Saturday, February 16, 2008

See You in the Hall of Fame

I have always loved Monica Seles, so it was particularly sad to read on Valentine's Day that she decided to hang up her rackets. Monica was the original power player in the early 90s, using two hands to come over the ball on both the backhand and forehand sides. Along with those fierce strokes were the even fiercer grunts that exploded each time the ball got whacked. After HIV turned my life inside out and upside down, I began to comprehend how Monica must have felt after she was stabbed on a tennis court by a deranged man in Germany in April 1993. In one instant, she went from being the top player in the world to a physically and emotionally devastated human being. For 27 months, she stayed out of the game. And though she had family, friends and fans supporting her, it was surely a time of withdrawal into an impenetrable vault. Monica eventually found the courage to come back to tennis, and incredibly won the Australian Open in 1996. But that was to be the last of her 9 Grand Slams. She was never quite able to recover her early top form, and the sporting world was cheated out of witnessing what could have been the greatest female tennis player in history. Without question Monica will find her way into the Hall of Fame. But for many years, I think she's already been in a place where no one could touch her.

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