LONDON (Reuters) – At the ripe old age of 28, Monica Seles still believes she can win a grand slam tournament, but conceded it may never happen at Wimbledon.
She was in devastating form Tuesday, sweeping effortlessly into the second round of the grasscourt grand slam without dropping a single game in her 6-0, 6-0 drubbing of hapless Spaniard Eva Bes.
Seles, one of the greatest players never to have won Wimbledon, showed great speed, power and authority against her overawed opponent, who is 94 places behind her in the world rankings. And it certainly showed in 38 one-sided minutes.
The Yugoslav-born American, whose all-conquering career ground to a halt in 1993 when she was stabbed by a fanatical fan of Steffi Graf, still clearly has an appetite for the sport she adores.
She has lost none of her old zest, and still firmly believes she can add to her career total of nine grand slam titles.
“I really believe that. That’s one thing that keeps that drive … But realistically this is the tournament I have the least chance,” she told reporters.
Seles was generous in praise of sisters Venus and Serena Williams as world No. 1 and 2.
“They deserve that honor,” she said. “They definitely are the players to beat at this tournament.”
Seles is still one of the most dangerous and respected women in tennis even though she is still a far cry from the player who from 1990 to 1993 won the Australian and French Opens three times each and two U.S. Open titles.
Then Guenther Parche stabbed her and ended her golden run, forcing her out of the game for over two years. It took a great deal of courage and no small amount of talent to bounce back and win the 1996 Australian Open.
But that horrific day in Hamburg in 1993 is still with her.
“That made me the person I am,” she said. “Certain things you cannot forget. That changed the course of my career. There’s no need to go back there, day in, day out, to revisit that.”
And as for retirement?
“I really don’t know, I’m taking it a week at a time,” she said. “I really am at a great stage in my career where truly I’m playing it because I want to — for no-one else, for money or for whatever reasons.”