Breaking down 2011 with Sabine Lisicki


Originally published on: 02/12/11 10:54

You had a great summer grass season – you won Birmingham and made the semi-finals at Wimbledon – how special were those results?
It was something really special, especially after last year when I had the [ankle] injury and I couldn’t come back. It was heartbreaking not to be able to come back after results like reaching the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in 2009.

What was it like being sidelined for five months?
I wasn’t able to watch any tennis because I was just so sad. Playing tennis and being at tournaments was the place that I wanted to be so much. So to be back on the grass this summer after two years was just such a nice feeling.

You sustained the injury in March last year, then came back briefly, then were sidelined again between April and August. What happened?
I was playing [Miami], but it was tough to come back. I started playing too early – it’s linked together with experience. I probably should’ve waited a little longer but things have worked out OK. I made my way back – I’ve worked a lot and I knew I was going to come back. I knew, no matter how long it would take, I would come back.

When did you start to feel like you were returning to your best?
In Miami it started to click again – where I beat Nadia Petrova – then in Charleston Marion Bartoli, then Li Na and Dominika Cibulkova in Stuttgart. So things were starting to roll again.

You seemed to enjoy having grass under your feet again? Did you play on grass as a kid?
No, not at all. I have a very big serve so that’s a very big weapon on grass – it’s hard to break someone with a big serve. Also the atmosphere helped, the tradition in England is also very special.

You’ve said in the past that Andre Agassi was an inspiration. Is that right?
I loved the way he plays. I also worked with [his former coach] Darren Cahill for a while. I liked his style of game a lot – being aggressive – and he wasn’t the biggest or the tallest but still played such an amazing style of tennis, hitting the ball early and on the rise. You didn’t see that many guys back then playing aggressively and that’s what I liked.

Any women you liked watching?
Yeah, I liked watching Mary Pierce too, and also Martina Hingis because I liked her variety. I like to play hard balls, but also drop shots and angles and just to enjoy the game really.

We talked to you about two years ago and asked you what the best part of your game was and you said, ‘Everything!’ Is that still the case?
Ha ha, that’s so funny. I don’t remember that interview!

What’s your favourite tournament?
Well, I remember watching Agassi when he played at the Australian Open because he always seemed to play well there, and I LOVED watching the Australian Open. That was the Grand Slam that I wanted to go to SO badly.I would sit at home in Germany in the winter and it would be freezing cold outside and I would look at the TV and it would be so sunny and hot over there! It seemed like it was so far away that it was always a dream for me to go there. I didn’t know if I would ever get there!

The German girls are doing well at the moment – yourself, Julia Goerges and Andrea Petkovic. Do you get along?
Yeah, we’ve known each other a long time now, since we were 14 or 15, growing up playing juniors together. There’s a good rivalry between us – it pushes us – and each of us has won a title this year which is pretty amazing I think.

You were selected as one of the Xperia Hot Shots this year. Did that change how you use the media at all, particularly to talk to your fans?
I’ve used Facebook and Twitter before because I always felt like I wanted to give back to my fans that support me. Being part of Xperia Hot Shots let them see a different part of me off court and of life on tour – from a different angle.


Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.