Our Little Tennis Stars section is among reader favorites and while many WTA players have been featured multiple times, Lucie Safarova is making her debut, in a big way, with this wonderful 27-year-old photo picturing the Czech's tennis beginnings.
With a career-high ranking of No.5 in her biography, as well as six singles and nine doubles titles, the 29-year-old Safarova has been in the very top of the WTA world, while the past weekend she recorded yet another breakthrough by winning the Miami Open doubles title with Bethanie Mattek Sands, her first big achievement following the long layoff caused by a serious bacterial infection.
Lucie posted this childhood pic on her Facebook page a little over a week ago, alongside a lengthy statement about her recent hardships and motivation to move on.
This picture is when I started to play tennis! 27 years ago! It's been a long way with a lot of amazing memories that I'm very thankful to experience! Last year I reached many of my dreams and finally got into Top 10! I felt that finally everything was perfect in my life, but it never lets us rest at peace, bored. Unfortunately, I was stopped by disease for almost 6 months and suddenly was fighting on other line. When I was first time back playing, I felt the happiest ever, but I knew I'm starting from almost zero. Fitness gone, muscles and body weak. I realized how quickly your life can change upside down! I felt angry because I didn't have a chance to really enjoy what I have accomplished. It was so short before I lost it and now I'm supposed to start all that hard work again from the bottom? There was no other option, so I did! Today it's been 6 weeks down that road. Trust me, it wasn't much fun at all! I'm the type of person who likes to push the limits and I really hate when I don't reach as many push-ups, squads, balls in court as I am used to! At least now I see how super fit I have been before! Than I lost one match, second, today third. I'm really sad about it, but I'm also stronger everyday! Even though it makes me upset and it's not easy, I will still keep going because you know what? Nothing lasts forever and it can change as quickly for good again as it did the other way! I look at it now as on a huge experience that I should enjoy every great moment that life brings me along, live through everyday fully and accept the bad as part of it that makes me stronger before the next door with something great opens! For me the most important in my life is my family, my close friends and health! I have all of that now so even if the road what I'm taking is bumpy, deep inside I'm happy and smiling!
Soon after writing this Facebook status, the door did open for Lucie, as she won the big Miami doubles title and I hope it's just the first in her comeback successes that are yet to come.
— Sébastien Ridé (@rss1337) April 4, 2016
Remember, Lucie hadn't played since the 2015 WTA Finals in Singapore, as her bacterial infection turned scary, and after her return at the Qatar Open in Doha in February 2016, where she was actually defending her title, Lucie had only losses — three straight in singles and one in doubles. Currently ranked 15th, Lucie will try to win the first singles match of her comeback at the Volvo Car Open in Charleston, where after a bye in the first round she will face the winner of the match between Naomi Osaka and Louisa Chirico.