Bethanie Ready To Bounce Back
Published September 02, 2012 07:17
NEW YORK, NY, USA - Thanks to a torn rotator cuff, a broken foot and a serious hip injury, Bethanie Mattek-Sands has spent almost as much time on the treatment table as on the tennis court over the past year.
These health issues helped precipitate a slide down the rankings that recently saw Mattek-Sands drop out of the Top 200 for the first time since 2004 - a sobering statistic for a player who just last June was sitting at a career-high No.30 in the rankings.
"I'm not going to lie, this year was a rough one," Mattek-Sands said. "It started last year when I played the Open with a torn rotator cuff and after that it has been one injury after another."
After several months of rest and rehabilitation, Mattek-Sands made her return from the rotator cuff injury that curtailed her 2011 season in January. However, no sooner had she begun to find her feet again than a niggling left hip injury put the brakes on any progress by sidelining her for the entire spring hardcourt season.
"It's been a real battle and eventually I got to the point where I said to myself, 'you know what, I'm done with injuries, I'm sick of it'. It's such hard work - especially mentally - just to get back to where I am right now and I think all I can do is go up right now!" the 27-year-old said.
Despite the setbacks, there have been some bright spots, most notably in doubles, where Mattek-Sands has rekindled her on-off partnership with Sania Mirza and also picked up a maiden Grand Slam title alongside Horia Tecau in the mixed at the Australian Open.
"Me and Sania are very good friends off the court and I think that's what makes us good on the court as well," she said. "If one of us isn't playing good, the other one can pick up the slack and help out.
"Our communication is honest and open and this makes it fun and easy to play doubles with her."
While doubles success has provided a welcome boost during a trying 12 months, Mattek-Sands is still intent on addressing the delicate matter of that singles ranking.
"I've been able to play a bit more doubles than singles, but it's not the same because in singles you're covering a lot more court and the tactics are totally different," she added.
"I feel like I'm playing really well, I just need a couple more matches and a couple more wins to get my ranking back up there - at the moment I'm not even on the second page so I don't even look!"
And as she goes in search of the points that will promote her to the ranking respectability of at least page two, the American has decided to venture to some unfamiliar locations.
"I'm going to be busy for the rest of the season. First to Seoul, then after that Beijing and Tokyo to play doubles before finishing off with some more singles in Osaka and Moscow," she said.
"That'll be five or six weeks on the road. I actually haven't played past the US Open in a long time and I haven't been to Asia yet so I'm excited to go out there.
"The biggest thing, though, is that I feel fresh right now. I had a couple of weeks off this year already so I think that's really going to help me in this last part of the year."
As for goals, the American already has one eye on next season and an automatic spot at the Australian Open .
"Getting my ranking up so I can get into the Australian Open main draw is definitely a huge goal," she said. "At the end of the day it's all about what you can control and hopefully I'm not too far away from this goal.
"Even if I can't quite get there, I'm grinding it out and I'm just trying to have fun doing it."