Injured Czech confident she will check in for tomorrow's opening round
Monday, 9 January 2006
Lucie Safarova is confident she will make her debut at the Richard Luton Properties Canberra International today, despite not training yesterday afternoon because of injury.
The 18-year-old Czech arrived in Canberra yesterday tired and suffering from a strained leg muscle after winning her third WTA title on Saturday at the Gold Coast.
But she hoped to get plenty of rest overnight in order to be fit and ready for today's first round.
"I will see how it feels tomorrow morning, I will try to practice and I hope to play here," Safarova said.
"It's always good to play matches before the Australian Open, but if I'm not 100 per cent ready then it would be better to give my leg some rest and get ready for the Australian Open."
If Safarova does decide to withdraw this morning ahead of her clash with Australian wild card Shayna McDowell she will be the third high-profile player to be forced out of the Canberra International due to injury.
Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli, who was to be the second seed, informed organisers yesterday morning she would not be competing in Canberra due to a hip-flexor injury, while Jelena Dokic pulled out on Thursday with an adductor injury.
It would be a massive blow for the Canberra International if Safarova was to remain on the sidelines.
The 18-year-old is in the best form of her career, blasting past world No7 Patty Schnyder and world No19 Dinara Safina on her way to the Australian Women's Hardcourts title.
The victory catapulted Safarova's ranking to 35 in the world and experts are predicting she could break into the top 20 or even top 10 by the end of 2006.
Safarova, who won two Tier 4 events last season at Estoril and Forest Hills, said the title was a perfect way to kick off the year.
"I'm very happy the start went so well, and I hope that it carries on into other tournaments as well," she said. Safarova is the second-highest ranked player in the Canberra International, after the Bartoli's withdrawal.