Injured and beaten Seles refuses to give up

PARIS: Monica Seles, suffering from nagging foot problems, was beaten 6-4 6-0 by Russian Nadia Petrova for her first loss in the first round of any tennis grand slam at the French Open here today.
The American, seeded 12th, had never been beaten before the quarter-finals in 10 previous appearances in a tournament she won three times between 1990 and 1992.

Seles, 29, has been hampered by foot injuries for several seasons and was forced out of several tournaments this year, the last time in Rome earlier in May.

“Today my wish to play and my performance did not match,” she said.

“Like I said in Rome, I wanted to play in the French Open and once I had decided to play, I gave it my best shot.”

Her previous worst showing in a grand slam came in second-round defeats at Wimbledon in 1996 and the Australian Open earlier this year.

But despite the defeat and her injury worries, she believes she can still compete at the top level.

“Last year I had a very good year and when I’m healthy, I know I can play well, have good results and still have real pleasure out there,” she said.

“This year has not been a good year. I just have to give it a break and reassess what I’m going to do.”

Seles said she was now going to take some time off and see how her foot condition improved before making a decision about the future, but said she would skip Wimbledon if the pain did not ease.

“I’m in the later stages of my career and I don’t have the luxury of taking five or six months off,” she added.

“I’m hard-headed but I must see how my foot will respond. It’s not the way I would like to leave.

“I won’t give up but I also must listen to my body.”

Asked whether she might retire because of the injury, she did not completely rule out the possibility.

“It’s one of the options if I’m in pain, but I won’t give up,” she said.