Odense 20 nov 2008 R16: Arvidsson (64) 6-1 6-72 3-6
A new Krajicek is on the way up again
In the middle of Pete Sampras' Wimbledon era is one unknown Dutchman with a Wimbledon Trophy in his hands from 1996. Richard Krajicek not only sent home the reigning Wimbledon Champion from the quarterfinals, he went all the way and won his only Grand Slam tournament. Indeed, far from the green grass of Wimbledon are Arena Fynís red rubber mats. On the contrary, maybe theyíre not so far.
Because on Court 1, Wednesday afternoon, there appeared a girl with the familiar sounding name of Krajicek. And you can see thereís a family relationship because of her playing style. Big serves and heavy groundstrokes.
In Odense, itís being done with a more feminine touch than what we remember from big brother Richard. Michaelle Krajicek didnít need to put in as big an effort this Wednesday, because in front of a handful of spectators, the 19-year old Dutch woman secured a victory easily, 6-4, 6-2, against the English lucky loser Anna Smith.
Krajicek, who has gone through the qualifications with this win, has won four straight matches in a row. But it wasnít long ago that the Dutch teenager was among the worldís best players. In 2007, she played all four Grand Slam tournaments and earned a qualification to the quarterfinals in the prestigious Wimbledon. Since then, injuries have put the brakes on the storming teenís career. Just when her first knee injury had healed, her wrist began to teaser her. Most of 2008 was spoiled and her ranking meanwhile dropped from 30 to 219. But even though sheís faced hard times, Krajicek remains in good spirits. ĒThe fact that I have been out for a period has made me even more motivated. ĒThe 3 months that I didnít play tennis has taught me to appreciate being on the court and playing. It is a fantastic feeling to be 100% fit now, and to move freely without any problems on the court,Ē says the smiling Dutch after the match. It is clear that joy is the fuel in her engine. A clenched fist and a blink of the eye to her coach did not conceal that the Dutch is on her way back to the top of the tennis world.
And with the characteristic Krajicek style of playing, hard serves and heavy groundstrokes, it probably wonít be long before we see the Dutch back in the top 50 ranking. ĒI donít think much about my ranking. I take one match at a time, and try to enjoy it. If Iím well and Iím enjoying playing, that is what is most important. Even though itís the most fun to win.
ĒRight now Iím just happy that Iím playing. And here in Odense, itís going really well. Not least, the surface, which is serving me well.Ē
Michaella Krajicek will need to summon all her talents for her next game. She will face the winner of the next match between the German Andrea Petkovic and the second-seeded Swedish woman, Sofia Arvidsson.