Return To Form
In 2001 Seles reached the finals in two tournaments in California, then made it to the semifinals of the Rogers AT&T Cup in Toronto where she lost to Serena Williams. Seles "is playing her best tennis in recent memory," says Jon Wertheim in Sports Illustrated. In fact, she recently turned to a new training regimen to improve her stamina, which was never great and which
had seemed to dissipate since her return from the attack. According to Wertheim, since she has been forbidden to run due to a foot injury, she started a routine that "included biking, swimming and weight training," as well as hiring a new coach, Mike Sell.
Fans love her, and Seles talks to and acknowledges her fans. In spite of the attack and the isolation she imposed on herself for several years, Seles seems more outgoing now than ever; in a sport where most players are hard to get access to, Seles is one of the more friendly and approachable stars on the circuit. It is a big part of her popularity, and it is a main reason she has the following she does. "She engages whoever stops her, grins, thanks the person, [and] asks questions," S. L. Price writes in Sports Illustrated, mentioning that some of Seles' closest friends were complete strangers she met in a restaurant or at a club.
Sometimes, however, those close to her—her mother, her trainers and coaches—worry that her friendliness may get her back into trouble. According to that same Sports Illustrated article, in 1997 she accepted a ride from the airport with someone she had only just met on the plane.
Yet true to the dynamics of her personality, she is also a solitary individual. When she craves her privacy, it is almost impossible to get her out in public. And when she wants to be outgoing, you cannot turn her off. Since the attack, however, she has been able to mitigate what the world wants with what Seles wants. "I was definitely a pleaser," she told Sports Illustrated in 1998. "Even until last year I always wanted everybody to like me… Then I realized: Just be who you are. You don't have to make everybody else happy if you're really not happy. I realized with my dad, when he was dying, that everything is so much a facade. The only time you're true to yourself is when you die. You have no pretensions. I don't want to wait until I'm dying to be like that."
With youth, personality and talent on her side, as well as a number one ranking and one of the game's most memorable grunts, Monica Seles put power into her shots and dominated tennis in the early nineties. But when she was attacked by a crazed fan at a German tournament in 1993, the subsequent two years away from the sport left many wondering if she had ever return; when she did return, people questioned if she had ever come back to full form.
But she did return, and in spite of several hardships that might have caused lesser players to leave the game altogether, Seles is back and once again one of the top ten players in the world. At the conclusion of the 2002 season, her career record stood at 589 wins, 116 losses, and 53 career singles titles, with 9 Grand Slam singles titles.
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