- On Court
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Taking part in Friday morning’s draw was interesting to say the least.
Not only did it throw up many intriguing first-round matches — not to mention many potentially thrilling encounters in the later rounds — but MC Bruce McAvaney kept me firmly on my toes.
‘‘Who do you think is better looking: Maria Sharapova or Maria Kirilenko?’’ is not the kind of question I’m used to being asked, but you can’t say he didn’t make it interesting!
He also mocked me a bit for some past defeats, as we went through the women’s draw and name-checked players who had inflicted some tough losses on me in the past. But it was all in good spirit and I enjoyed being part of the ceremony.
Usually I tend to avoid doing draws—I prefer not to know whom I could meet in the second round, let alone the quarter-finals. It’s a waste of energy to look too far ahead.
Someone once told me a story about a male player, I forget his name, who had looked at the draw and knew he would play Pete Sampras if he won his match.
He got into a winning position and then the thought of such a big match the next day got the better of him, and it affected his play. He lost.
Tennis can be a very simple game, but it can also be very complicated.
When you introduce factors such as who you might play in future rounds, you make things more complicated than they need to be.
I can certainly say that I have been most successful in tournaments when I have just taken it match-by-match and not thought too far ahead.
The best example of that is when I won the French Open. Looking back, I was so focused on each individual match only.
I am an excitable person and it’s not easy for me to do this. In fact, when I was younger I sometimes got carried away with things when I knew I had an opportunity to go far. It didn’t help.
After the women’s draw was completed I left the stage to make way for John McEnroe, who was doing the men’s draw.
Obviously, I’m too young to have seen him in his prime, but like everybody in tennis I know all about his incredible talent, and, of course, his famous on-court temperament.
I know that some people miss the days of McEnroe and Jimmy Connors and believe that players today should be more expressive. I have mixed feelings about it.
I think that it’s important to behave well on court, to set a good example to young players, but I also think that players should be allowed to be who they really are on the court.
I always feel a lot of excitement when I arrive at a tournament location, especially Melbourne which I love so much. Now that the draw has been made and we are just a day away from starting, it can’t come soon enough.
This column appeared today in the Sunday Herald Sun, Australia's biggest-selling newspaper. A payment to UNICEF charities has been made on Ana’s behalf for this column.
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