Time to bump this thread
Spears is gearing up for a better showing in Rome
By Jerry Magee
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
May 3, 2005
Abigail Spears saw more of Rome's fountains and architectural splendor on her last time in the city than she did of the Foro Italico, site of the Italian Open.
The Valley Center woman in 2004 occupied a "first in" status, meaning she was to be the first player fed into the main singles draw in Rome should there be withdrawals, which there almost always are. Not this time, however, and Spears, even though she played doubles, did not get into the singles draw.
This time, Spears, her ranking having improved (to No. 71), is going to be less of a tourist. With Larry Willens, her coach, she departed yesterday on an extended tour that is to take her to Rome, Strasbourg, Paris and on to the grass court tournaments.
To prepare for her clay court appearances, beginning with the women's event in Rome to start May 9, Spears has been practicing on Dr. Leland Housman's clay court at his Alvarado Estates home with Tatiana Panova, a Russian player who has an aunt who resides in San Marcos.
"She's getting better every day," said Willens of Spears.
Spears' game, with her flat, penetrating strokes, would not seem tailored for clay court tennis, which generally rewards players who are content to rally. Willens, however, said Spears' athleticism is enabling her to adapt to the clay. Her game is not unlike that of Monica Seles, who like her delivered ground strokes with flat trajectories, and Seles won the French Open three times (1990-92).
LOL that last sentence was totally unnecessary