Work in Sports
Still plugging away
Seles hoping to return to the top of women's tennis
NEW YORK (CNN/SI) -- Monica Seles stood on the court, watched 100-mph (160-kilometer) shots whistling by in all her matches and decided she had to get stronger in order to remain competitive in professional tennis.
So Seles, winner of nine Grand Slams but just one since she was stabbed in 1993, hired a trainer, hoping to add the kind of power other women like Venus Williams, Serena Williams and Lindsay Davenport routinely display on the WTA tour.
The results have been positive so far. She won three tournaments early in the year and put her power game on display Wednesday at U.S. Open, where she defeated Anne Kremer 6-3, 6-4.
There were just three aces but Seles seemed comfortable in the match against a woman who beat her in their only previous meeting a year ago. That was at Eastbourne, on grass. This was at the U.S. Open, where she remains a sentimental favorite.
Seles said her training regimen has put her on the right track. "There's still a lot of work ahead, but I'm really happy with the progress that I've been making.
"The new generation, really you have to say Serena, Venus and Lindsay, they're much stronger physically than I am, so they're gonna hit the ball harder.
"In terms of me, no, I haven't changed. I just realize I have to get as strong as I can get from my own body and that I'm comfortable with and then just go on from there."
Seles said she is still searching for a comfort zone.
"I think I'm in the middle of it," she said. "It's been a learning process for all of us to figure out how much to do when we're at tournaments and stuff like that. But we're trying to find the middle ground that I feel comfortable with, doing certain things but at the same time, [making sure] you're fresh and ready to play. I've been playing a lot of matches the last couple of months."
After missing five months because of a right foot stress fracture, she came back in February, winning her first event at Oklahoma City without losing a set, then won at Amelia Island, taking the last four matches in 48 hours in the rain-delayed event. Then she won at Rome, 10 years after she won that event for the first time.
That pushed her to No. 3 in the world, familiar territory for a player who dominated the sport and won the Open in 1991 and 1992, when she was a teen-ager.
"This season, I think I probably played some of the most consistent tennis for the first time in probably seven years," she said. "I could focus on tennis as much as maybe I wanted to. So that has been good."