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View Full Version : Any stars on the horizon from an unlikely tennis country?


Jakeev
Apr 22nd, 2003, 09:29 AM
I was just scanning the FedCup website and I was amazed at the players that we have never or will never hear of competing in FedCup this year and from the past.

I am sure most don't know that there are players competing from places like Iceland, Malta and Nigeria.

I remember last year someone talking of a young girl from Fiji who had beaten veteran Aussie Rachel McQuillan in a exhibition.

Anyone remember her name? And does anyone know of a potential tennis star possibly rising from a country not known for producing tennis players?

~RedRose~
Apr 22nd, 2003, 09:33 AM
Yeh, I saw the Maltese player who is like 40 and has played in all Fed Cups since she was in her 20's ... but its just a hobby for her, and she is their No.1 player i believe.

In Malta, when my cousins went (I am Maltese) there was a hairdresser who was going to compete in the olympics for some sport :)

Jakeev
Apr 22nd, 2003, 09:47 AM
You are talking about Carol Curmi right? Is she in her 40's now?

~RedRose~
Apr 22nd, 2003, 10:16 AM
No .... Helen Asciak .... she is 40 this year.

she has played a total of 57 matches for Fed cup. W/L - 29/28.

Messenger
Apr 22nd, 2003, 12:39 PM
Yeh, I saw the Maltese player who is like 40 and has played in all Fed Cups since she was in her 20's ... but its just a hobby for her, and she is their No.1 player i believe.

Wow, good for her.

:)

pan
Apr 22nd, 2003, 02:52 PM
NEJSSA ETIENNE from haiti, ranked 481 in the world, played a nice first round at the olympic games in sydney, but i forgot to whom she lost...

Jem
Apr 22nd, 2003, 03:28 PM
I've always said one of the things that attracted me to tennis was the international flavor of it. I enjoy seeing players from smaller nations make a mark on the tennis scene. Dally Randriantefy from Madagascar, SElima Sfar from Tunisia, Karen Kschwendt from Luxembourg initially, the Moroccans, Alami, Arazi and El Aanoyoui, Zuluaga from Colombia. Hopefully, this will remain a part of the game.

Messenger
Apr 22nd, 2003, 03:35 PM
NEJSSA ETIENNE from haiti, ranked 481 in the world, played a nice first round at the olympic games in sydney, but i forgot to whom she lost...

Talaja, 6-0 6-1 or 6-1 6-0. But she was pretty young then.

Jakeev
Apr 22nd, 2003, 04:48 PM
I think Curmi is still competing too. At least they have her on that site under two different names. She is in her late 30s now I think.

Dava
Apr 22nd, 2003, 04:50 PM
The mens number one junior is from Cyprus! That suprised me.

BK4ever
Apr 22nd, 2003, 04:53 PM
Talking about Neyssa Etienne...does anyone know anything about her...I met her at the US Open one year and she was really sweet...

She has only played one tourney this year...i wonder if she decided to to to College

england_rules
Apr 22nd, 2003, 09:13 PM
Mandy Minella from Luxembourg

JonBcn
Apr 22nd, 2003, 09:26 PM
In mens tennis Markos Baghdatis of Cyprus will be huge.

pan
Apr 23rd, 2003, 09:55 AM
I've always said one of the things that attracted me to tennis was the international flavor of it. I enjoy seeing players from smaller nations make a mark on the tennis scene. Dally Randriantefy from Madagascar, SElima Sfar from Tunisia, Karen Kschwendt from Luxembourg initially, the Moroccans, Alami, Arazi and El Aanoyoui, Zuluaga from Colombia. Hopefully, this will remain a part of the game.


KSCHWENDT calls herself "european" - she played years for germany (with career-high-rank 37!) and changed then nationality to become austrian. but i never heard that she also played for luxembourg. :confused:

pan
Apr 23rd, 2003, 09:56 AM
Talaja, 6-0 6-1 or 6-1 6-0. But she was pretty young then.

oh, this is not that impressive... but you're right, i think she was 14 years old at that time.

Jem
Apr 23rd, 2003, 12:26 PM
Hi, Pan,

Yes, Kschwendt started out playing for Luxembourg and holds the honor of being the first from that country to reach the third round at Wimbledon. I don't remember the year, but she lost to Navratilova. I saw her playing FED Cup for Luxembourg in 1990 in Atlanta. At one point, she changed her nationality to German and then to Austrian, which I believe is how she was listed when she retired. Thanks.

auntie janie
Apr 23rd, 2003, 01:25 PM
I am interested to see what Sania Mirza (of India) will do -- she's off to an impressive start. :)

Rollo
Apr 23rd, 2003, 02:16 PM
Hi Janie;)

What can you tell us about Mirza? How old is she? If we could get a real top ten talent form an Asain nation other than Japan it would do wonders for the women's game. Think of all thart untapped potential in India and China!

Leena
Apr 23rd, 2003, 02:21 PM
The Madagascarian girls~!

Dally & Natacha Randriantefy, of course... and they have some young kid, who's name I can't remember. :p It's impressive that Madagascar has any girls, let alone 3 that play the tour...

auntie janie
Apr 23rd, 2003, 02:30 PM
Hi Janie;)

What can you tell us about Mirza? How old is she? If we could get a real top ten talent form an Asain nation other than Japan it would do wonders for the women's game. Think of all thart untapped potential in India and China!

The Rediff Interview/Sania Mirza
Sania Mirza: she dares to win
Nagaraj Gollapudi | February 04, 2003

http://www.rediff.com/sports/2003/feb/04sania.htm
(a couple of pics @ the site, too)

Sania Mirza is cool. She was cool when she paired with Leander Paes in the mixed doubles category at the 2002 Asian Games in Busan, South Korea. She was cool when she visited the troubled state of Pakistan when she was barely 14, to play her first ITF juniors' tourney in Islamabad, and then again as part of an Indian contingent for an under-14 ITF juniors event when the Indian Airlines plane was hijacked in Kandahar in 1999.

And now she is cool, sitting on the side lawns of the Sports Authority of the Andhra Pradesh tennis courts, talking about being paired with one of women's tennis ambassadors, Frenchwoman Mary Pierce, in the doubles category at the US $140,000 WTA Indian Open in Hyderabad.

As we talk about her maiden tourney in our neighbouring country, she says, "I have been thrice to Pakistan and every time the visit has been pleasant. But when the plane hijack happened we had to finish our games in two days and rush; it was scary during that time."

Dressed in off-the-court tennis gear after a morning training session, Mirza is busy getting up-to-date with her co-players, discussing opponents, strategies, and at the same time surprised at Isha Lakhani getting an upper hand over her opponent in her first round qualifier.

"Oh, she is winning," says Mirza, obviously delighted that her colleague is playing well.

Indeed, Mirza has always delivered that air of confidence without caring too much about the hype

"I have been lucky to have played with the likes of Leander -- and now with Mary Pierce. I hope to learn a few things from her [Pierce] as I did from Leander."

As tennis fans across the globe are overawed by the amazing talent of Paes, so is the country's top woman player.

"He is so fast on the court and so encouraging. And the best part is in spite of such a wide chasm between our achievements he makes you feel at his level."

Mirza believes the mixed doubles bronze at the Asian Games is the most important medal of her career thus far.

As her eyes move from court to court, scanning the matches of various qualifiers, our talk drifts to the WTA event in her own city, Hyderabad. Is it the most important event of her career?

"Well, I have played the Grand Slams... yes, but definitely this is my first instance of rubbing shoulders with the seniors... and that with some of the best in the game."

Mirza has not played active tennis since she won the National Games gold medal in December. She was at her peak then despite a minor ligament stress in her left knee.

"I played the best tennis during the National Games, especially from the quarter-finals onwards," she says.

Her 6-0, 6-0 brutal assassination of not-so-well Manisha Malhotra must have been one of the best victories.

"I really played well, but she was having fever," points out Mirza, hastening to add she too was tired and looking for a much-needed break after playing non-stop tennis for some eight months.

"I was very tired and needed a long break to re-coup."

Apart from a week's stint at the CGK Bhupathi Academy in Bangalore, Mirza has been cooling her heels at home.

One of the major events she skipped to relieve her work-stress was the Australian Open juniors.

"I will also not play at the French Open as clay is not my favourite surface. So I wouldn't like to compete there," she informs.

Sounds a nice strategy as it is better to concentrate on the strong points rather than struggle, dealing with the weaker ones. After Hyderbad, the Mirza caravan [she travels with her mother] moves to Doha. Then she plans to participate in a few ITF tournaments.

"I have planned nothing long-term and after Doha I would play a few ITF grade one tourneys where I can encounter the much-needed higher level of competition."

Indian women have always performed well on the ITF junior circuit but when it comes to the big league they are not up to the mark. Mirza, too, has not encountered the top players in the juniors and that remains a major predicament. But she doesn't seem bothered.

"I don't think I need to beat the top-25 to prove a point. I am playing at the top of my form. I just want to concentrate now on good events in the near future."

The burning desire in Mirza is certainly hot at the moment. In fact, she had made it clear in her last interview with rediff.com that her priority is getting into the professional circuit. The wild card she's received at the WTA Indian Open is just a mark of respect to her increasing potential. She feels staying for another year on the junior circuit may alter all her plans and, hence, is pulling all stops to march ahead.

Isin't it true that who dares, wins?

auntie janie
Apr 23rd, 2003, 02:38 PM
More on Sania:

She is 16 years old. She is ranked 415, but plays mostly in the Juniors, I believe. I call her India's Little Mo. :)

This week she is playing Fed Cup.

Jakeev
Apr 23rd, 2003, 05:54 PM
Mirza also won back to back satellite tournaments in Nigeria after stint in India. Kind of surprising she headed to Nigeria instead of playing in the events that are in India though.

Rollo
Apr 23rd, 2003, 06:12 PM
Thank you both for the information on Sania. Best of luck to her.

disposablehero
Apr 23rd, 2003, 06:19 PM
What exactly is an unlikely tennis country? You mean like Canada?

Xian
Apr 23rd, 2003, 07:27 PM
in two junior events a girl from Puerto Rico named Manijee Ashafri competed very well.

Madagascar has many talents right now who are competing in several junior tournies. btw Aina Rafalomanantsiatosika was Africas most promising junior but she hasnt played for a year any infos :angel:

Mette Iversen from Danmark impressed me at the Antalya Challenger (Semifinal)


I remember Helen Asciak cause Austria played Malta once in Fed Cup 1994:
Barbara Schett d. Carol Casar-Torreggiani 76 76 :eek:
Judith Wiesner d. Helen Asciak 60 60
Plischke/Schwarz-Ritter d. Camenzuli/Casar 60 60

¤CharlDa¤
Apr 24th, 2003, 02:09 AM
Well Aleksandra Wosnaik will be a very good player ofr Canada!!!

go hingis
Apr 24th, 2003, 06:21 AM
I make sure all my relatives know that there is a top Greek Tennis player. She is also from the same part of Greece that my mother is from, my mum came to Australia when she was 1 years old (how cute).
I havn't heard of any other greek players, apart from a guy that once played doubles with Eleni.

salima
Apr 24th, 2003, 07:03 AM
Sania Mirza is off course one of the most interesting young players in the world, but she does not come from an unlikely tennis country. Tennis is big in India, and India is huge. I would gess there are few countries in the world with more tennis players than Sania´s home country ;)

On the other end of the scale is the girl on the left of this picture,
Karoline Steiro, she is maybe not an obvious star material, but she is just turned 14, and she wins everything U18 in Norway, and that is an unlikely tennis country :wavey:

Jakeev
Apr 24th, 2003, 07:35 AM
Angelliki Kannelopoulou was the last decent player that came out of Greece. And currently, Christina Zachriadou is a consistent performer on the satellite and challenger events.

pan
Apr 24th, 2003, 10:51 AM
SELIMA from tunisia

pan
Apr 24th, 2003, 10:56 AM
Angelliki Kannelopoulou was the last decent player that came out of Greece. And currently, Christina Zachriadou is a consistent performer on the satellite and challenger events.


CHRISTINA PAPADAKI from athens/greece won 5 itf-events and played the wta-final in bogota in 99 (won the doubles there with NOORLANDER) and had a singles-career-high #72! she retired in 99.

auntie janie
Apr 24th, 2003, 12:16 PM
Sania Mirza is off course one of the most interesting young players in the world, but she does not come from an unlikely tennis country. Tennis is big in India, and India is huge. I would gess there are few countries in the world with more tennis players than Sania´s home country ;)

On the other end of the scale is the girl on the left of this picture,
Karoline Steiro, she is maybe not an obvious star material, but she is just turned 14, and she wins everything U18 in Norway, and that is an unlikely tennis country :wavey:

Yeah, I was wondering if I could get away with India as an unlikely tennis country, but let's face it -- it's an unlikely country -- so far -- when it comes to producing female tennis STARS, at least. :)

As for your pic of Karoline, from the unarguably unlikely tennis country of Norway -- she looks like a young Kim Clisjters! :eek: So maybe she does have great potential! :D

Jakeev
Apr 24th, 2003, 08:31 PM
I will have to check her stats but I think Angelliki was ranked much higher than Papadaki and had better results in her career.

Zummi
Apr 25th, 2003, 04:53 AM
India has not had female players of note since the 1920s & 1930s in the days of the Raj. Players like Irene Peacock & Billie Yorke come to mind.

Mirza might also be an unlikely story in that I think she is also from India's Muslim minority?? An Asian Muslim woman playing tennis at such a high level as a professional is quite rare. Save for Yayuk Basuki, I can't think of anyone else. But then, many of the top Indian players in recent years have come from religious minorities in India - the Amritrajs, Zeeshan Ali, Leander Paes etc. so perhaps Sania Mirza's story is not that uncommon...

There is a junior from Finland, Emma Laine. I don't know if she's already playing senior events but I've seen her name in the juniors.

And that player from Fiji - Rosalind Mary - who supposedly beat Rachel McQuillan. Was that a real story or was someone just making it all up? I've searched everywhere for anything about a "Rosalind Mary" but couldn't find anything. A 12-year old beating Rachel McQuillan should have been a big deal.

salima
Apr 25th, 2003, 05:36 AM
There is a junior from Finland, Emma Laine. I don't know if she's already playing senior events but I've seen her name in the juniors.


Emma Laine made her WTA debute in Nordea cup in Helsinki last year.
I have not seen her at ITF senior this year, but she is good enough.

rhz
Apr 25th, 2003, 06:18 AM
Besides Basuki and Mirza, i think Selima Sfar is Muslim too. i don't know for sure... what about Bahia M (Can't spell her last name) from Marocco??

Jakeev
Apr 25th, 2003, 11:05 AM
I'm wondering if Zummi is right. I have found but one article and that was from WTAStarz.com Oct. 15th, 2002 that says McQuillan lost to this girl 13-11 in a third-set tiebreaker.

The only quote is from a "fan from fiji" that was watching the match.

I mean I even went into some Fiji websites and there isn't even a peep about her. Some other woman, Archana Reddy, was the last player to compete for Fiji in FedCup

salima
Apr 25th, 2003, 12:19 PM
Besides Basuki and Mirza, i think Selima Sfar is Muslim too. i don't know for sure... what about Bahia M (Can't spell her last name) from Marocco??

your list will be very long. You must include most Indonesian and Uzbek players, players from Nigeria, Turkey, Kirgizistan, just look around!

tenis_lover
Apr 25th, 2003, 03:30 PM
is bolivia an unlikely tennis country ???

wongqks
Apr 25th, 2003, 04:47 PM
yes the hong kong girl called Cindy was bageeled by Obata ;) not surprising as Saori is top 100 player and Cindy is 15 years old and have no ranking :p

Peetz
Apr 25th, 2003, 05:00 PM
Mandy Minella from Luxemburg really impressed me,being ranked 784 and 17 years old.She beat Poutchek and really challenged Casanova one day later!

Zummi
Apr 25th, 2003, 05:44 PM
Besides Basuki and Mirza, i think Selima Sfar is Muslim too. i don't know for sure... what about Bahia M (Can't spell her last name) from Marocco??

You will notice I said "Asian Muslim" women. Tunisia & Morocco don't count :)

A side note: back in the 40s, Princess Ashraf Pahlavi of Iran was said to be a decent-enough player in her own right. She was quite active on the tennis scene in South Africa in the 40s, where she lived with her exiled father, Reza. She was invited to play at Wimbledon - either 1946 or 1947 I think - but her father, the ex-Shah, did not give her permission. She won the Sudanese championships one year and a few other titles. Most of her tennis memories were recorded in her 1980 autobiography.

I don't think there has been an Iranian tennis player of any note since unless you include the Iranian-American players, Lele Forood & Elly Hakami.