College Tennis/Team USA expert
Join Date: Sep 2004
Q & A w/ Brenda Schultz McCarthy
'S-HERTOGENBOSCH, The Netherlands - After taking a six-year break from the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour due to back injuries, Dutchwoman Brenda Schultz-McCarthy returned in the spring to give it another shot (read more here). Last week at 's-Hertogenbosch, the 35-year-old beat world No.60 Laura Granville and No.66 Marta Domachowska to win her first two main draw matches of the year, before losing to Dinara Safina. Here are some reflections from the former Top 10 player, a titlist at Birmingham in 1992 and a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon in 1995, on today's game, her game, and the grass court season.
You won your first couple of main draw matches here since your comeback. How do you feel about your performance?
It was a great tournament. My back didn't bother me at all and it was great to see that I was able to beat some girls who are ranked in the Top 70. Against Safina, there was more in it for me than I showed. I got a little behind in the first set right away and had some good chances to break but didn't use them. What I need now is more match experience.
What are you planning to play next?
I'm going to play four lower-level tournaments now (among others, one in Washington D.C. and one in Cincinnati). Unfortunately, my ranking wasn't good enough to get into Wimbledon. I would have loved to play there. But I hope to improve my ranking, be in the Top 200 at the end of the year and play Grand Slams next year.
You only played here in your home tournament once (1996) and always chose to play in Eastbourne instead. Why did you play here this year and what has kept you from playing here before?
I decided to play here because I would never have gotten a wild card in Eastbourne. I also tried to get one for Wimbledon but I couldn't, unfortunately. I always chose to play Eastbourne instead because the grass there plays more similarly to Wimbledon. In the past, the grass here was put on a sand surface and it was very soft. But they've made some changes and now it plays the same as Wimbledon.
Your serve-and-volley game has frustrated your opponents this week. How have you managed to be so successful in the area of the game only few can master?
Like with anything else, it takes practice. It's just like with hitting forehands and backhands, you've got to practice to get better. I would just practice serve-and-volley for hours, so I became pretty comfortable. It's a good weapon to have on grass.
Has anything changed in the grass court game from 10 years?
No, not much has changed. The balls are a little heavier now and you have to put more on the serve. But other than that, not much has changed. You have to be aggressive and attack the net.
How do you have to play to be successful on grass? Please give non-grass experts some useful hints.
The most important thing is that you have to stay low. Your body and your racket have to be low all the time. It puts a lot on your muscles but you have to do it to be successful. If you get up just a little bit, you're done.
The grass court season is so short (only four weeks) and there are only three tune-up events for Wimbledon. Do you wish the preparation time was longer?
Yes, I do wish it was longer. We used to have another grass event in Newport but that's over now. Basically, you don't prepare too much for grass. You come from red clay straight to Birmingham and hope for the best, hope that you're ready.
How does Wimbledon compare to the other Grand Slams?
All the Grand Slams are very special and I've had good results at all of them. At Wimbledon, you generally don't have too many long matches, so the whole tournament seems shorter. I really wish I could play it this year because, with my age, it's good not having to be on the court all day!
She wants too play Slams next year!!!
Singles: Won ITF Contrexeville '10, ITF Yakima '12, ITF Medellin '14, ITF Monterrey '14, ITF Asuncion '14, ITF CH-YEC '14, WTA Dubai '16
Doubles: Won WTA Bad Gastein '10 (as Q), WTA Quebec City '10 (as Q),Wimbledon '11, ITF Kansas City '11, ITF Nassau '12, ITF Yakima '12, WTA 125 Hua Hin '15