Alexandra Dulgheru's year 2012 - A season to Forget
Bright times lying behind former Romanian #1 and world #26 Alexandra Dulgheru. The 2 time Warsaw Open champion is forced to start again from the ranking region her ascendent to the top began in 2009.
I'm starting my season's review on all Romanian tennis players today and I decided to give the to date most rewarded of the bunch the start.
It is a year to forget for Alexandra Dulgheru. Loved by her fans, heavily dislike by others, Alexandra Dulgheru always polarized the tennis boards of this world. Now, a bilateral knee injury concerning both patellar tendons forced her to set an early end to her 2012 campaign and withdraw from the WTA tour. Even before retiring after being a set up to local wildcard player Irina Falconi in Indian Wells at the beginning of March, it was evident to her close followers that Alexandra Dulgheru is struggling with her health big times. The now 23-year old was unable to play her consistent and crafty game for more than 2 matches during huge parts of the last year as well, after having played a couple of back to back marathon matches approximately 1 year before the brought up match against the young American.
Being forced to play a slim schedule and avoiding heavy pressure in the trainig sessions, the Romanian had to break up her partnership with coach Gabriel Urpi starting in March 2011. Alternative treatments from time to time allowed her to go on that year, but in the end she finally realized that this is no satisfying situation for a professional athlete and eventually underwent surgery on both knees by her longtime doctor in Spain. It was after the operation when she realized how tired she was for the meantime and how much those problems really influenced her game.
I slept almost continuously for a month. I could sleep from 9-10 pm and I woke up next day after lunch. Well, I didn't really enjoy the luxury this morning because I had to go to recovery. But I realized how tired I got, especially during that last year I had these big problems. I resisted pain. I tried to get over it. But my body gave me so many signals and I didn't listen.
And still, Alexandra Dulgheru never gives up. Persistency has become her trademark, and it's that feature making her a tough opponent for any player, especially on the slow courts of this world. Bringing back every ball and always waiting for the opportunity to counter attack.
Even at the beginning of this season, Alexandra showed her guts. After a 3 hour+ marathon against Sofia Arvidsson in the FQR of Sydney, having wasted a MP, she found herself as a lucky loser in the draw and it wasn't a coincidence that the revenge against the Swede would take place much earlier than expected. Despite her knee problems, it wasn't Dulgheru who got slaughtered of tiredness, no, the Romanian only dropped 3 games to reach R2 against Top player Kvitova, where she eventually fell, but not without having thrown every glimpse of power into the ring being left in her body. Another unfortunate draw at the Australian Open forced her to bring it on against another Top 10 player at that time, Russian Vera Zvonareva, but no signs of resignation from the Romanian. Another great 3 hour match and a couple of MTO's later it was only a small margin that made the difference in the final set.
Her body already burnt out at that moment, she tried it again, this time at the claycourts of the 100k ITF in Cali and it was once again her unbreakable fighting spirit that got her through, saving MPs against Dominguez Lino in the semifinal on the road to another claycourt title by defeating Mandy Minella in another 3 set match. It's no surprise that after this effort, the young Romanian's body couldn't hold it anymore. 4 consecutive R1 losses thereafter, were finally enough for Dulgheru to take the long overdue break from the tour. The nice and smart girl will be missed big time on the stages of the world, but also off-court she knows how to present herself well. Always being friendly to her fans, funny, charming and extremely talented, no matter if it's about dancing, drawing or acting. An interesting player with broad horizons and alot of different facets, a fresh soul in contrast to the dull and cheap image of female tennis players having floated the sports news these days.
We don't know how long it will take for the Romanian to come back to where she was, if it's possible for her to begin with, but when there is one player out there I can see recovering from such a heavy injury, it's definately the tough Romanian.
Alexandra Dulgheru, optimistic about her chances to get back on track again, the trophy she received in Cali - hopefully not the last one in her career.