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spiceboy
May 1st, 2007, 12:25 PM
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20070430.TEBBUTTSIDE30/TPStory/Sports

Top young Canadian takes a break

TOM TEBBUTT

Canada's top female junior prospect is on a hiatus from tennis.

Sharon Fichman of Toronto decided last month, after a tournament in Orange, Calif., to take a break from competition.

"She's been competing since she was about seven years old and I think it sort of took its mental toll," said her father, Bobby Fichman. "She became very restless on the court and couldn't execute her game plan because of mental fatigue, nerves and all that. She's working on a few things and, hopefully, at the beginning of July [in Hamilton] she's going to go back and compete full-time while she works out her issues."

Fichman, 16, continues to train regularly. No. 5 in the world under-18 rankings at the start of 2007, she had been playing mostly entry-level professional events to improve her WTA Tour ranking, No. 469.

Winner of the 2006 Australian and French Open junior doubles titles with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia, Fichman may opt for a U.S. college tennis scholarship after she finishes high school next year.

"If she can have some good results over the summer against top players, at that point she would definitely be pursuing the professional career," her father said.

"However, if her ranking is not going to get in the top 200 by the end of the year, I don't really see the point in trying to go on a professional career. By the age of 17, if you're not in the top 200, the chances are you can't really make it professionally. At that point, my suggestion - and she's making her own decisions - would probably be to pursue a scholarship."

Fichman, whose feisty temperament helps compensate for her being only a few inches taller than five feet, seems to be thriving during her break.

"As a parent," Bobby Fichman said, "I honestly think she's a lot happier now than she was when she had to put it on the line every week."
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ptkten
May 1st, 2007, 04:36 PM
Well, I'm glad that some tennis player seems to have a father with a head on his shoulders. No sense in burning someone out at age 16.

hammerhead
May 1st, 2007, 04:48 PM
Refreshing to see for a parent involved in tennis - realistic, providing support and guidance, but letting the young adult make the decisions.

Randy H
May 1st, 2007, 05:07 PM
Pleased to see her father is doing the right thing and letting Sharon do what she feels is best for her right now - I do hope though that they give it more time than the end of the year to crack top 200 if necessary though - She's still only 16 and will not turn 17 until December so she's limited to the events she can play - That alone makes it tougher to move up the rankings, but she's also still lacking the experience of playing a lot of pro level events. When I last saw her, that was what stood out to me was the experience difference on the important points, just bringing a little more focus, and maintaining the right gameplan. She can be top 200, but I feel like end of this year might be too soon, I'd rather see her try it out until end of 2008 and then see where she stands. She'll have just turned 18, and then she can assess what is the best option for her between college scholarships or going pro.

I also hope she plays some more doubles, she's got a nice doubles game and a personality that works great too because she's a leader and a fighter :) I definitely think with the right partner she can go far

¤CharlDa¤
May 1st, 2007, 11:47 PM
On the other hand, Sharon's father might seem very level-headed, but right now, if Sharon is stopping, it's mostly cause of the pressure that was put on her, and that includes her parents.

I think they are expecting too much too fast. If everyone that wasn't top 200 at 17 would stop playing, a lot of players with awesome careers wouldn't be seen anymore. Especially because Sharon's game is the type that could take a while to develop.

Sharon is such an awesome and sweet girl. And very talented. On court it wasn't working well, and offcourt wasn't going awesome either, so she prefered taking a break and sorting things out which proves a lot of maturity.

I personnally just wish Sharon was the one who did the interview and not her dad. I don't think we have the right image of what is going on here.

auntie janie
May 2nd, 2007, 10:36 PM
I personnally just wish Sharon was the one who did the interview and not her dad. I don't think we have the right image of what is going on here.

That's a good point, we only have the story from the Dad's perspective. I could be reading this wrong, but in his comments, I feel pressure -- Sharon's really got to get in the top 200 by such and such a time, or else she ought to bag the pro Tour. That's not pressure? :o

On the other hand, maybe Sharon's break includes wanting a break from talking to the press. So maybe she preferred that her Dad speak to them for now. :angel: We just don't know.

In any case, best of luck to her. She's such a likable kid; I hope this break will allow her to recharge her batteries and come back enthusiastic and eager to do battle on the courts.

spiceboy
May 3rd, 2007, 11:55 AM
The thing is that she is just 16 and already top 500 having played just 7 tournaments!!

I don't think that's bad at all :tape:

Morgan Z
May 3rd, 2007, 08:24 PM
Exactly! Plus saying that "By the age of 17, if you're not in the top 200, the chances are you can't really make it professionally" is making things look way more difficult than they actually are. Yeah, maybe you won't crack the top 10, but you definitely have a great chance of making a living out of the sport!

But it's great to see a father not pushing a young player and letting her make her own decisions. :worship:

¤CharlDa¤
May 4th, 2007, 03:31 AM
Knowing Sharon, I don't think she even gave him the option of NOT letting her choose ;)

Randy H
May 4th, 2007, 04:05 AM
The thing is that she is just 16 and already top 500 having played just 7 tournaments!!

I don't think that's bad at all :tape:

Exactly, she's played such a limited amount of tournaments at pro level, but she's won a 10k challenger, she's competed well against some solid top 200 veterans - As I said, the difference has been the experience level and you can only improve on that area by playing more tournaments and more matches.

Sharon's a perfectionist, she's such a hard worker and she really makes the most out of herself. She's a small girl, but she's incredibly fit, and she's got a nice game that has variety. I'm sure some of the pressure is both from herself and from outside sources. When you're a top junior like Sharon's been from such a young age (winning U12 Orange Bowl, top in Canada, top 10 internationally), it's tough to start out at pro events not always finding yourself in quarters, semis etc. but the expectations are there for things to translate automatically, and that immediate transition just isn't realistic for most players. That doesn't mean that they can't have solid careers as pros though...Players like Sharapova and Vaidisova who go straight to pro success almost immediately are so rare to find, and I think a lot of junior players feel pressured to produce like that. The important thing is to do things at your own pace, not try and follow a pattern of progress that is someone else's and I feel like a lot of the adults around these girls need a better understanding of that!

There's such a fine line really because on one hand you want players to understand that they do have to be realistic of all possibilities, because there are no guarantees as a professional. At the same time though, you don't want to discourage a player from really giving themselves a shot at it when you know there is something there in them.

auntie janie
May 4th, 2007, 08:29 PM
You know what, the more I think about it, the more I like this break. In fact maybe Dubois and Wozzy (not saying they're juniors, but since we're talking about a young Canadian player) should consider taking one, too. It's like they've all run into the same wall this season. :sad:

kittyking
May 6th, 2007, 01:02 AM
"By the age of 17, if you're not in the top 200, the chances are you can't really make it professionally"



Thats absolutely pathetic, plenty of pro players only first reached top 200 when they are 18-20

¤CharlDa¤
May 6th, 2007, 02:43 AM
You know what, the more I think about it, the more I like this break. In fact maybe Dubois and Wozzy (not saying they're juniors, but since we're talking about a young Canadian player) should consider taking one, too. It's like they've all run into the same wall this season. :sad:

But Aleks' and Steph's problems this year really come from different places.

Aleks' dad always was so important for her, a mentor in her career, her coach, and she stopped that at the end of last year and early this year. Now she has trouble adjusting to it which is perfectly normal.

Steph did have a lot of confidence issues. She has worked a lot on her game and changed a few things. But in match play, she is just scared. She has new weapons, but always goes back to her former bad habits. She did seem kinjda burnt out in late January, but she took some time off tennis, with her family and friends, rebuilt her confidence, then went on to train hard and rebuilt her game, and she has been on the right track since. I'm not worried for my Ninou!

auntie janie
May 7th, 2007, 12:04 PM
But Aleks' and Steph's problems this year really come from different places.

Aleks' dad always was so important for her, a mentor in her career, her coach, and she stopped that at the end of last year and early this year. Now she has trouble adjusting to it which is perfectly normal.

Steph did have a lot of confidence issues. She has worked a lot on her game and changed a few things. But in match play, she is just scared. She has new weapons, but always goes back to her former bad habits. She did seem kinjda burnt out in late January, but she took some time off tennis, with her family and friends, rebuilt her confidence, then went on to train hard and rebuilt her game, and she has been on the right track since. I'm not worried for my Ninou!

Thanks for the inside information, CharlDa. :kiss: I hope they can both get on track soon, or at least when the summer hardcourt season starts. Best of luck to them as well as to Sharon. :)

¤CharlDa¤
May 14th, 2007, 05:59 AM
People who know me know I love inside info :lol: Nah but seriously Sharon is an awesome kid and she deserves the best!

auntie janie
Jun 11th, 2007, 03:47 PM
I just noticed Sharon's name on an ITF entry list - the Edmond, Oklahoma 10K, starting two weeks from now. :banana: I hope she'll play. And not worry about specific ranking goals, just go have fun out there. We missed ya, kid. :D

¤CharlDa¤
Jun 11th, 2007, 07:20 PM
We do miss her and I hope she comes back then really.