This month, Canada's street-style magazine PEACE published an interview with Elena Dementieva, together with beautiful photographs of the Russian, who has recently won the Kremlin Cup title with the victory over Serena Williams.
The part of the interview I found most interesting was Dementieva’s story about her rib injury (more precisely, three broken ribs!) which had sidelined her from playing tennis for almost two months. Additionally, in the interview Dementieva pointed out Ana Ivanovic as the next young player to become world number one.
You had a set-back this year. Can you tell us about the injury?
Well, I had a very weird injury ‘cause I started to work with a new physician. After three weeks I realized that I had three broken ribs and I was off for, like, seven weeks. That was really depressing, probably because there is not much you can do with broken ribs. You just have to wait, just take some time to recover. So I missed popular tournaments, big tournaments. It was tough to come back, to get your confidence back and play well again.
To not notice that you had three broken ribs? You continued to train. How did you not know?
Well, ‘cause they were saying different things, saying that I had something different. When you are doing just an x-ray you couldn’t see. You really need to go for MRI or something else. I was practicing through pain, because I really wanted to get ready for intervals. I wish I knew earlier so I could stop earlier.
Do you hold any resentment towards your trainer for continuing to push you forward while you were injured?
I think that he was just not a very professional guy. I didn’t know what he was doing. I was just according to my special needs. I was doing that because he’s very famous in Moscow. Lots of different good athletes are working with him. Even with my experience, it didn’t stop them from working with him. I think it’s not a good statistic when you are going to help one person and injure another one. So it doesn’t work this way. It just happened to me. Just a bad experience in my mind. That’s it.
Is it true that you considered retirement at the time?
Well, no. I was really depressed at the time because I didn’t know what to do. It completely changed the rhythm of my life. From being so active, during the day I was spending most of the time in my bed watching TV. It really felt different. So I wasn’t sure how much time it [would] take to come back and if I would be able
to come back. Maybe that’s why I started to seem a bit negative.
Did the injury and the break from tennis give you a different perspective on playing tournaments?
Oh yeah. The only good thing about coming back from a break or injury is that you take every single tournament special. You’re really so focused on playing your every single match because you missed a lot. That’s what happened with me after the break.
Women’s tennis seems to be going through a change. The old guard is still there, but there are a lot of younger players that are coming through that are really good. Who should we keep our eye on?
There are a lot of young players like Ana Ivanovic. She’s in #4 position. I think she can be #1 because she has the power, she knows she has the game, she has a huge serve. That’s what you need to know to play well in today’s tennis. So she looks to me as a favourite to become #1.
To read the full interview, visit PEACE magazine.