Tamarine to play in the minors
Off-form Tamarine Tanasugarn has opted to enter minor events to boost her rankings and her confidence after a series of first round flops since the beginning of the year.
Tamarine, who dropped to 153 this week after climbing to her personal best of 19 four years ago, has no other choice but to adjust her schedule from WTA to challenger levels. Chastened, she will kick off her campaign next week in a US$50,000 tournament in Orange, California.
She lost five consecutive first rounds since January and crashed out in the opening qualifying competition to Uzbekistan's Varvara Lepchenko 1-6 0-6 in the Pacific Life Open on Tuesday. With her current ranking, she cannot enter the US$3.4 million Nasdaq-Open, considered as the fifth Grand Slam, which will begin on March 20 in Florida.
"I can't play in Florida because I'm in the next-in list. My ranking is not high enough even for qualifying,'' said Tamarine who had reached the fourth round of the event in 2001.
The Thai No 1 admitted she has been below par that has resulted in some poor results lately. She has even decided not to play the doubles in the Pacific Life Open. "There is no injury. I just don't hit well so I don't want to play the doubles. I don't want to hurt my partner's feelings,'' explained Tamarine, who was supposed to team up with Taiwan's Hsieh Su-wei.
Tamarine plans to enter nine challengers until May and is likely to skip the Fed Cup World Group II first round tie against the Czech Republic next month in Bangkok.
"If I don't make it to the top 100 before Fed Cup, I'm afraid I won't be able to play. I want to focus on improving my ranking,'' she said.
Although she has been far from the level of tennis that has propelled her to the world's top 20, Tamarine is not counting herself out and believes that she is still capable of getting into the top 100 once again.
"It is a bit funny when I cannot play the way I would want to. I think I just have to be patient and keep fighting. I will spring back. I am just waiting for an opportunity."