Photo via medibankinternational.com.au
Good news! Sidelined since October with a back injury, a healed and happy-sounding Dinara Safina says she’s fit for the 2010 Australian Open:
”I’m 100 per cent. I’m ready to play. If I play my best, let’s see what can happen.” Safina told reporters in Sydney on Tuesday, after hitting the practice courts in preparation for next week’s Medibank International tournament.
Safina, currently ranked No. 2 after losing the No. 1 ranking to Serena Williams at the end of last season, says (in her typical self-deprecating style) that she’s still learning her lessons on tour:
”After every loss, you get smarter. Unfortunately I couldn’t make it last year but I still have a few years ahead of me and I hope I’ll get smarter as I get older.”
Safina’s final match of 2009 ended in tears, a retirement and her subsequent withdrawal from October’s season ending Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha. She revealed that she was suffering from a fractured disk in her back – an injury serious enough to leave her in doubt for the first Major of 2010.
“When I speak with the doctors, it doesn’t sound so good,” Safina told reporters in Doha. “It is possible I may have to skip it (the Australian Open.)”
Now that she’s recuperated from a physically and mentally taxing year, Dinara says she’s looking forward to a fresh start and some revised expectations:
“I’m glad that everything is past and now I can play on the court and enjoy,” Safina says. “My goal this year is to stay healthy and if I can do that then hopefully the rest will fall into place.”
Dinara will enjoy a tough warm up at next week’s Medibank International tournament in Sydney, where she’ll be joined by former and current No. 1s, Serena Williams and Justine Henin. Svetlana Kuznetsova, Caroline Wozniacki, defending champion Elena Dementieva and Samantha Stosur will also participate.