Pierce struggles with 'the vision thing' - TennisForum.com
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Pierce struggles with 'the vision thing'

Pierce struggles with 'the vision thing'
April 9 2003
The Post and Courier

If it seems like Mary Pierce is always coming back from some problem or another -- well, that's because she is.

Pierce, a two-time Grand Slam winner, has spent much of the last two years battling various ailments, ranging from abdominal strains to ankle problems, a bad rotator cuff and a sore back.

The 2000 Family Circle champ is dealing with a new problem now as she seeks a return to the top of women's tennis. Pierce had laser eye surgery recently, but the results have not been 2-0/20.

She played last week in Sarasota for the first time since February, and struggled with her vision while losing her second match.

"It didn't correct my vision 100 percent, only 50 percent," Pierce said after a 6-3, 6-3 win over No. 48 Nicole Pratt on Tuesday. "So to play tennis, I'm better off with my contacts, because it's preferable to see 2-0/20 when you are playing a professional sport, especially when balls are coming fast at you."

Against Pratt, Pierce played without her contacts. At Sarasota, she tried it both ways.

"It's not the best right now," said Pierce, currently ranked No. 43. "Today I didn't play with them in, so I'm just trying to figure that out."


Iva Majoli, the defending FCC champion, hasn't done a head count. But she knows they are out there -- the pack of young Russian players invading the WTA Tour.

"There are so many young Russians, so many of them," said Majoli, who is from Croatia. "It's hard to miss a Russian in a draw. They're all playing well, and they are all, like, two meters tall and serving big. (The game) is becoming so much more powerful."

Majoli gets one of those Russians, No. 21-ranked Elena Dementieva, in the second round. Dementieva defeated Iroda Tulyaganova, 6-2, 6-2, on Tuesday.

There are nine women from Russia in the 56-player main draw of the FCC this year, led by 10th-ranked Anastasia Myskina, who is seeded No. 7 here and faces Mary Pierce in the second round. There are seven Russian women in the WTA's top 50; only the USA, with 11, can claim more top 50 players.

The most famous Russian player, of course, is Anna Kournikova. Maria Sharapova, the 15-year-old from Siberia often billed as the "next Anna," was eliminated Tuesday by Maja Matevzic of Slovenia in a three-setter.

The influx of Russians has made it even tougher to win, Majoli said.

"The game's been so strong the last couple of years, it's hard to win any tournaments," she said. "Except for maybe the top couple of players, it's becoming very difficult."


Rain forced tournament officials to halt some matches Tuesday afternoon and cancel the night session, including the featured match between Serena Williams and Dally Randriantefy.

Fans who bought tickets for the Tuesday night session can exchange them at the ticket kiosk for night matches today, Thursday or Friday, based on availability.

Tickets can't be upgraded or exchanged for any of the remaining day sessions. Full-week box holder and terrace tickets can be exchanged for third-tier seating only.


There are some extra security measures in place at the tournament this year due to the nation's heightened security alert.

All bags will be checked at the gate, and ticket holders who have to leave must get their hands stamped for reentry. Fans who come back into the tennis center must get their bags checked again.

"We wanted to take every precaution to make sure that spectators, media, volunteers and staff are safe," tournament executive director Frankie Whelan said. "That is our No. 1 priority, and I know that our security team, along with city of Charleston police, are making this site as safe as possible."
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