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View Full Version : Maureen Drake: "I Can Still Compete"


CoryAnnAvants#1
Mar 9th, 2008, 04:09 PM
She'll be 37 next month, but Toronto's Maureen Drake, a tennis professional since 1991, has no plans to retire.
Tennis may have quit on her at times, but she won't quit it.
Last weekend, Drake even competed in an over-35 ITF senior women's event in Toronto, faithful coach Trust Chen Pow in tow. Former Davis Cuppers Karl Hale and Andrew Sznajder also competed in the event, but it's a rare occurrence on the women's side.
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Toronto's Maureen Drake, serving in the 2003 U.S. Open, has always done things her way. After being out of the sport, the 37-year-old would like to again qualify for the U.S. Open.

"It was kind of funny. They made a huge deal out of it," said Drake, who was approached by tournament director Irwin Tobias back in December. "I love to play, so why not? It's here in Toronto, and I'm not really travelling."
Yes, Drake lost a game. But only one, in three matches as she cruised to the title. There was a little prize money, though it's probably equivalent to one day's per diem at Wimbledon.
Drake had basically turned the page on singles a year ago. But suddenly, she got the itch again. She played in the qualifying of a $50,000 event in Vancouver last July, won her three matches, and made it to the quarterfinals of the main event.
"I surprised myself, because I hadn't been playing singles," she said. "Or maybe it was watching the (2007) U.S. Open. Sometimes you watch and you say, 'I'm so glad I'm not playing.' But that didn't happen."
Drake began working with Tennis Canada fitness coach Dennis Lindsay in December, and entered the qualifying of a $75,000 tournament in Midland, Mich., earlier this month. She won two rounds before losing to Canadian Sharon Fichman 6-4 in the third set.
Sounds good, but it moved her ranking from No. 697 to No. 659, and won her exactly $382.
So the problem is twofold. First, her singles ranking prevents her from getting into anything but the lowest-tier events. Secondly, there aren't any in Canada, so the cost of travelling to play them, in an attempt to build her singles ranking back up, is a major stumbling block.
Drake has won $780,000 in her career, which began in 1991. You might live on that, but you don't have the travel and accommodation expenses of a touring pro.
Then again, Drake has always done it on her own.
"I never had any coach on the tour with me, always travelled by myself, although it would have been nice," she said. "I had no sponsors or financial backing, but I was able to cover my expenses, usually ending up on the plus side, more often than not."
The WTA Tour is also tightening up the rules on tournament entries, computer points awards, and even doubles eligibility.
"I still think I can do it. I don't know about top 100, but my goal was to try to make top 250 and to make the U.S. Open qualifying this year," Drake said. "I would like to play a couple of tour events in July, in Slovenia and Stockholm. But do I really want to grind it out for three rounds in a $25,000 Challenger?"
In the meantime, Drake is teaching at the Greenwin Tennis Club in Toronto. It will take a lot of lessons, at $62 per hour, to buy those plane tickets.
Drake's story would make a powerful movie. Her father, August Koprivnik, coached her until she was 14 and travelled with her for several years after that.
"I didn't have a good support system growing up; my dad was so negative with me, abusive and stuff," she said. "Is it really worth it to screw up your kid over a tennis ball?"
She was an emotional, self-destructive player on the court in her younger days, and she didn't get much support from Tennis Canada, either.
These things can be a little political; ask Greg Rusedski.
They even made her play the qualifying at the Canadian Open in 1999 even though she was ranked No. 52, and the top female player in Canada.
"I was never in Tennis Canada's good books. I didn't kiss their ass," Drake said.
She spent years searching for that positive mentor, that role model. A decade ago, she thought she found it in Miami with a Jamaican brother-and-sister team; she was a failed former player, he a failed former sprinter.
"I wondered, 'Are you trying to help me, or help yourself?' " Drake said. "They pushed me so hard, but for their own needs. A lot of pressure came with it. I couldn't deal with it. I couldn't have a life."
There was a broken engagement to a Moroccan teaching pro in 2005. And now, perhaps a final comeback.
Who knows? Drake has always been a late bloomer. She reached her singles high of No. 47 at the relatively advanced age of 28. And her best doubles ranking, No. 77, came at age 35.
There are no regrets.
"I've been doing it since I was five, and I knew I wanted to be a pro at 14," Drake said. "There was never a question in my mind. Never. I love the travelling, and love the playing.
"I've been fortunate. No injuries, some good results," she added. "I don't plan my life. I'll continue teaching, and see what the next move is.
"I still can compete with those young players. I just have to get in better shape, work on movement and explosion."
smyles@thegazette.canwest.com

Uranium
Mar 9th, 2008, 04:12 PM
i remember she took a set off Vee at Wimbledon one year:hearts:

Vincey!
Mar 9th, 2008, 04:13 PM
Maureen :rocker2: :lol:

Slumpsova
Mar 9th, 2008, 04:15 PM
when will Maureen Drake get rid of this stupid sunglasses? :o

Willam
Mar 9th, 2008, 04:27 PM
when will Maureen Drake get rid of this stupid sunglasses? :o

Never! :rocker2:

Maureen Drake to Qualify for US OPEN 2008 :rocker2:

disco_rage
Mar 9th, 2008, 04:31 PM
Go Maureen! Someone give her some wildcards! Lol.

hingis-seles
Mar 9th, 2008, 04:32 PM
I love Maureen Drake. How amazing would it be to see her manage to make it to the US Open qualies?

Highlandman
Mar 9th, 2008, 04:34 PM
when will Maureen Drake get rid of this stupid sunglasses? :o

She didn't wear them recently :p ;)

Randy H
Mar 9th, 2008, 04:37 PM
Maureen :hearts: Hopefully she can get into some more events and have the chances to boost back her singles ranking again. I saw her play in November and she was still hitting the ball well. Movement has never been her strength and she will need to get her fitness level back up a bit more, but there's no doubt she can get her ranking higher than where it is now with a good schedule. Not sure top 250 is quite there, but you never know :) I still think she can be top 100 doubles though :)

Drake1980
Mar 9th, 2008, 04:46 PM
Wow!:eek:
This is exciting news. I really hope she does comeback full force. She's going to have to start playing these Challengers though and doing lots of travelling so we will see how it goes.

Sally Struthers
Mar 9th, 2008, 05:24 PM
I think she means she can still compete with Bethanie Mattek for worst dressed on the tour.

polishprodigy
Mar 9th, 2008, 05:27 PM
Great spirit Maureen. We all know you can do it :)

Willam
Mar 9th, 2008, 05:27 PM
I think she means she can still compete with Bethanie Mattek for worst dressed on the tour.

Go Home Sally :ras:

Bethanie Rocks :rocker2:

Sally Struthers
Mar 9th, 2008, 05:28 PM
Go Home Sally :ras:

Bethanie Rocks :rocker2:

I find her outfits to be very entertaining. But they're still hideous :lol:

Shvedbarilescu
Mar 9th, 2008, 06:42 PM
The best sign of a great competitor is an athlete who refuses to give up and listen to all logic that their career is over.

I think she is completely crazy. And for that she has my utmost respect. :worship:

I sincerely wish her the best although I'd be lying if I said I was optimistic. Still you gotta do what your heart tells you to do.

Willam
Mar 9th, 2008, 06:59 PM
The best sign of a great competitor is an athlete who refuses to give up and listen to all logic that their career is over.

I think she is completely crazy. And for that she has my utmost respect. :worship:

I sincerely wish her the best although I'd be lying if I said I was optimistic. Still you gotta do what your heart tells you to do.

I hope she can a have a good comeback :)

kiwifan
Mar 9th, 2008, 09:20 PM
I think she means she can still compete with Bethanie Mattek for worst dressed on the tour.

:tape: I came into this thread just to post this same sentence.

WhatTheDeuce
Mar 9th, 2008, 09:53 PM
LOL. Good luck to her.

RJWCapriati
Mar 9th, 2008, 09:55 PM
Maureen is a very nice woman, she is kind enough to send me messages periodically on myspace. She recently played Qualifying in Midland but lost after 2 rounds and recently won a 35+ singles tournament.

CrossCourt~Rally
Mar 9th, 2008, 10:26 PM
:worship: :cool:MO :cool::worship: i will never forget the first time i saw her play live. She was pushing Venus really hard in the 3rd round of Wimbledon. She had these cool spacey looking sunglasses :cool::lol::worship:.

Ps, look at her current ranking on WTAtour.com...:eek:. I hope thats not an omen :lol::p

A Magicman
Mar 9th, 2008, 10:33 PM
She should come back with Helen Kelesi in the doubles! :rocker2:

raquel
Mar 9th, 2008, 11:42 PM
Go Mo! ;) :yeah: I hope she keeps playing as long as she enjoys it.

And if Tennis Canada wasn't too grateful to have Maureen on their side then that's their bad for not realising that Maureen was the best they had. They'll appreciate her more when she does eventually retire ;)

danieln1
Mar 9th, 2008, 11:55 PM
I remember her match against Venus at Wimbledon, and she was fierce! I would like her to come back

RJWCapriati
Mar 10th, 2008, 12:46 AM
:worship: :cool:MO :cool::worship: i will never forget the first time i saw her play live. She was pushing Venus really hard in the 3rd round of Wimbledon. She had these cool spacey looking sunglasses :cool::lol::worship:.

Ps, look at her current ranking on WTAtour.com...:eek:. I hope thats not an omen :lol::p

eeeek!! 666

azza
Mar 10th, 2008, 05:44 AM
hahahaha i hope she makes a hektic comeback

DimaDinosaur
Mar 10th, 2008, 06:56 AM
What a sad, sad story. I hope she wins the US Open and slaps Tennis Canada in the face. And slap her dad for abusing her, that piece of corn!

galadriel
Mar 10th, 2008, 11:54 AM
Maureen :hug: