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Martinez quietly working back to elite level
By Jason York
August 19 2003
New Haven Register

NEW HAVEN — Conchita Martinez has reached a point in her tennis career where she can dispense with first-round pleasantries at a tournament.

She does not feel the need to take a lackadaisical approach; Martinez is all business.

Martinez routinely cut down qualifier Sobari Obata on Stadium Court Monday and rolled 6-2, 6-2 in the first round of the Pilot Pen.

"It was nice not to have many complications out there," Martinez, 31, said. "I think I played pretty serious today."

Martinez, seeded seventh, displayed many of the assets, sans a dominant serve, that have helped her capture 32 WTA Tour singles titles, including the 1994 Wimbledon championship.

Her forehand is still lethal, and she has always displayed a solid all-court game to compliment it.

Just over two years ago, Martinez was nearly forced to retire following an injury to her right Achilles tendon. She missed six months of WTA Tour play and watched her ranking plummet to as low as No. 35.

"I didn’t want to go with that ranking," said Martinez, who has been ranked as high as No. 3 in the world. "I did prove to myself that I can play at a high level (again)."

Following Monday’s win, she’s 27-15 this year, reached the quarterfinals of the French Open and is up to No. 12 in this week’s rankings. A strong showing at the Pilot Pen coupled with a good performance at the year’s final Grand Slam, the U.S. Open, could help Martinez finish the year inside the top 10 for the first time since 2000. She ended that year fifth in the rankings.

"I’m close now and that keeps me motivated to keep on going," said Martinez, who has twice advanced to the U.S. Open semifinals (1995, 1996) and once to the quarterfinals (1991).

Martinez, however, would like to have her first serve in better shape ahead of the U.S. Open.

"I feel like I’ve been working on it for years now," Martinez said half-jokingly of her serve. "It hasn’t really been working out great, but I still hope that one day it’s going to be out there."

While Martinez’s service woes didn’t hurt her against Obata, the Spaniard — who lives part time in San Diego — certainly will need her serve to be an asset next week. If her serve can produce some shorts balls for her to attack with her impressive forehand, a Cinderella run in the Flushing section of Queens is not out of the picture.

Could Martinez retire if she advanced to the quarterfinals? Semifinals? Final?

"Probably not," Martinez said. "That’s almost thinking about what the future is going to be. I don’t know what my head is going to think."

Besides, her body has been telling her that there’s plenty of good tennis left.
 

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I wonder if other players who retired look at conchita and have regrets.
 

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Cybelle Darkholme said:
I wonder if other players who retired look at conchita and have regrets.
Probably, but it takes a strong will to let your ranking drop so low and commit yourself to fight your way back to the top.

I have a lot of respect for Conchita for that. I hope she can get back to the top ten.
 

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Nice article but I have to say it does not show Conchi's fightback in full as it says she plummeted to as low as 35! well try 75 and u would be nearer the mark!!!

Oh and Conchi's highest ranking was number 2 not 3!!! (people selling Conchi short yet again!!!)

These people should get the little facts right about the person they are writing about!!

Saying all that

VAMOS the GREAT Conchi!!!
 
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