Seles still hungry for more

It’s the small things in life that keep her going. Tennis, friends and the thought of getting home after every tournament are among some of these small things that keep former top tennis star, Monica Seles hungrier for more on the Tour.

At 29 years, and staring at two similar realities – that of being servile for 10 years after the infamous stabbing by a stalker in Hamburg in April, to turning the age wheel to 30 in December – the former world No.1 still has it all to turn to the magical double figure of grand slams.

“Other than enjoying the game, I still have a lot of passion for tennis,” Seles told the Gulf News before play started on the opening day of the Dubai Duty Free Women’s Open.

“If you ask me, I can say goodbye to the game tomorrow, or say immediately after this tournament. But I know I have it in me to go on and put in some hard work and make the sacrifices. In tennis, there is no middle ground,” Seles said.

“I have a lot of passion for the game, and I’m only 29. Maybe I can win some more grand slams… the U.S. Open, the French Open, the Australian Open and hopefully Wimbledon as well,” she smiled.

“Tennis is something I’ve done all my life. It’s just that I enjoy playing the game and I love it,” she stated in answer to a question if life for her is starting at 30.

“Nothing has changed for me. I haven’t even bought a car for myself. Maybe the only thing that is different is that I live in a better house (in Florida). I am still the same,” Seles said.

Barring Wimbledon, Seles has all the other grand slams crown on her shelf. “But I will keep trying. Secondly, I enjoy being in London. The place is so nice and the people, too, do not get in your way. Wimbledon has always been on my list and I doubt it will change,” Seles said.

Reverting to more immediate goals, Seles said she hoped to strike good form in the Dubai competition. “Hope I can play better tennis here than what I did in Doha last week (She lost in the second round there). But before this week, I had a good result in Tokyo. I hope to carry this form here in Dubai,” Seles hoped.

Being in Dubai is like having a mini holiday for the ninth ranked player on the WTA. “I simply love it here. My mum loves it, too. The place is so good and being here is like planning a mini holiday. Other than the tennis, it’s a good break,” Seles said.

Speaking about the top tennis players presently on the tour, Seles said: “It was the same when Navratilova dominated in the 80s, then Steffi came along, then I and then Martina (Hingis). Now it’s the turn of Venus and Serena (Williams). They are playing better tennis right now and they’ve contributed so much to the game,” Seles admitted.