It's great to hear they plan on playing for years.
Former champions eye returns and farewells
NEW YORK: Four former women’s world number ones advanced to the third round of the US Open here on Thursday, two of them bouncing back after injuries and two of them pondering their final farewells.
Domination by world number one Serena and second-ranked Venus Williams has toppled Martina Hingis, Monica Seles, Jennifer Capriati and Lindsay Davenport from atop of the WTA rankings. But none have given up their goal to get back on top.
“I’m really close and it just motivates me to want to get higher and even closer to moving up, maybe being number one again,” said reigning Australian Open champion Capriati.
“I look at some of my previous matches and why I wasn’t as sharp moving around the court and physically. I’m really trying to get back to that. It’s important.”
Seles, 28, won here a decade ago but has not reached a Grand Slam final in more than four years. A love of the game and past success keep her motivated, and she plans to play as long as she remains healthy and competitive.
“I’m going to play as long as I enjoy it,” Seles said.
“I don’t want to put that pressure that I will play for sure next year or stop after this one. Right now I’m really enjoying it, working hard. If my body allows, I would like to keep playing.
“If I wake up a few days in a row and really see this is not happening for me, I will move on.”
Capriati, 26, was a teen star who quit the game for nearly five years before making a comeback that has brought three Slam titles.
She has only started to look toward the twilight of her career and life after the tour.
“I’m starting to think about it a little bit, what I could do,” she said.
“I don’t think that’s going to be for a little while yet, hopefully.”
Hingis, a month shy of her 22nd birthday, missed much of this year with a foot injury and barely returned in time to play here.
She enjoyed the break but then began to long for the workouts and regimen she has known since childhood.
“I wasn’t fulfilled with my way of living at that point,” Hingis said. “After a while you miss having the practice hours, just the discipline. That has been all my life like that. I miss the challenge and the motivation.
“I knew the first set back I could still play, if my body would last. The passion has always been there.”
The Williams sisters have not, but they are the mountains Hingis must climb to reclaim the tennis throne. During he absence, Venus and Serena played in the French Open and Wimbledon finals and Hingis was an impressed spectator.
“The Wimbledon final was one of the best matches ever,” Hingis said.
“They not only have the game but the technique, the way they move on the court so fast, hit the ball hard. That’s how you want to play, try to get to that level.”
Capriati warns that Hingis will have to take her recovery slowly.
“She can’t expect too much too soon. She has to have patience,” Capriati said.
“She’s young enough where she has a lot of time left and she is definitely not out of it. She shouldn’t be counted out. She is still one of the toughest players out there.”
Davenport has lost weight while nursing a knee injury and dropped weight to improve her fitness as she prepares for the speed and stamina challenges the Williams sisters present.
“I’m not getting as many nagging injuries as I used to get,” Davenport said.
“I’m recovering a lot faster from matches. Hopefully it adds a lot to my game.” – AFP