Tennis writers often use the metaphor “tough day at the office” when describing a close loss. Typically, players are either ahead and lose concentration and blow a match point or two, or are upset by a lower ranked opponent and can’t get a good grip on the surface or ball, and lose by making a lot of errors.
And then there’s Sabine Lisicki, where the metaphor “got shot in the foot by her co-worker” might work.
Sabine came flying out of the gates displaying the strength, talent and passion that we all know she has. For me, patience and containment has always been key for Sabine. She has a maaaassive forehand, but she often overcooks it, or tries to end points to quickly and makes a bad error. Perhaps adapting her tactics to clay changed things, but she seemed perfectly content to get some tricky balls back into the centre of the court to then try and move back on to the offensive wing and go for some winners. It worked wonderfully. At one point she had 16 forehand winners to Bepa’s 0. And so she took the first set.
Even after losing the second set 7-5, she seemed very much in the match, continuing to play great defense and moving well. Then came the third…
Slowly, fatigue and dehydration started to creep in, and after blowing a match point, she was in need of serious treatment. The cramps in her legs were terrible, and she complained of not being able to see. It took everything in her to fight back tears and to continue on, up a game, but on serve 4-5 in the third. However, considering there isn’t a tiebreak in the third set, it was all but over.
She could barely reach the net to shake Vera’s hand, and then collapsed near her chair in agony. She then had to be taken off in a stretcher, hiding her face with her hand. Heartbreaking.
I’ve been trying to make my blog and tweets a bit more unbiased to appeal to more people, but I can safely say that I am a huge fan of Sabine, who not only has a huge forehand, but a generous heart and from everything I’ve heard, is one of the nicest and easiest going girls on tour. Even despite what seemed like a never ending injury spell, she put in the hard work at the end of last season to get fit and healthy. It’s a crying shame that problems continue to plague her.
Sabine showed today why she’s the real deal, and just came up short once again. I really think there’s a serious breakthrough coming for this girl that will awaken everyone’s eyes to her, maybe as soon as Wimbledon. Get well soon Sabine, the future of women’s tennis needs you.