Sharon Fichman: Another Canadian Hope
Published August 12, 2013 12:00
TORONTO, Canada - Going into the Rogers Cup, there was a player who had been looking to break into the Top 100 for a long time, and she had been hovering just outside the elite for a while now - and she was Canadian, and to top it off, she finally accomplished it at her home event. Sharon Fichman achieved that goal in Toronto, and beating a pair of World No.1s a few days later was just gravy.
Fichman won an all-Canadian first round with Stéphanie Dubois, which secured her Top 100 debut.
"Stéphanie's a great player, and we've known each other for ages," Fichman said. "We've gone through a lot of different scenarios together playing tennis, playing against each other, playing with each other, at Fed Cup playing doubles with each other - we always support each other, so it's really a shame we had this draw, and obviously it was a tough match since we know each other's games.
"We went back and forth for a while. I was a little tired coming from Vancouver - I took the redeye flight just the other night - but I'm happy I was able to pull through when I really needed it today."
Fichman, who went into Toronto ranked No.104, is now No.96 - but the Top 100 isn't her ultimate goal.
"It's fun, and I'm really excited that things have been going well for me, but this isn't my ultimate goal," Fichman said. "My main goal is just to be better as a tennis player. I want to be the best I can be, and numbers aside, I just want to keep improving and get to what I feel my potential is on the court.
"But I'm happy and I'm excited, and it just keeps motivating me to do better and better things."
And what better place to do it than at the Rogers? "Well, when I was six years old, I had my plan to become a tennis player. I loved it and I came here and I watched all the girls. I remember watching Serena and Venus and Hingis and Seles, and all of my idols, all my heroes, and I was just in awe.
"It's just so fun to kind of look back and see that things have come full circle. It's exciting when you're able to make a goal and just stick with it. It's been many years since then, but the fact that I've pursued it and that it's come full circle is fun, and it's really exciting to look back on all of those years."
"We planned out what we were going to do today. We really stuck to it. I thought we did a good job with that," Fichman said of the 67(4) 62 105 second round stunner. "We had letdown in the first set with three set points, but they played well, and it was good we stuck to our guns and it worked out.
"In terms of believing it, I felt like especially after my singles, and last week I had some pretty good wins, I feel like I was able to stay on the court and dictate a lot of points against top players. So when we found out we were playing Sara Errani and Roberta vinci, I thought these girls were amazing and have had some absolutely phenomenal results, but I still feel like I can be out there with them.
"I think Gabriela is playing phenomenally too and I thought we had a good shot."
What's the biggest difference between the top players and the players Fichman is used to playing?
"Playing girls at this level, one thing I've really noticed is that when it really matters, a lot of the top players play their best tennis. They don't let nerves get the better of them. They actually come up with really big shots when it matters. They know what to do in the moment, and that's what makes them so great. And obviously the girls at this level are so much fitter and hit a lot harder. It motivates me."