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Lisicki relishing return to grass


 

Originally published on: 11/06/12 00:00

Sabine Lisicki lit up the British grass court season last year after cleaning up in Birmingham before launching a dream run to the semi-finals at Wimbledon. With memories of those efforts still fresh, the chirpy German admits she is delighted to be back on her favourite surface at the AEGON Classic this week.

“I’m so much looking forward to grass and I hope the weather will stay good so we can actually play,” smiled the 22-year-old Florida resident. “I love playing on grass. I’ve only had a one-and-a-half-hour session on the court last week, but it felt so good to be out there again.”

Lisicki won her third career title at the Edgbaston event last year, adding to her triumphs in Dallas (in 2009) and Charleston (in 2007) after motoring to the title without dropping a set.

A quarter-finalist at Wimbledon in 2009, Lisicki had to skip the 2010 event because of an ankle injury that disrupted most of her season. But after being awarded a wild card on her return to the All England Club last year; Lisicki enjoyed a roller-coaster run to her first Grand Slam semi-final and despite losing out to Maria Sharapova in the last four, the tournament is not one she’ll forget in a hurry.

“I think my biggest memory was beating Li Na in the second round,” reflected Lisicki. “When you’re down double match point and 3-5 in the third set and you’re still able to win it and having 15,000 people cheering you on on Centre Court – it can’t get any better than that!”

This year, and the clay swing in particular, hasn’t been so kind to the German. She retired mid-match against Serena Williams in Charleston because of her troublesome left ankle, before the problem forced her to pull out of Stuttgart and Madrid. Despite three-first round defeats on the bounce since, in Rome, Strasbourg and at Roland Garros, Lisicki is confident that her ankle won’t disrupt her grass season.

“The ankle is fine. That’s the main thing,” she said. “I didn’t play too good the last couple of matches but I feel like I’m improving with each match. For me the most important thing is to stay healthy and to keep on improving.

“I’m a strong believer in hard work and I think that eventually it will pay off. I don’t know when, but I’m sure it will.”

Sabine Lisicki, an ambassador for Longines, spoke to us at Roland Garros at the Longines Future Tennis Aces event on Friday.

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