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From The West Australian Newspaper:

<br />A little bit of Monica ... <br /> <br />By Dave Hughes <br /> <br />HOPMAN CUP XIV <br /> <br />SHE'S not a sex symbol. She hasn't won a Grand Slam title since 1996. She still grunts on court but no longer giggles off it. So how come she is the most beloved woman in her sport?

Simply because Monica Seles' greatest gift is overcoming tragedy. We all know of her mental struggle to overcome a madman's knife attack in 1993 and her astonishing run to the 1998 French Open final, just three weeks after the death of her father. We admire the way she rebuilt her career after a succession of injuries and her rapport with fans when she has every right be to a recluse.

We in Perth got a first-hand look at her poise in dealing with difficulty. At last year's Hopman Cup, a fan inadvertently breached security and tapped her on the back for an autograph. Did she perform like a traumatised prima donna, demand the bloke's arrest and insist on a doubling of bodyguards?

No, she forced a smile and signed.

That's why she's so popular. That's why the sessions in which she appears in Hopman Cup XIV will be well attended.

Tennis insiders also respect Monica. Not because she won eight out of the nine Grand Slam titles before Gunter Parche plunged a boning knife into her back just below the left shoulder blade during a tournament in Hamburg, Germany, in April 1993. Not because they wonder how many more she would have won during the following five years of Steffi Graf's domination. Not because they were outraged on her behalf when Parche received only a two-year suspended sentence. Not because she's a perennial top-10 player, despite all of the setbacks.

They respect her because she's a decent person.

In his book Hard Courts, author John Feinstein tells the story of Teddy Tinling's memorial service in 1991. Tinling was not only a spy for British Intelligence in World War II but the foremost historian and dress designer in tennis, chief player liaison officer at Wimbledon and the most vociferous proponent of equality for women's sport. On the day before Wimbledon began, Feinstein was an usher at the service at St James Church in London.

"We were told to leave four rows empty near the front of the church so that there would be seats for the players," he wrote. "Chris Evert, who was one of the speakers, arrived. Pam Shriver, out injured, also showed up. Virginia Wade, the 1977 Wimbledon champion, was there. Three long-time tour players, Kathy Rinaldi, Jill Hetherington and Candy Reynolds, showed up.

"But at 3pm, when the service was scheduled to start, that was it. I was angry. Sure, Wimbledon was starting the next day, but most of the women wouldn't play before Tuesday. And even so, they could have given up an hour for Ted. Where was Capriati, for whom he had made a birthday present while practically on his deathbed? Where was Graf? Where the hell was Billie Jean King? They had all found excuses not to show up.

"And then, as I was about to sit down, I looked up and there was Monica Seles. She had fought her way through the tabloid press that was congregated outside and made it into the church. As much as any of them - perhaps more - she could have found an excuse not to come. But she was there."

Now she's here for the second year in succession, teaming up with Jan-Michael Gambill to try to achieve the US's second win under the translucent Dome at Burswood. She barrels into Perth with a world ranking of nine and momentum on her side, having won her last three tournaments of the year.

Seles does not think her days of winning Grand Slams are over. The Hopman Cup will help her prepare for the Australian Open, the only major she has won after the knifing and her subsequent 27-month absence from tennis. Seles justified her top seeding in Melbourne in 1996 to beat Anke Huber in the final, her fourth Australian Open title in four tries.

With wins over Jennifer Capriati, Martina Hingis and Serena Williams during a 10-day period in the middle of the year, Seles knows she is still a contender. Like Capriati - whose problems were self-inflicted - she plays with the urgency of one who has seen time squandered.

"Different things that have happened in my life gave me a different outlook, and taught me that you should really do what you love to do," she said in a recent interview with Tennis Match magazine.

"What I really love to do is hit a tennis ball. I love it in practice. I love it in an exhibition, in a match. I always wanted to go out and win every single match I ever played, and I still do, but my real love is just hitting the ball.

"In the end, that's what keeps me going."

<br />December 28, 2001

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Thanks for the article!<br />I really hope she does<br />good this year as well as<br />Martina Hingis.

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<img src="smile.gif" border="0"> thanks for posting this article

<img src="graemlins/kiss.gif" border="0" alt="[Kiss]" /> for monica

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594 Posts
Good article, thanks for sharing it.<br />Always liked Monica's game, and attitude, and I sincerely hope she has a sucessful 2002 season.

Go Monica! <img src="graemlins/bounce.gif" border="0" alt="[Bounce]" />
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