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bwguy
Jun 15th, 2002, 02:39 AM
Came across this article and thought you might like it. It was probably written prior to her knee injury so maybe she isn't even playing Eastbourne.

Tennis: Clarisa can stem Argentina's tears
by Mike Donovan

The kings are dead, long live the queen. That is what sports fans in Argentina are hoping for. A player from Corboda with a growing reputation is charged with restoring shattered Argentinian pride at Eastbourne.

While her country's footballers endure the aftermath of their shock World Cup exit, Clarisa Fernandez is preparing to make her debut at Devonshire Park.

Two weeks ago it would have been a case of Clarisa who? But a run to the French Open semi-finals has thrust this rangy left-hander into the spotlight.

When asked if she felt capable of helping stop Argentina crying for themselves she said: "I hope so."

The football-loving 20-year-old is well aware what her country's failure to qualify for the knockout stages of the World Cup means She said: "I feel sorry about what's happened to the footballers. It was a big surprise.

"There have been a lot of shocks in the World Cup. Look at France, the champions. And nearly Italy!"

Clarisa has followed the Cup as closely as possible, although she missed Argentina's match with Sweden while competing in the rain-hit DFS Classic at Birmingham this week. She said: "I had plenty of time to watch it because I was waiting for the rain to stop so I could play.

"But unfortunately there was nothing on Argentina. All the television showed was England against Nigeria!"

Clarisa believes having to play in tomorrow's qualifying rounds of the Britannic Asset Management Championships will help her deal with her increased responsibilities to Argentina.

She said: "It will be very different to playing in the semi-finals of the French Open but I feel the extra experience I will get from playing on grass will help me do better in the main draw.

"I had to qualify in my first Wimbledon last year and I did the same at the Australian Open. I believe I can win through the qualifying at Eastbourne. If I had gone straight into the main draw I would have got to play a tough opponent before I had got used to the surface because I am mainly a claycourt player.

"This way I hope I can go far and try and win the event."

Clarisa has never been to the Sussex coastal resort.

She said: "I am looking forward to it because other players tell me it is a good tournament."

When I informed her that her hotel would be overlooking the ocean, her face lit up. She said: "That sounds perfect."

Clarisa is certainly on the rise. Her exploits at Roland Garros catapaulted her from 87 to 34 in the world rankings.

She is inspired by Gabriela Sabatini, the last Argentinian female player to make an impression on grass.

"Gabriela was my favourite player and I got to meet her in Miami not that long ago. She is a very nice person."

Clarisa is fast learning how to take on the big names in tennis. Justine Henin, last year's Wimbledon finalist, struggled to beat her at Amelia Island in the United States in April.

Henin's Belgian compatriot, Kim Clijsters, was undone by her in Paris last week. It took the biggest name in women's tennis today, Venus Williams, to halt the Argentinian's express route to a Grand Slam final.

She said: "I surprised myself by reaching the semi-final. It was incredible.

"I served and returned very well against Clijsters. Venus played very well but she was world No.1 and it was my first time on a centre court.

"I was very nervous in the first set. I couldn't play but in the second set I started to play better. It was good experience."

She was feeling a little better than her country's footballers after the Swedes sealed their exit from the World Cup in the Far East this week.

She cites Diego Maradona and Gabriel Batistuta as her soccer heroes. But this young lady looks as though she may join Gorgeous Gaby in the hearts of her people for her tennis.

She aims to carry on winning them over at Eastbourne and dry a few tears.

Cassius
Jun 15th, 2002, 12:41 PM
Thats a nice article. I hope her injury isn't serious.

LucasArg
Jun 15th, 2002, 06:35 PM
Thanks for post it:wavey:

I prefer Clarisa not to play Eastbourne, even if her injury is not serious. She should stay healthy for Wimbledon ;)

Good Luck Clarisa, I hope you re OK:wavey:

Becool
Jun 16th, 2002, 05:04 AM
Even Clarisa is not supporting Brazil :rolleyes:

JK ;)

GO CLARI!

petite-dally
Jun 17th, 2002, 12:48 PM
Thanks for posting the article.HOpe she can follow Sabatini's steps and do well in Wimbledon.