Rossana Neffa-de los Rios
Neffa-De Los Rios was a player of great promise when, three months after her 19th birthday, she married professional football player Gustavo Neffa. She stopped playing tennis altogether and three years later, Ana Paula arrived.
"Being a mother was more important than being tennis player," Neffa-De Los Rios said earlier this week. "Tennis was just my job. I always thought I stop for good."
"After practicing and practicing, I do well," she explained. "It was hard with my daughter. My husband traveled with me, but we still needed a nanny sometimes. For us it is still not easy. Ana is seven and she likes to watch tennis. Most of the bigger tournaments have nurseries, which helps."
While she describes herself as a smarter player -- "my mind has changed after Ana" -- she has struggled recently. Her best Grand Slam performance was reaching the fourth round at Roland Garros in 2000, the first full season of her return. Currently, she is ranked No. 223 in singles and No. 342 in doubles. Neffa-De Los Rios is 3-13 in singles, including a 6-0, 6-0 loss to No. 1-ranked Kim Clijsters in the first round at Wimbledon. She and partner Rachel McQuillan, lost in the first round of doubles that year in straight sets to Patricia Tarabini and Caroline Vis.
"It is easy for the men," De Los Rios said. "They are not having the babies. Still, is good they are fathers. It's important to be parent."
She has won $551,245 in her career and said she hopes to play three more years. After she retires, she plans on having another child.
"One," she said laughing. "One more. After that, it's too hard."
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