Obziler better the second time around
By Tim Colebatch
January 12, 2004
In September 2002, Tzipi Obziler decided to give up everything else in her life to become a full-time tennis player. Nothing unusual in that, except that she was almost 30.
And perhaps, one more thing: two months earlier, as a tennis coach and part-time player with a world ranking "around 400", playing for Israel against the US in the Fed Cup, she came within a few points of defeating former world No. 1 Lindsay Davenport, losing 2-6, 6-1, 6-7.
So she decided to go for broke. "I wanted to give it another try," Obziler said yesterday. "I didn't want to wake up in two or three years and wonder what might have happened if I had really given everything to it."
Obziler had been in tennis for years - she played her first satellite event back in 1989, when Chris Evert was still playing - but never full-time.
There was school, then two years in the Israeli army, then studying "computer stuff" and working, around which her tennis career was mostly one of Fed Cup matches and the odd satellite event.
In 2000, she qualified for the Australian Open and edged her way into the world's top 200. But then injury struck and, at 27, she decided to give her tennis ambitions away.
She settled down in Tel Aviv to coach, while still lining up beside Anna Smashnova in the Fed Cup team.
Then they fought their way into a World Cup qualifier against the US. Obziler entered some tournaments to prepare herself for Davenport and Monica Seles, and her ranking soared.
Then she surprised herself as she stretched both tennis legends. She realised she might have quit too soon. Still trim and fit, with a good all-court game, at 29 she decided to try again.
By last year, she had cut her world ranking from 739 to 107. "When you're older, you're a little bit smarter," Obziler said. "And maybe being a coach helps you see what you're doing wrong."
Yesterday she qualified for the Canberra Women's Classic, downing Conchita Martinez Granados 6-3, 6-3, to earn a match against seventh seed Marlene Weingartner.
The winner will play fast-rising Spanish double-hander Arantxa Parra, who yesterday was physically too strong for Sydney 20-year-old Monique Adamczak, winning 6-1, 6-4.
Adamczak, a Tony Roche pupil playing her first WTA event, was not disappointed. She had three break points for a 5-3 lead in the second set. But under pressure, Parra went for her shots, whereas Adamczak tried to play safe.