Shaughnessy a willing student
Though ranked No. 19, she’s eager to learn from veterans of Fed Cup play.
By Joe Cress
Posted by WTAFANS TEAM
The stadium court at Cooper Tennis Complex has doubled as a classroom for Meghann Shaughnessy this week.
And, although she’s already ranked No. 19 in the world, the 23-year old Shaughnessy is eager to soak in all the new information she can.
Shaughnessy, who has just one Fed Cup match to her credit, says she’s using this week to pick the collective minds of captain Billie Jean King and teammates Monica Seles, Lindsay Davenport and Lisa Raymond.
“It’s a dream to play Fed Cup, especially with a team like this, with a great captain and great players,” Shaughnessy said.
Shaughnessy has worked hard with King and U.S. assistant coach Zina Garrison this week. She’s enjoying the workouts and isn’t worried about getting mixed messages as she heads back out on the WTA circuit next week.
“It’s nice to get different opinions,” she said. “Everyone sees things differently. And coming from Billie Jean King? That’s great information and I want to take advantage of it.”
Shaughnessy made her Fed Cup debut in April when the U.S. was upset by Austria in Charlotte, N.C. The rookie had to grow up quickly after Jennifer Capriati was dismissed from the team for a disagreement over practice rules.
With their top-ranked player gone, Shaughnessy was forced into singles action, where she played Barbara Schwartz in an epic match that lasted three hours and seven minutes. Shaughnessy held a match point over Schwartz, but wound up falling 4-6, 7-6 (9-7), 9-7.
“That was a tough week,” Shaughnessy said. “We were in a difficult situation and had some tough breaks.”
Shaughnessy said the Americans didn’t take Austria lightly then and certainly aren’t underestimating Israel this week.
“We didn’t take (Austria) for granted,” she said. “We may be favored this weekend, but like any other match, we’ll go out and play our best and not worry about who we’re playing.”
Shaughnessy got into the team mode early when she joined the Hartford FoxForce for her World TeamTennis debut last week. Among her matches were a 5-3 loss to Springfield Laser Anastasia Myskina and a 5-2 victory over Davenport.
“Team tennis is a different approach,” Shaughnessy said. “You get used to playing just the tour events and Grand Slams and this is a nice mix.
“Two weeks in a row of the team atmosphere gets you excited for the rest of the season.”
After Fed Cup, Shaughnessy joins her teammates for three WTA events in California. Her world ranking reached as high as 11, but has slipped as she hasn’t played as well in 2002.
“I had good progression over the last few years and last year was my breakthrough year,” Shaughnessy said. “This year, I’ve struggled some and I had a (lower back) injury that I’m getting over.”
A good Fed Cup experience could give Shaughnessy the boost she needs right now.
“I’m very far from where I want to be, but I know I’ll keep working hard.
“I’m far from reaching my dreams.”