© Ella Ling

Sabine Lisicki

Sabine Lisicki interview: I used to hate grass

   

Sabine Lisicki interview. Lisicki, who defeated Maria Sharapova to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals, has disclosed that she often sneezes while playing on grass: “I used to hate grass. I have strong allergies to grass, and have to take medicine, but I have learnt how to handle this.”  Lisicki, a Longines ambassador, also spoke about how she deals with the expectations of a German tennis public who are hoping for a player to achieve half what Steffi Graf did: “What Steffi achieved was unbelievable, but that was in her time. I’ve got my own mind and my own dreams.”
 
On how she went from hating grass to loving it: “I used to hate it. I think I lost five straight matches on grass in the beginning, plus one doubles, and then I turned it around in 2009 when I reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals. I have strong grass allergies and everything was against me liking grass, but at some point I just turned it around and I love it now. It plays differently. The serve is so important, and that’s one of my weapons. I have to take medicine for my allergies. I sneeze when I’m playing on the grass, but that’s just the way it is. I’ve learnt to handle that. I guess that’s fine. The most important thing is to be out there playing on it, and I love the tradition of the grass-court tournaments.” 
 
On her memories from last year’s grass-court season: “I have lots of great memories from last year, including winning the title in Birmingham before Wimbledon. Getting the wild card for Wimbledon was a huge thing for me. The biggest memory is beating Li Na in the second round, after being down two match points. Having 15,000 people cheering for you on Centre Court at Wimbledon, it doesn’t get any better than that. After the tournament, I watched the match back on a video as it was quite blurry to me what had happened. I did enjoy watching that.”
 
On this grass-court season: “I’m very excited to be playing twice at Wimbledon, for the Championships and then for the Olympics. I always look forward to playing on grass. It’s felt so good to be back on grass in Birmingham. It’s a great thing that the Olympics is being played on grass at Wimbledon, though of course everything will be different during the Games with the coloured clothing and everything. It will be a big change.” 
 
On trying to live up to Graf: “I see it differently. What Steffi achieved was unbelievable, but that was in her time. We cannot try to keep up with that. I’m working hard to be the best that I can be. We’ll see where I end up. As long as I give my all every single day, I’ll be satisfied. I’ll be happy with what I’ve achieved. I’ve always taken that view. I’ve got my own mind and my own dreams that I want to make come true. That’s what I’m working hard for. I’m a strong believer that it will happen. If I could choose one tournament to win, it would be Wimbledon.” 
 
On having help from Graf: “I’ve practised with her in Las Vegas a couple of times. She’s a very great woman. I kind of just missed her time on tour. I saw a little on TV. I remember a few of her matches. She’s been fantastic for German tennis.” 
 
On the gang of German women in the top 50: “We’ve known each other since we were little girls, so it’s nice to see all of us coming through and getting German tennis back on the map. Finally. We’ve all been working hard over the past few years. We’ve all gone a different way. There’s not one way you have to take to get to the top and that’s the interesting part of it. We don’t practise much together. I live in the States, in Florida. All of us are different players. That’s good for the crowds. It’s about confidence and believing in yourself.”
 
On being coached by her father: “It’s working very well. When you’re young and travelling, it’s hard for a girl to be alone without her parents – she gets homesick. So I’ve always had someone from the family with me, and that’s made things better. It means that you don’t want to go home so badly. My dad knows me the best. If he sees that I’m looking tired, he will tell me to take the day off. Other coaches might not see that, then you train and you risk injury. It would be hard to work with someone else. I have fewer conflicts working with my father than I would do if I worked with someone else.” 
 

 
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Sabine Lisicki is a Longines Future Rising Star.

   
  • Sparky

    She’s deffo gonna win Wimbledon one day :)