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The Return
S.L. Price
July 17, 1995
For two years Monica Seles has suffered in silence on the sidelines of the game she loves. Now she's ready to get back onto the court—and to discuss the demons that have beset her
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July 17, 1995

The Return

For two years Monica Seles has suffered in silence on the sidelines of the game she loves. Now she's ready to get back onto the court—and to discuss the demons that have beset her

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"If he would've hit me, or...but why did he put something in me as sharp"—she raps the shaker on the tablecloth twice, a few grains tumbling out—"as a knife, take it out—and want to do it again? This person, you don't even know if he's evil or angel: It doesn't matter. And from the back...."

She stops. Then she puts the shaker down.

No one, Seles included, knows what to expect when she finally returns to competition. She hasn't played a set that mattered since Hamburg. How long before she regains her form? "Maybe tomorrow," Karolj says. "Maybe never."

There has never been room for false optimism in the Seles camp. Even before the stabbing, Seles's giggly patter and seeming frivolousness masked an insecurity that could only be seen in competition. By 17, she was ranked No. 1 and was fully expecting the world to turn on her. "I didn't know who I was as a person; I was going through all these changes, a really weird period," Seles says. "I thought, If I don't win this match they're going to hate me. I'm bad."

She is driving her truck now, crossing on a bridge over brilliant blue-green Florida waters. It is a perfect day. She is asked if she knows who she is today. "I think I know," Seles says. "But I know that in 10 years—if I make it to 10 years—I'll say what did I know at that point?"

If I make it? What kind of talk is that from a rich and gifted 21-year-old whose latest word springs instantly to CNN? "You never know," Seles says sharply. "I've got to the point where I live every day of my life like it's my last. Anything can happen. You never know."

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