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Fabunny
Aug 3rd, 2006, 11:27 PM
Pierce's still lofty goals: No. 1, Olympic medal
Plus: Barefoot Sharapova, Hingis, Capriati

By Matthew Cronin, TennisReporters. net

FROM THE ACURA CLASSIC IN SAN DIEGO – After another six months off in a career that has included plenty of long stints on the disabled list, one might expect the 31-year-old Mary Pierce to say that this season is her last.

But no such thoughts have entered the American-Frenchwoman's head. She's back and ready to defend her Acura Classic title and has no plans to retire.

Not only that, she's aiming for the heavens again and given how well she played last year when she reached two Slam finals as well as the Sony Ericsson WTA Championships final and finished the year ranked No. 4 (for the fourth time), there are few reasons to doubt her elite possibilities.

"I look at it two different ways," Pierce said. "My real core is to be the best I can be. That's tough because I think I can improve, but then you can look at specific goals and tournaments. The only thing I haven't done is been No. 1, made the final of Wimbledon or win it, and I don't have an Olympic medal, Those are the three things I want. They are very lofty goals, but I've done everything else."

In February, Pierce tore ligaments and hurt a bone in her foot at the Paris Indoors. She thought that she'd only be out for a little while. But it turned out that she would get another substantial stint in the trainer's room.

But, instead of spending her days considering life after tennis, which she did back in 2001 and 2002 when she couldn't shake back and shoulder injuries, she just waited for the healing to be completed.

"It didn't even cross my mind because at the beginning because I didn't think the injury was that bad and it didn't need surgery," she said. "In my mind I thought I don't know how long it will be, but I'll do my rehab every day and try to stay fit. It was kind of crazy and unexpected. Maybe it was a fatigue from all the playing and training and that I didn't have much of break from the beginning of the season to the start. It was a forced rest."

Outside of Martina Navratilova at 31, no recent woman's player has had a substantial impact the ripe old age of 30. Lindsay Davenport will soon face that challenge and Pierce is going up against it now. Currently ranked No. 9, Pierce is the oldest player in the Top 10 by a long shot.

"I still have the desire," she said. I wouldn't do it again if I didn't. My goals are still there. It's so funny, last year I was sitting here at the same time and being asked about my goals, they were like Whew! I want to be back in the Top 10 again, I want to qualify for WTA Championships again, and I did them."

Last year in San Diego, Pierce won her first major US hard court title. But then, she had a number of matches under belt. She has a decent draw here until the quarters, when she could face Maria Sharapova.

Speaking of Ms. Sharapova, she was full of light-hearted quips after her 6-4, 6-1 second-round win over fellow Russian Vasilisa Bardina.

Sharapova said she was a bit stunned when Bardina, an 18-year-old qualifier who also had a fine week at Stanford, began their warm-up by starting that the net. "Did she hit a volley all night? Sharapova asked.

Bardina also called for a trainer for a shoulder injury down 1-4 in the second set.

"She pulled all the tricks out of her bag except for the win," Sharapova said. "I don't know anything about her except that every time I see her dad, he walks barefoot. I love walking barefoot in the grass. I think that's cool."

So now, if Sharapova can get her father, Yuri, to kick off shoes, a new Russian trend could start.

"Yeah, like that's going to happen," Sharapova said with a laugh. "If that happens, I'm gone."

Martina Hingis also moved on, taking a 6-2 6-3 win over American Meilen Tu. For much more on Hingis, read my column on Foxsports.com. But here's a must read here on her relationship with her boyfriend, No. 9 men's player Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic.

How about Wimbledon, where Hingis lost in the third round and Stepanek reached the quarterfinals.

"Darn," she said with a laugh. "But I did better at the other two Slams."

Two decent-sized wins for non-seeds: Vera Zvonareva beat Ai Sugiyama and Elena Vesnina of Russia upended Anna-Lena Groenefeld. … The tournament sold out on Tuesday night. Venus and Serena who?

Hingis, who owns a home at Saddlebrook Resort in Florida, says that Jennifer Capriati still isn't hitting. She also said that former Saddlebrook resident Justine Henin-Hardenne hasn't trained in Florida in a long time.

Hingis was presented with the Acura Classic's Corina Morariu Comeback Award. "When (the court announcer) was talking all about my past and what I've achieved, it kind of reads like a fairy tale," Hingis said. “It's one part of my life, and then I was doing other things. Now I'm back here. I feel like a rookie more than a comeback."

The gentle and underrated Conchita Martinez, who owns a home in the area, was also honored. With Gaby Sabatini's induction into the Hall of Fame, Conchi is now a lock.


© TennisReporters. net 2006

mirzalover
Aug 3rd, 2006, 11:30 PM
i hope she gets all three of them but must likely she just get back in the top ten

DomenicDemaria
Aug 3rd, 2006, 11:40 PM
Good to see Mary has these goals! I would bever count her out and hopefully she can reach her form from last year!

borisy
Aug 3rd, 2006, 11:43 PM
So she'll play until 2008?

Zauber
Aug 3rd, 2006, 11:45 PM
American-frenchwoman
what a bunch of bull-shit.
She will twitch and twinch her self to a lot of early losses.
Another Canadian bites the dust.

Paul.
Aug 3rd, 2006, 11:46 PM
how fantastic is it to have those goals? i only hope she achieves them :)

hablo
Aug 3rd, 2006, 11:51 PM
American-frenchwoman
what a bunch of bull-shit.
She will twitch and twinch her self to a lot of early losses.
Another Canadian bites the dust.
:lol::tape:

goldenlox
Aug 4th, 2006, 04:03 PM
I thought Mary could get to #1 this spring.
The injury really set her back.
But she's an elite player

Lu_Weird
Aug 4th, 2006, 04:11 PM
American-frenchwoman
what a bunch of bull-shit.
She will twitch and twinch her self to a lot of early losses.
Another Canadian bites the dust.

Are you eating with your mouth?

Sund7101
Aug 4th, 2006, 04:12 PM
You can achieve anything Mary, way to set your goals high.

Carmen Mairena
Aug 4th, 2006, 04:12 PM
Mary!!! :eek: :woohoo: :bowdown: :inlove:

magassi
Aug 4th, 2006, 05:08 PM
Jenn still not hitting... bad sign...

Mark Spruce
Aug 4th, 2006, 05:50 PM
keep going Mary !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A'DAM
Aug 4th, 2006, 06:21 PM
You can do it Mary!!!!!!!

mauresmofan
Aug 4th, 2006, 07:20 PM
I believe she can do it - I thought up until last season that she could have the most brilliant moments and beat anyone and then she'd have a bad day but last season when she went on the most amazing run of form from May onwards made me rethink that. She can do whatever she sets her mind to because she has all the talent in the world to back it up and 31 is not that old for a tennis player - she could have 3 or more great seasons left in her.

Scotso
Aug 5th, 2006, 12:29 AM
Good luck, Mary... I'm glad she'll play a while longer.

wukenaihe
Aug 5th, 2006, 12:56 AM
Mary :bowdown: :woohoo: :rocker:

SAEKeithSerena
Aug 5th, 2006, 01:44 AM
best of luck to mary!!!!

fOxYLiCiOuS
Aug 5th, 2006, 02:57 AM
Allez Mary :hearts: :hearts:

Rtael
Aug 5th, 2006, 03:05 AM
Keep going Mary! ;)

delicatecutter
Aug 5th, 2006, 03:17 AM
This is great news!!

After seeing her match today, it was clear that she wasn't expecting that much of herself at this point. Queen Mary is just getting started!

BTW: Someone mentioned in a thread I read awhile ago that Mary is engaged?? Who's the lucky guy?

pav
Aug 5th, 2006, 07:44 AM
I know mary has had a hard time with all her injuries and is not getting any younger, but she does get in a bit of rest and repair between points :)