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...though lately she has been practicing daily at her Sarasota home and says she is in better shape than when she last played on tour :hearts:

http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060112/COLUMNIST28/601120347

Seles inspired by Navratilova

Monica Seles isn't certain if she will play professional tennis again but there are players out there who give her hope.

Seles says she is following Martina Hingis' comeback attempt with interest. She watches the exploits of ageless wonder Andre Agassi with a sense of awe. Yet the player who motivates Seles the most lives only miles away from her home.

"Martina is such an inspiration," Seles said Monday night. She was talking about the original Martina, Martina Navratilova. She speaks reverently about the player who has won more titles than anybody who has played professional tennis.

"Martina has a heart of gold. As a child I grew up watching Martina. She was my idol," Seles said. "She still is even at my old age."

Seles celebrated her 32nd birthday a little more than a month ago and it has been nearly 21/2 years since has played competitively. She admits that the day is drawing near when she will have to decide whether she will attempt a comeback in the game she dominated during a stretch in the early 1990s.

At 32, some feel her window of opportunity has already closed.

But then there's Navratilova, who will turn 50 this year. Though she is recovering from recent knee surgery, Navratilova will still be playing tennis by the time her birthday arrives in October. And she will still be a threat to win doubles titles.

"I always thought that if I could have just 25 percent of her energy level ... well, that would be pretty good," Seles said. "Anybody who says that when you get older ... that you can't keep in shape ... well, she has proven that wrong."

The careers of Seles and Navratilova have been linked in several ways.

Fifteen years ago Navratilova returned from surgery on both knees to briefly prevent Seles, then a teenager, from rising to the No. 1 ranking in the world. Later that year, Seles beat Navratilova in the U.S. Open final to reclaim the No. 1 ranking, which she held until June 1993. The 17-year, 1-month age gap between the two players was the widest in Grand Slam final history.

It was early in 1993 when a win by Navratilova ended a 34-match win streak by Seles. In April that year, Seles was stabbed by a deranged fan of Steffi Graf. She didn't play again for 21/2 years, eventually losing the No. 1 ranking to Graf.

Seles came back in 1995 and won the first event she played. She went on to reach the U.S. Open final that year and again in 1996. But her only Grand Slam title since the stabbing was the 1996 Australian Open.

Navratilova retired in 1995, then returned to the tour in 2000 to play doubles. In 2002, after losing a bet with her trainer, Navratilova entered a singles tournament and beat Tatiana Panova, then ranked No. 20 in the world, to become the oldest woman (45 years, 8 months) to win a singles match on tour.

Navratilova had expected to play the Australian Open this month but is now rehabbing from arthroscopic surgery to remove loose particles in a knee she injured while practicing at The Oaks in November.

She had the knee drained before playing Hingis in an exhibition match that month. She tried rehabilitation but finally had surgery 10 days ago in Colorado. Dr. Richard Steadman, the renowned orthopedic surgeon who operated on Navartilova 15 years ago, performed the surgery.

"I was able to walk right away," Navratilova said. Saturday she hiked up a mountain in Aspen. Next week she will return to the courts for serious practice and she plans to be back in Sarasota to practice in the heat in about three weeks. During that time, she will help the Sarasota Sports Foundation kick off preparations for the "Serving Up A Slam Celebrity Classic" tennis tournament April 20-24 at the Longboat Key Club.

Navratilova hopes to return to the tour in Dubai in February.

Seles doesn't have any dates planned for a return to the courts. But she has been practicing daily at her Sarasota home and says she is in better shape than when she last played on tour.

"Ideally, it is the goal to come back and play," Seles said. "If it is realistic, I don't know any more. There has been so many ups and downs, I don't know myself what I can do."

When not rehabbing her foot and training for a game she doesn't know if she will ever play professionally again, Seles has spent time taking architectural classes, working with a private firm in Chicago.

"I really enjoy seeing what else I like and that is one of the things I have been interested in for a long time," she said. "I decided to try it. It is hard after not doing something like that. I said, 'OK, I am going to be a total beginner.' So far I have really enjoyed it."

Most tennis fans would like to see Seles make plans to design one last run in the game of tennis. If she needs any advice, Navratilova lives within driving distance.
 
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Reactions: Grice

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thanks for sharing :)

always happy to read sth about Monica :)
 
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Reactions: galadriel and Grice

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lovely article to start the morning.
we await your return to competitive tennis !!
 
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I've been reading a little about how athletic performance declines with age.

Turns out people only lose roughly 0.5% per year from their twenties onward in all sorts of things, from sprinting to endurance.

This suggests injuries and motivation are far more important than age is for Monica coming back. :)
 

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Thanks for the post!:)

Though this is the most resigned I've heard Monica on the subject of whether or not she'll play again professionally....:sad: . I just wish she'd shed a bit more light on the subject of what more she needs to do to feel she's ready! Is it simply a matter of her foot holding up?

Anyway, nice to hear about her somewhere!:worship:
 
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