Related News

Home » Sports » Tennis

Safina hopes to play ahead of Australian Open

TWO days after tearfully pulling out of the WTA Championships with a serious back injury which she thought could jeopardize her Australian Open campaign in January, Dinara Safina has entered the Brisbane International - a tournament scheduled two weeks ahead of the first Grand Slam of 2010.

"After playing on the Gold Coast from 2004 to 2008, I am pleased to return to Queensland to play in Brisbane," Safina said today in a statement issued by Brisbane International organizers.

"The Brisbane International will be the perfect tournament to get some tough match practice in the leadup to the Australian Open. I am looking forward to the challenge and I cannot wait to get there."

On Wednesday in Doha, Safina lasted only 13 minutes in her first round-robin match of the season-ending championships before retiring while serving at 1-1 against Jelena Jankovic. Her withdrawal meant she lost the year-end No. 1 ranking to Serena Williams.

"I did everything possible to play here," Safina said at the time. "As I was chasing this No. 1 (ranking), I was fighting with my body."

After stopping play in the third game, Safina, in tears, walked over to her chair and covered her face with a towel before retiring.

She said one of the discs in her lower back was "starting to fracture," and that she has been dealing with the pain for three months.

Safina said in Doha she faced six weeks of rest before stepping back on the court, and a potentially long rehabilitation process that could see her miss the Australian Open, which begins Jan. 18. The Brisbane International runs from Jan. 3-10.

"When I speak with the doctors, it doesn't sound so good," Safina said in Doha of the Australian Open, where she lost this year's final to Serena Williams. "It is possible I may have to skip it."

Today, Brisbane International tournament director Steve Ayles said he was happy to confirm Safina's appearance despite her recent injury.

"She joins Justine Henin, Kim Clijsters and Ana Ivanovic in a very strong and competitive women's field," Ayles said. "We have been in negotiations with Safina for some time and it is just a shame that when we are ready to announce her attendance she suffers an injury in Doha.

"Safina is a fighter and I know she is really looking forward to returning to Queensland. I have no doubt she will be here in January."

Safina has 12 career titles and has been a finalist on 12 other occasions including three Grand Slams, at the French Open in 2008 and 2009 and the Australian Open in 2009. But she has yet to capture her first major, a fact that has led to criticism of her previous No. 1 ranking.

The Russian became No.1 for the first time on the April 20 of this year, making her and her brother, Marat Safin, the first brother-sister combination to achieve the No. 1 ranking. Safin, who won the 2000 U.S. Open and eventually claimed the Australian Open title in 2005 after losing two previous finals in Melbourne, achieved the No. 1 men's ranking in November 2000.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend