Alexandra Cadantu - A matter of perspective
When it comes to the annual discussion of who is the worst Top 100 player in the year end charts, the name of 22 year old Romanian Alexandra Cadantu is probably heading the lists of most experts and fans around the globe. Things went quite unlucky for the French Open main draw debutant, drawing the eventual tournament champion Maria Sharapova in R1 of Roland Garros, the only Grand Slam played on her favourite clay surface. It should be the biggest day of her tennis career when she was scheduled to take on her idol on Court Chartrier and it all ended in a massacre.
For the first time in her career Alexandra Cadantu really was in the center of attention, unfortunately not the way she hoped to be. Not being able to get a single game on scoreboard, the young Romanian said 'Au revoir!' to the big stage in Paris. However, it's surely not the Grand Slam tournaments that helped Cadantu finishing this year opposed to many expectations in WTA Top 100.
No, Alexandra Cadantu is a special case and throughout her life the girl from Bucharest always loved to do things contrary to what experience tought us about a model career. Started playing tennis at the each of 5 learned by her dad, average junior career, a name among thousands. At the age of 18, America was calling and like her sister a scolarship for the states was beckoning. On last 10k tournament in Bucharest for fun and then the chapter professional tennis should be closed for a start. But as already mentioned, things never go the way you would expect them to be with this young lady, so it doesn't surprise at all that she ended up winning the tournament, getting a sponsor on her side and a new coach, Bogdan Popvici.
It was the beginning of a long-time ascendant barely seen to date on the WTA. From the edge of retirement, Alexandra Cadantu picked it up step by step, Top 500, Top 300, Top 200 and at the end of 2011, Top 100 for the fisrt time in her career. Enough reward for all the hard work she put in. It eventually payed off when she played her first Grand Slam main draw at the Australian Open.
But things should get even better. It was the end of February when Alexandra Cadantu stunned the whole tennis community one more time reaching her first WTA final in Monterrey, beating 4 Top 100 players on her way, on one of the fastest turfs the WTA has to offer. Needless to say that the young Romanian entered the tournament with a negative career record on Hard Courts. And even though she eventually fell to talented Hungarian Timea Babos, Alexandra made herself happy breaking into Top 70 for the first time in her career.
An overwhelmed Alexandra Cadantu for the first time surrounded by a crowd of enthusiast tennis fans
Taking advantage of her better ranking, Cadantu went far in many big clay ITF tournaments as well as winning a couple of matches on the WTA circuit on clay. It was enough to maintain her Top 100 ranking till the end of the year.
But the 22 year old tasted blood and she surely doesn't want to quit the tour too soon after having fought a hiatus of 5 years to eventually go there. To make a further step forward in the development of her game, she will have to train even harder and more professional. Therefore she ended the year splitting up in friendship with Popovici and has now a new formed coaching team of 3 on her side, headed by Artemon Apostu, supported by Adrian Gavrila and most noticeable, looked after by former ATP pro and world #148 Adrian Cruciat.
Alexandra Cadantu can look back on the best year of her career and she established her name among close tennis fans. Even more important, she is living proof that you don't have to follow a rulebook career to make it to the advanced top of the game. She chose the hard and winding way to do so and has formed a basis to build up upon. After all, it's a matter of perspective.