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Shvedova Comes Full Circle At Roland Garros

Two years after reaching the French Open quarterfinals, Yaroslava Shvedova is back in the last eight, with a new coach and a new outlook.

Published June 05, 2012 03:11

Shvedova Comes Full Circle At Roland Garros
Yaroslava Shvedova
If Friedrich Nietzsche's famous quote that whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger contains even a grain of truth, then Yaroslava Shvedova must pack one mighty punch.

Since reaching the quarterfinals of Roland Garros in 2010, Shvedova has endured quite a journey. But after 24 months of on- and off-court travails, she has finally come full circle.

A stunning three set win over defending champion Li Na on Monday saw the Kazakh qualifier advance to the last eight in Paris once more. An achievement she puts down two a simple recipe of focus and determination.

"I was just fighting every ball, and I was trying to focus on what I need to do," Shvedova said after her win over Li. "And, believe me, I was thinking a lot! Thinking about other girls who had lost from 5-1 and 5-2 up. I was like, no, no, no, I have to focus. I have to fight, fight, fight, fight."

Shvedova has had to do a lot of fighting over the past few years; fighting back from injury, fighting back up the rankings and fighting off the negative thoughts that invariably accompany any spell in the tennis wilderness.

"I had some tough periods mentally, as well, and I was very down and lonely," she continued. "At one point I was just playing doubles again and couldn't play singles in the big tournaments as I lost all my singles points."

However, doubles offered her more than just a temporary respite from her woes on the singles court. As post-French Open malaise began to set in, Shvedova and her partner Vania King began to establish themselves as one of the WTA's preeminent pairings, rapidly rising up the rankings and winning the Wimbledon and US Open titles to boot.

Yet as her doubles ranking skyrocketed, her singles one, which had been as high as No.29, plummeted. The nadir came in 2011, when her ranking fell to No.227 after a season plagued by injury, loss of form and the split from her long-time coach.

Now, with a new coach - former ATP player Emiliano Redondi - and a new outlook Shvedova is on the way back to the top.

"I got a new coach, and he helped me out a lot," she said. "For this year we set a goal to get my ranking back, and I was working hard. I had a great team around me and working with a psychologist and everything, fitness coaches, and I am very thankful to my team. It's not only my work, it's teamwork."

Having slipped out of the Top 200, Shvedova had to visit a few of the tennis circuit's less-salubrious stop-offs as she began her ascent up the rankings. Not that she minded it.

"I was feeling fine," Shvedova added. "It was a nice atmosphere, there were no superstars in the tournament and we were like big a big family."

"It was great and there were a lot of nice people there. In fact, I wish I could come back and keep playing those tournaments because of the atmosphere and the people around!"

If she continues the form she has shown in Paris for the rest of the year, though, this is one wish that is unlikely to be granted.

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