Lisicki back from injury hell to make Wimbledon semis
LONDON — Sabine Lisicki admits her run to the Wimbledon semi-finals is a dream come to true just three years after she feared her career would be ruined by a devastating ankle injury.
Lisicki swept into the last four on Tuesday as the German followed her sensational upset of Serena Williams with an emphatic 6-3, 6-3 victory over Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi.
Lisicki’s previous best run at the All England Club ended in a semi-final defeat to Maria Sharapova in 2011.
Now the big-serving 23-year-old has a chance to finally reach her first Grand Slam final and become the first German woman to feature in the Wimbledon final since Steffi Graf in 1999.
The joy of the last few days is far cry from 2010 when she was on crutches for months after sustaining a serious left ankle injury at Indian Wells.
After five months of rehabilitation, she was finally able to return to action, but by the end of 2010 her ranking had slipped from 23 to 179.
In March 2011, she was down at 218.
“Three years ago I had to learn how to walk again and that has made me appreciate every single moment out there a lot more,” Lisicki said.
“Once you have to learn how to walk again, it just shows you how we actually have to appreciate to have two healthy legs.
“Being on crutches, you can’t carry anything. You need the help of somebody else. So just being able to walk again and carry my own stuff was great.
“And then to come back on the court to compete and then to go even further than I did before the injury gives you a lot of strength.
“It’s a different feeling when I’m out there now.”
Lisicki is playing like a potential Wimbledon champion, but even if she doesn’t end the week with the trophy, the German insists she won’t be discouraged.
“First of all, to have your hobby as a job is something that not a lot of people say they can have,” she said.
“The travelling around, meeting different cultures, playing in the biggest stadiums of the world, especially playing in full stadiums, the centre courts, is what I love the most.”
It is that refreshingly upbeat attitude which has made Lisicki such a hit with the Wimbledon crowds over the last 10 days.
Her ever-present smile, even at moments of extreme tension, has charmed the tennis world and she is so keen to keep the British crowd on her side that she turned up to her post-match press conference wearing a t-shirt branded with the Union Jack flag.
“I heard that I am a favourite of the crowd. It’s an unbelievable feeling to get so much support here,” she said.
“It was an amazing atmosphere out there against Serena, the crowd pulling me through that match.
“Today they were cheering me on as well. It’s the best feeling in the world.”
Steve Darcis, Sergiy Stakhovsky and Michelle Larcher De Brito, the respective conquerors of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Sharapova last week, had all crashed out in their next matches after those Wimbledon shockers.
But Lisicki, who had less than 24 hours to recover after her epic triumph against Williams, avoided the same fate with another commanding display.
She hit 23 winners to just 13 from Kanepi and cruised to victory in only 65 minutes on Court One.
Originally posted: 9:23 pm | Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013
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