine major titles.
Seles is hoping to return to the circuit later this year, assuming the foot doesn't bother her.
"I want to see how it goes for the next few weeks and how I feel," she said. "The doctor wants me to take it slowly because he knows I have a problem where I want to do everything immediately. He wants me to be as patient as I can.
"Ideally, I'd like to start back during the clay-court season, but I'll have to see how I play. It won't be an easy road back."
So even though this will be an exhibition, it means a lot to Seles and her comeback hopes.
"Any match is a big match for an athlete," she said. "As anyone who knows me from playing on my court at my house, it is because I'm so competitive. But in terms of seeing where my game is, how my foot holds up afterward, it's definitely going to be big test.
"Then I still have more practices ahead of me before I can return to the daily grind of the tour, which is different from playing one match."
For the moment, Seles is elated to have the chance to trade ground strokes with something other than a ball machine.
"I'm just very excited that I can even play," she said. "For a long time, I wasn't sure about that. My first hurdle has been cleared and for me, mentally, something good has finally happened after waiting for such a long time."
Jon Wertheim: A conversation with Seles[03.01.2004]
Monica Seles was in town the other day and she graciously agreed to meet for coffee, talk about her status, and take some of the questions we repeatedly are asked here at Mailbag HQ.
Wertheim: We get this one at least once a day: For once and for all, what's up with Monica Seles?
Seles: Am I retiring? (laughs)
Wertheim: No, everyone knows not to go there. What's your prognosis?
Seles: I've come out from the hard cast [on her left foot] and I've been in this thing for four and half weeks [points to an imposing boot-like contraption on her foot]. I go for an MRI next week, they'll send it over and we'll see what happens after that. So I've been immobile for about three months. [My return] depends on the MRI, how the bone has grown back. It's not a bone you can put a screw in. I'm wearing this boot and have special taping so it doesn't really bother me. But I wear a bone-stimulating machine just to keep things strong. I'm not hitting on the court but I sit on a bench and hit just to keep my feel, my touch and keep my calluses. I started doing swimming and weight training. You know, after the stabbing I didn't do anything for two-and-a-half years; but I think at this stage in my career I can't do that and expect to be back.
Wertheim: Did you follow the Australian Open?
Seles: I would watch the good matches -- men's and women's. I'll check the scores [on the Internet] and I know who played the finals of Paris, Jennifer [Capriati]'s Dubai results, things like that. But everyone else has been injured.
Wertheim: Injuries are a hot Mailbag topic. What do you attribute them to?
Seles: The tours really have to look at the schedule. The WTA has done a great job listening to the players, and I think that's important. I'm in the last stages of my career, but these girls are in the middle stages. [The injuries] are already starting at this age, and somebody has to look into that. I don't know the solution but it's not normal ... everyone is injured and everyone is injured for a long time, too.
Wertheim: Could it be the tougher competition?
Seles: Yeah, the competition, and I think it could also be the court surface. A lot of tournaments are played on hard courts. Plus now you have to do so much more pounding on your body. The way the game is played you have to be a lot stronger, there's a lot more wear and tear on your muscles. I was really injury-free until 1999. You need your big names to stay around. You also have to think of younger generation: the longer these players are around, obviously, the better.
Wertheim: What do you make of Justine Henin-Hardenne's run?
Seles: It's been amazing. I like watching her play, I really do. You know I played her last year at the Amelia Island (S.C.) tournament and I could tell she was really confident, a different player.
Wertheim: Another question that comes up a lot: Where are all the left-handers?
Seles: The left-handers are one thing, but I would really like to see more serve-and-volleyers, to have a contrasting style. Every coach now is preaching staying back. Maybe when you're younger and you're physically not so developed so it's hard [to adjust to a different style], or you want the junior results and all that comes with it.
Wertheim: Ahem ...
Seles: (Laughs) I know, I know. Looking back, if I had a chance to change [my playing style, I definitely would have done so. You make a few additions to your game and maybe have a few years when you aren't as a good. Like Tiger Woods did a few years back. But you're better off in the long run.
Wertheim: Some players are better-equipped than others to play serve-and-volley tennis. Is there one player you look at and say, "I wonder ..."
Seles: Oh yeah. Serena. She volleys amazingly. When she comes back, if she adds that dimension, she's a whole different player.
Wertheim: You're a traditionalist, so maybe you're not the best person to take this one. But how do you feel about adding instant replay to tennis?
Seles: Actually, I would kind of like that. It would be cool for the umpires to have. That one I'm OK with.
Wertheim: How about four-game sets?
Seles: Four game sets, changing from two serves, no-ad scoring, moving in the lines -- it's too confusing.
Wertheim: Which male players do you enjoy watching? You like [Roger] Federer as much as everyone else does?
Seles: Oh yeah. He's a genius. You know, the first time I really watched him was last year in Rome [at the Telecom Italia Masters, where the men's event was immediately before the women's] and the guy is just amazing. Also Andre [Agassi] is unbelievable, still in great shape.
Wertheim: What about a guy you wouldn't necessarily think of?
Seles: I love to watch [Fabrice] Santoro. He's a genius. He also hits two hands off both sides. He's one of my friends. As a two-hander you learn from him, relate to him. He's more [pantomines slicing] and I'm more about hitting through. But I would love to take some of his game. Again, as a two-hander, it's a totally different mentality of play.
Wertheim: Enough chitchat. Let's get to the hardball questions. Sex And the City. Carrie Bradshaw ended up with Big. You saw that coming a mile away, right?
Seles: I actually lost a bet with friends! My prediction was that she would end up alone. I got one, though: I was sure she would move back to New York. I knew she wasn't going to hang in Paris. No chance. We're definitely going to miss that show. But we have another favorite: Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Wertheim: Are you my Caucasian?
Seles: [Laughs] Larry David is a genius. And I've never seen a single episode of Seinfeld. Every Curb Your Enthusiam is crazy, and I'm a hard person to get to laugh. That's one good thing about not traveling. You have a normal schedule and you can plan Sunday nights.
Wertheim: Back to tennis. There's no telling when we'll see you again, but we will see you on the court again, correct?
Seles: I'd like to play a limited schedule. I'm not going to come back and play 16 tournaments. My body can't handle that. I just want to finish my career on a good note. The last few tournaments were brutal. I just don't want to leave with that memory. I don't want to stop that way.
Wertheim: But you still have it in you?
Seles: I do. I wouldn't be going through this if I didn't. I've had to learn -- and this has been hard -- that even if you want to go out and play, if your body isn't listening you have to separate the two. You think your body will follow automatically. Maybe it's that I'm 30, but I'm listening to my body better. This is unknown territory for me. It would be different if it were a mental issue. "I'm tired. I had enough. I don't want to do with it." But in this case it's going to be a question of how the body holds up.
Wertheim: And you're OK with turning 30?
Seles: Now I'm OK. Two months ago? No. It was a big one. In tennis you feel like you've been around for ages, but in terms of my friends, they helped. They said, "Hey, you could be just out of college and starting to pay off your loans. Why are you complaining?" That gave me good perspective. ... It's a big milestone and it made me evaluate some things. But I'm in a very happy place in my life. After a long time, after all those issues, I have no issues.
Seles unsure when -- or if -- she'll return[02.24.2004]
NEW YORK (AP) -- Monica Seles is a bit frustrated these days, wondering when -- or if -- she'll return to tournament tennis.
Recovering from a left foot injury, the nine-time major champion hasn't played a match since losing in the first round at the French Open nine months ago.
It was the first time she exited a Grand Slam event that early, and Seles said Tuesday she doesn't want to leave the sport on that note. But she also acknowledged she's thought about retiring.
``It does go through my mind, because my brain wants to be out there, playing or practicing, but my body says, 'Wait! Hold on!' I have to listen to my body,'' Seles said in an interview with The Associated Press.
``I'm not 18 years old anymore. Not that 30 is old, but I started so young, and my body has taken a lot of pounding.''
Surgery wasn't an option to repair the stress fracture in her left foot, Seles said, so instead she's waiting for it to heal. She's wearing a soft cast now and having regular MRI exams to check on the progress. Doctors say the tests should be done every eight weeks. Seles insists on having them every six weeks.
``If I come back, I want to make sure I'm coming back in every sense,'' she said. ``I have to build up to it.''
If she can't come back, tennis will lose one of its all-time best players and a fan favorite. Her engaging personality and giggle are as well-known as her two-handed strokes from both sides and the accompanying two-note grunts.
By the time she was 19, Seles won eight Grand Slam titles. But on April 30, 1993, a man climbed out of the stands at a tournament in Hamburg, Germany, and stabbed her. The psychological and physical scars took time to heal.
Seles returned to the game 27 months later and displayed remarkable resilience. That she was back on court was impressive in itself; that she immediately reached the 1995 U.S. Open final and then won the '96 Australian Open was downright stunning.
And throughout that time -- including on court -- she was battling migraine headaches that didn't subside until Seles found the right medicine in 1997.
How much does she miss the game these days?
Unable to run around a court, sometimes Seles will sit on the ground and swing a racket, just to have that feel of the ball hitting the strings.
``I'm such an impatient person,'' she said. ``But I know I need to slowly come back and see how it holds up under practice -- not to push it and not to re-injure it.''
If doctors allow, she'll return to the court for a charity exhibition match against Martina Navratilova in Richmond, Va., next month. While away from the tour, Seles has kept tabs on tennis, watching the Australian Open and other tournaments on television.
And she's noticed a trend.
``It's amazing how many players have been hurt this season,'' Seles said. ``If you look at Serena (Williams), she's been out as much as I have. Maybe the offseason needs to be longer -- I know the tour is looking at it.''
Nearly every top player has been sidelined with one ailment or another recently. Williams still hasn't played since winning Wimbledon in July, while her sister Venus missed six months.
Amelie Mauresmo, Jennifer Capriati and Justine Henin-Hardenne also have been out.
``It's a long season, and we need more time to rest and have a holiday,'' the top-ranked Henin-Hardenne said. ``We need at least six weeks to be prepared for the next season.''
The WTA Tour says it's looking into making a change.
``The players who've been injured have been high-profile players, so it's more noticeable,'' tour spokesman Darrell Fry said.
``Still, we feel that giving our players more of a break between seasons, just like other pro sports, is advantageous all around -- for the players, for the tour and for the fans.''
And Seles pointed out that even during the offseason, there is not a whole lot of time when players are, well, off.
These days, though, she has too much time on her hands.
``It made me realize how much I still miss the game and would like to be out there. And I want to finish on my own terms,'' she said. ``I want to finish being able to play. It's been tough. It's tested my patience and my love for the game.''
For the First Time, Tennis Champion Monica Seles Talks About Her Biggest Opponent Off the Court[02.24.2004]
For the first time, Monica Seles, one of the world's most accomplished women's tennis players, is sharing her story about her toughest opponent, migraine headaches, as part of a nationwide educational initiative. The campaign called Acing Migraine Pain, sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline, is designed to help raise awareness of the condition and encourage those who may be suffering from frequent severe headaches to seek diagnosis for what could actually be migraines, an often debilitating condition.
"I suffered for several years with what I thought were just stress or tension headaches. There were times when I had to miss practices -- and even pull out of a couple of tournaments -- because the pain and sensitivity to sunlight were unbearable," said Monica Seles. "There were people who couldn't understand how a headache could be so disabling and thought I just didn't want to play tennis that day."
Although 28 million Americans suffer from migraines, under-diagnosis and misdiagnosis of the condition remains a problem. In fact, it is estimated that as many as 14 million people who have migraines have never been diagnosed by a physician.
About Migraines: Why You May Find Yourself on the Sidelines
Migraine is an often debilitating condition that can lead to missed days at work, lost time with family and friends, and a disrupted daily routine. The disorder is characterized by symptoms including moderate to severe headache pain, throbbing head pain on one side of the head, head pain aggravated by routine activity, nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. Left untreated, migraine attacks can last up to 72 hours.
"Too often, people with migraines mistake their pain for stress or tension headaches or sinus pressure," said Dr. Jan Lewis Brandes, Department of Neurology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. "Because migraine can present itself in various ways, receiving an accurate diagnosis from a healthcare professional and getting appropriate treatment is critical. The good news is, if you're diagnosed with migraines, there is a class of migraine-specific medications called triptans, like Imitrex® (sumatriptan succinate) that a physician can prescribe, which can offer patients very positive results.
"When I was finally diagnosed with migraines, the doctor prescribed Imitrex. Now, I take my medicine when I feel a migraine coming on and I get the relief I need," added Seles.
Monica Seles: Acing Migraine Pain
Monica will be making appearances throughout 2004 to share her personal story and to motivate others to 'ace migraine pain'. "I hope by talking about my struggle with this condition, other people suffering from frequent bad headaches will recognize their symptoms as part of a real medical condition and see a doctor to get the proper diagnosis and treatment," said Seles.
Imitrex® tablets are now available in a formulation designed to rapidly dissolve in the stomach*. The new tablets contain the same active ingredient and provide the same proven efficacy and safety profile of the conventional Imitrex tablets with an innovative technology for rapid dissolution of the product in the stomach.
The rapid-release technology of Imitrex tablets works differently from oral disintegrating tablets, also known as oral melts, which dissolve on the tongue. New Imitrex tablets, which replace the old tablets, are swallowed whole with water like conventional tablets, dissolve quickly, and can be taken at the first sign of migraine pain for effective relief.
If the diagnosis is migraine with or without aura, then migraine-specific prescription therapies, like Imitrex, are available for the acute treatment of migraine attacks without drowsiness. Imitrex was the first prescription drug in a class of drugs called triptans to receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for the acute treatment of migraine in adults. Imitrex has treated more than 646 million migraines over the last decade, equal to treating a migraine headache every second.
Patients should not take Imitrex if they have certain types of heart disease, history of stroke or TIAs, peripheral vascular disease, Raynaud syndrome, or blood pressure that is uncontrolled. Patients with risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or are a smoker, should be evaluated by a doctor before taking Imitrex. Very rarely, certain people, even some without heart disease, have had serious heart related problems. Patients who are pregnant, nursing, or taking medications should talk to their doctor.
About The Sponsor
"Monica Seles: Acing Migraine Pain" is sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline. GlaxoSmithKline, with U.S. operations in Philadelphia and Research Triangle Park, N.C., is one of the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies. The company is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.
Please consult full prescribing information available at www.Imitrex.com or by calling Robin Gaitens at GlaxoSmithKline at (919) 483-2839.
What a Match! - Seles, Navratilova headline VCU's Raise a Racquet[02.19.2004]
The Virginia Commonwealth University SportsCenter announced on Thursday that they will host a pro exhibition match between Martina Navratilova and Monica Seles in March as part of a series of tennis events in Richmond called "Raise a Racquet."
The event will kick off on March 13 with a five day mixed doubles tournament at VCU's Thalhimer Tennis Center. On March 21, the event will sponsor a youth clinic for Richmond-city Girl Scouts at the Thalhimer Tennis Center. In addition, on March 21, there will be a silent auction at the VCU's ALLTEL Pavilion at the Stuart C. Siegel Center that will feature appearances by Seles and Navratilova. The fundraiser auction will feature vacation getaways and a LASIK eye surgery to name a few items.
Raise a Racquet will close on March 22 as Seles and Navratilova will play a mixed doubles pro set with local professionals Carl Clark and Sean Steinour and then face each other in a three-set singles match at the Siegel Center
The event's aim is to promote tennis in Richmond while raising money for VCU, Advantage Virginia and The McCormack Foundation.
"This is going to be exciting for all of Central Virginia," commented VCU Athletic Director Richard L. Sander. "We'll have a number of huge events that will bring focus to something important."
One unique aspect of the event is that is being coordinated by 43 graduate students at the VCU SportsCenter. The VCU SportsCenter, which was launched in 1999, offers graduate students the opportunity to get a master's degree in sports leadership.
"We're going to bring the community behind the event," explained VCU SportsCenter spokeswoman and graduate student Kathleen Bowles. "The students have had a hands-on role. It's an experience we're grateful for having."
Bowles said she's excited at the prospect of watching Seles play in the exhibitions.
"Her ability is well respected and I'm looking forward to her coming into town."
Seles, who participated in the afternoon press conference via conference call, said despite her recent and past injuries, she's thrilled to be a participant in the event and impressed with the participation of VCU's SportsCenter students.
"It is fantastic that the students are managing the event," she said.
"I'll be very happy to be playing again. I haven't played in awhile," Seles, who is recovering from a foot injury, explained. "It will be a fantastic match with Martina with contrasting styles."
Seles last played competitively in the 2003 French Open last May and last faced Navratilova over two years ago.
"Martina is one of the great players to play the game. She's a real inspiration," said Seles, who has won nine Grand Slam singles titles since she turned pro in 1989 at the age of 15. "We always had epic matches. Each match has been very close and competitive."
Seles has won 53 singles titles and 6 doubles titles in her career.
Advantage Virginia, a beneficiary of the event, is in the process of developing a program that will bring tennis, academic and tutoring opportunities to children at a planned world class tennis facility in Richmond. For the youth clinic, which will be held March 21, the advisor ratio for the participants will be three youths to one advisor. Advantage Virginia representative Tommy Cain, a former professional tennis player, said Advantage Virginia is "excited to be the beneficiary of the proceeds."
Navratilova, who has turned pro in 1973, retired in 1994 and launched a comeback recently, has won 167 singles titles, including 18 Grand Slam titles, and 79 doubles titles. Her 167 singles titles are more than any man or woman has won in professional tennis.
Seles leads the head-to-head competition between the two, winning ten of their 17 matches.
Despite a career advantage, Seles has the utmost respect for Navratilova.
"She's unbelievable; not just how she plays," she commented. "She is still winning Grand Slam events now. It's amazing how she's improved [since coming out of retirement]."
Frustrated Seles sits and watches as foot heals[02.06.2004]
Monica Seles was thousands of miles away from where the Australian Open was being played, but the Sarasota resident kept close tabs on the year's first Grand Slam event.
Seles paid particular attention to the way Marat Safin overcame an injury that kept him away from tennis much of last year to make a run to the final against Roger Federer.
"The way he was able to play so many matches was amazing," Seles said.
She also took note of the disappointment of Amelie Mauresmo, who reached the quarterfinals, only to have to default because of a back injury. "I felt so bad for her," Seles said. "To get that far, then not be able to play."
Seles can commiserate with any player dealing with pain and injury.
The former No. 1 player in the world has dealt with her share of pain and injury, and is now trying to rehabilitate from a foot injury that threatens her career.
Seles missed most of last year with the foot injury and has no idea when, or if, she will be back on tour.
"There is no timetable," Seles said recently. She wishes there was.
Seles admits to be frustrated by the lingering injury. She sometimes sits and holds a racket in her hand but is unable to get out on a court. She can't run.
"I can't walk on the sand."
Seles has been in a cast for the past nine weeks and will be for another three or four weeks. Then there will be another MRI to determine the condition of her left foot and whether the bone that became split has been healing.
Seles has spent most of her time recently in New York, where her rehab has included laser treatments. She really can't even enjoy things like trying out new restaurants because she has been on a low-carb diet in an attempt to stay in shape. And it is hard to enjoy much of anything else because of the brutal winter weather in New York.
"I had to come home for a while," Seles said. "It has been so incredibly cold. I missed the Sarasota weather."
She also misses not being able to play tennis, and holds out hope that her career is not finished. But she also has declined to have surgery on the foot. She has never had surgery and is determined not to start now.
Seles, now 30, finished last year out of the top 10. That was the first time that has happened (except for 1994, when she didn't compete after being stabbed in 1993) since 1988, her first year on the tour.
If there is a tennis god, Seles' foot will heal and she will be able to return to the game. One of the best competitors (and genuinely one of the nicest and most sincere players) in the game, Seles deserves to go out fighting instead of quietly.
Injuries hit hard at Oz Open[01.18.2004]
Top seed Justine Henin Hardenne and her compatriot Kim Clijsters have ankle injuries; Venus Williams has not played since July because of torn stomach muscles and Lindsay Davenport had to withdraw from a tournament in Sydney last week with a shoulder injury. Indeed of the top five women's seeds at the Australian Open, which begins Monday, only Amelie Mauresmo (4) is not carrying an injury.
And that is just the women who have made it to Melbourne - four former Australian Open winners including defending champion Serena Williams are all absent - from what is fast becoming a game of "last woman standing" rather than the first grand slam tournament of a new season.
The injuries threaten to undermine in particular the women's event in Melbourne but the men's tournament has also been hit as a combination of unforgiving surfaces, more powerful play and a tennis calendar that allows little respite start to damage the major competitions.
No fewer than eight of the world's leading women have suffered serious injuries in the past 12 months. Four of these, all former champions, are absent from Melbourne. Serena Williams has not recovered from knee surgery last August; Jennifer Capriati, has not played since injuring her back in November; four-time champion Monica Seles is still recovering from a foot injury sustained here last year while Mary Pierce is just not fit after a long layoff.
Henin - who was due to start her pursuit of a third grand slam title on Monday against the 15-year-old Australian Olivia Lukaszewicz - twisted an ankle and had treatment for blisters during her winning run in Sydney last week. She will play with a heavily strapped ankle but the surface used in Australia may ultimately cost her the chance of adding to her US and French Open titles.
Her main rival will be Venus Williams' whose only match since recovering from the serious stomach muscle tear that hampered her in losing to sister Serena in the Wimbledon final, was a recent exhibition event in Hong Kong, where she beat Mauresmo in the final. That is scant preparation for a grand slam tournament even for Williams who has won tournaments on the back of little match play before. But ranked 11th in the world at the moment she is seeded third in Melbourne.
According to WTA Tour Supervisor Pam Whytcross, who spent 14 years playing on the tour in the 1970s and 1980s, there are several strands contributing to the present injury situation. "Power, harder surfaces and increasing competition are the main factors," she thinks. "The whole game has become more physical. Players are having to train harder and longer to keep up with the pacesetters - women like the Williams sisters, Davenport and Capriati. I'm blown away how hard they hit the ball. There is little chance for the finesse players today."
For that, racket technology is partly to blame. Because today's lightweight, wide-body rackets are easier to wield than the old wooden rackets, it is possible nowadays to produce greater racket-head speed and therefore more topspin. This allows players to hit hard and fast to acute angles with shots that force opponents to chase further and faster. It is this sort of violent movement that causes injury, especially at those moments when a wrong-footing drive forces a player to make sudden changes of direction.
This is especially noticeable on the Rebound Ace courts in use throughout Australia. Ankle injuries are common in extreme court temperatures as they often are in high summer. Not only does the thin layer of rubber beneath the surface reflect the heat to cause serious dehydration, it also makes the surface soft and tacky. If players do not wear old shoes with smooth soles (as they are advised) there is always the danger of excessive grip.
"The whole circuit used to be played on grass and clay, the two surfaces that are kindest to the body," said Whytcross. "Today's hard surfaces now predominate and they are much tougher on the physique."
The trend towards hard courts has been driven by commercial necessity. Until 1974 three of the grand slams were played on grass, a costly and labour-intensive surface.
In 1988 the Australian Open followed the US and forsook grass when they came here to Flinders Park (now Melbourne Park). Rebound Ace was selected, because the new centre court with its sliding roof doubles as an entertainment centre.
Who, then, will survive these next 14 days and six testing rounds to reach the final? In the top half, Henin-Hardenne is the obvious choice, despite her ankle. The test will come in the quarter-finals against Davenport whose soft draw should let her survive to that round so long as her shoulder does not flare up. The winner there should proceed to the final unless Mauresmo can reproduce her 1999 form when she was runner-up.
Bravely as Clijsters is talking I shall be surprised if she survives to the second week. If she does I believe Williams will still get past her to reach the final again. Venus has proved before that she can produce her best on a light match diet. Last year her sister was too good for her. This time she might decide to keep the title in the family.