Sabine & The Centre Court Crowd
Published July 26, 2013 12:01
While Lisicki already held a place in the hearts of the All-England Club's patrons thanks to her previous exploits - her last three visits had ended in two quarterfinals and one semifinal - by the end of the fortnight they were truly besotted.
In a tournament characterized by shock results, Lisicki's dethroning of Serena Williams in the fourth round was by far the most shocking. But as brilliant as the big-serving German was for those two hours on Centre, it was her unbridled joy following that final forehand winner that truly captivated the 15,000 or so watching on.
The 23-year-old followed this up with wins over Kaia Kanepi and Agnieszka Radwanska before finally running out of steam against Marion Bartoli in the final. Accompanying her run was a disarming charm and infectious smile often absent in today's ultra competitive world of professional tennis.
"To have your hobby as a job is something that not a lot of people say they can have," Lisicki said. "My parents gave me the opportunity to do this and I'm very thankful for that.
"Traveling around, meeting different cultures, playing in the biggest stadiums of the world, especially playing in full stadiums, the center courts, is what I love the most."
So how, Lisicki was asked after her victory over Radwanska, did she come by this refreshingly positive outlook on a tennis player's lot?
"It is all about the passion to be on the court, which I learned from the ankle injury I had in the past," she said of the serious ankle injury she suffered three years ago. "I couldn't walk, I had to learn how to walk again, and that made me appreciate every moment out there so much more.
"We have to appreciate how fortunate we are to have two healthy legs. Being on crutches you can't carry anything. You need the help of somebody else. To go even further than I did before the injury gives me a lot of strength. It's a different feeling when I am out there now, and that's why I'm not going to let anybody take that away from me."