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May 8th, 2008, 02:25 PM

Jana Novotna to renew rivalry with Martina Hingis at Liverpool International tennis tournament May 7 2008

by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo (http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/)
JANA NOVOTNA was called many things throughout a celebrated career at the very pinnacle of world tennis.
She was labelled an artist, a champion, a throwback – even, cruelly, a choker.

But after her installation into the tennis Hall of Fame in 2005 she is now officially classed a tennis legend.
But there’s one word she doesn’t want attached to her name.

“I don’t mind all that,” she laughs. “As long as they don’t call me a senior!”

Chivalry prevents a man printing a lady’s age. Suffice to say the Czech star who graced tennis courts for more than a decade with her artistry and elan hasn’t yet become a forty-something.

And she still keeps herself in shape ahead of this summer’s visit to the Liverpool International.

She spoke to the Echo straight after a training run in 28 degree heat in Florida, and said, in a voice described by Serena Williams as “the sweetest I’ve ever heard”, “I’m really looking forward to visiting Liverpool.

“I’ve heard a lot about the event and I love playing tennis in England period. I love the tennis fans over there and while I’ve heard Liverpool people are more passionate about football than tennis, that’s okay. I’m a big football fan myself and I love it when the crowd get involved in a tennis match. I don’t mind them shouting ‘Come on Jana’ and hopefully there will be plenty of that at Calderstones Park!

“I have high expectations of Liverpool and I can’t wait.”

Since retiring from the pro circuit almost a decade ago, after winning Wimbledon in 1998, Novotna has become a regular performer on the legends circuit.

“I still love playing and I keep busy playing plenty of exhibitions,” she added.

“I’ll be spending quite a bit of time in England this summer, doing commentary for British Eurosport, going to Liverpool and, of course, defending my Wimbledon Seniors title which I’ve won five times in a row now!”

Grass has always been Novotna’s favoured surface, and even a public park in a city centre sends a tingle of anticipation through her.

“It was always too bad we didn’t have more grass events on the circuit,” she said.

“I always played Birmingham, Eastbourne and, of course, Wimbledon. For many different reasons it was always my favourite.

“I’ve played in a public park before and actually I like it. It’s a very different atmosphere, more relaxed and I’m looking forward to it.”

The visit to Liverpool will see Jana renew an old rivalry with Martina Hingis, the girl who beat her in the 1997 Wimbledon final.

“I haven’t seen Martina since the US Open last year,” she added. “I’ve tried to keep in touch but it can be difficult. It’s been a difficult year for her and she’s trying to adjust.

“It will be like going back in time playing her again and I’m sure we’ll both enjoy it.”

So, too, will the Merseyside tennis fans.

The tournament runs from June 10 to 15 and tickets are on sale now.

May 8th, 2008, 03:57 PM
Jana was always able to counter Hingis' court craft. They were both incredibly intellegent players, cant wait to see it! Lets just hope Hingis doesn't try to snort the tramlines! (Sorry, but u knew it was coming, and if I didn't say it then someone else wud have so I saved them the bother - go hingis!)

May 8th, 2008, 05:02 PM
Novotna = the last true grasscourt player to grace a tennis court. :worship:
Thanks for the article.

May 9th, 2008, 12:38 AM
I miss Jana. I truely think she retired too early. Yes, her injury back in 1999 was terrible, but she could have recovered... And her net game was still superb!

May 9th, 2008, 12:39 AM
What rivalry?

May 9th, 2008, 12:44 AM
What rivalry?

At Wimbledon specifically, Hingis beat Jana in the 1997 final and Jana beat Hingis in the semis in 98 to go on to win her 1 GS singles title. They had other big matches though.

May 9th, 2008, 12:47 AM
What rivalry?

Exactly, what rivalry. Navratilova always say "We have 80", referring to H2H with Chrissie.

May 9th, 2008, 02:52 AM
Novotna = the last true grasscourt player to grace a tennis court. :worship:
Thanks for the article.

Amelie Mauresmo is quite good on grass, her style of play suits her well on grass... Lindsay + the sisters are also phenomenal on this surface

May 9th, 2008, 06:15 AM
Amelie Mauresmo is quite good on grass, her style of play suits her well on grass... Lindsay + the sisters are also phenomenal on this surface
Mauresmo perhaps, the others just play like on hardcourt. Novotna was the last one to play the real grasscourt style. Of course, Wimbledon grass is like a low bouncing clay nowadays.

May 9th, 2008, 08:02 AM
yesss soon the tournament event in 1 month :bounce::bounce::bounce::bounce:

go martina go

go hingis
May 9th, 2008, 11:48 AM
Go Martina, I hope she gets a warm welcome.