First of all, how are your shoulder and achille's tendon?
They're just fine, thanks. My achille's tendon was already healed by May, but then I injured my right shoulder, which kept me away from tennis for another five months, real bad luck, really. I'm now back to 100%, I can move and serve just like before, I have absolutely no physical problem left. Now what I need is as many matches as possible so I can get back in competition mode. I had two and a half months of preparation in a Swiss tennis academy, then three wins in Fed Cup last weekend, so everything's okay. Sure, I lost this match against Petkovic, but I have to give her credits, she played well and, most of all, managed to stay focused on important points without dropping her level. I'm feeling very positive anyway, I am playing pain-free and that is very important.
Being away from tennis for so long, did you miss playing on the SE WTA Tour?
Yes, I did, very much. And the most frustrating part was that I was doing very well when I got injured, I was ranked 20th in singles, which is my best ranking ever, and 4th in doubles. I was playing so well in the second part of 2008 that I can't help asking myself what would have happened to me if I hadn't been injured, this is hard. I guess I have to consider how lucky I've been before, playing for ten years without major injuries and expeiencig many great moments. I also realize this break helped me recharge my batteries, including when it comes to off-tennis things, so now that I am back, I feel like I have extra motivation and I want to give 150% on court. I'm starting to think that maybe it was a good thing, I enjoy life on tour even more now.
Why have you decided to use your protected rankings here at the Open GDF SUEZ?
I have eight tournaments I can play with protected rankings, this is only the first one. I thought it was better to use the opportunity here in Europe and not in Australia, where the Australian Open would have come too early after my comeback. By choosing the Open GDF SUEZ and then Dubai, Indian Well and other tournments and that way, the Grand Slam I can enter with my protected ranking, which is the French Open, will be the last in the series.
What is next for you now?
Hopefully I can be back in the top 100 soon and eventually, I want to be back in the top 50 and see what happens from there. But mostly, I'm seeing things match by match. I have a new coach, Jens Gerlach, who will be traveling with me on most of the tournaments I will play until the French Open. I'm also working with a physical coach who used to take care of Roger Federer. I have a lot of respect for them both and for their Swiss tennis academy, I don't think I could have a better team. Now all i'm hoping for is that our work will pay off and that I will enjoy some good victories.