di Giulio Gasparin e Daniele Sforza
When I interviewed her about 13 months ago, Tadeja Majeric was on the verge of breaking the top 100, she had just played her first Grand Slam main draw match, losing a tight encounter to Ajla Tomljanovic. The Slovenian, with her unorthodox game and strong dedication, seemed ready for a big step in her career, then suddenly things did not go as planned and she fell far outside of top 200.
However, the biggest result of this sudden fall in the rankings is a different attitude towards tennis, a more relaxed and joyful acceptation of the life on tour, with its peaks and valleys. This is particularly true as one can tell such change from her words, even when she deals with different topics.
“My parents at age of 5 signed me in tennis school in Maribor,” she said. “But I guess that I realized that tennis was something more (than a game) when I won the under 12 country championships. At that time, it meant a lot to me and my family, so they decided I would try on international level. “That’s how it continued…I love everything about this game: losing, winning, travelling…there is so many good things about this game. Maybe being away a lot from my home (is the only thing I would change). I miss my family and friends.”
This change of prospective happened after a troubled time of her career.
“I got sick in March at Indian Wells and for a long time they didn’t know what’s wrong with me,” she kindly admitted. “After (a while) they diagnosed me with mono…so basically I fully recovered only this January.”
But the biggest hurdle was the recovery once the illness was diagnosed, because the only cure is rest.
“I think it was very hard for me to accept my illness last year,” she confessed. “I somehow didn’t want to stop completely and take rest and fully recover. I was trying to return for three times but each time, when I arrived to tournaments after my long trips, the health would get bad again. So now, when I fully recovered, I am so happy that I am actually able to play tournaments again. And now I see that what is the most important is health.
“Before I would be many times disappointed because of bad matches and things like that. But now I am just thankful that I am healthy.”
That does not mean she is not ambitious, quite the contrary, she really wants very badly to get back on track, to where she left because of the illness.
“Yes definitely it’s my goal for this year: to come back on my old position (111 as a career high) or even break into top 100. I started to do many more things than in past. Doing a lot more on my physical things.”
For this reason, she also decided to change coach and tennis academy.
“My tennis coach right now is Luca Appino. My physical coach is Uros Kogal. So that’s basically my main team. I have also some other people involved in my team but this are two most important ones.”
Not only, but her relationship with the federation has changed over the past 12 months. In the last interview we had, she admitted to have considered changing nationality. A couple of weeks ago, she was defending her country’s colours in Fed Cup and enjoyed every minute of it.
“Things changed a lot with federation,” she explained. “We found a way and solution so our relationship is good right now.
“I was not meant to play match on Saturday, but they put me last minute in because our first player got terribly injured with her back. Even I had problems on Friday, but I thought my injury was less painful than the one of our first player so I decided to play but I couldn’t play till the end because the pain was too much.”
Injuries have played a role in this beginning of the year for her, even after the retirement in Fed Cup. She reached the final in the $25k of Delhi, but suffered another injury before the last match.
“I was supposed to play after India the tournament in Kuala Lumpur but sadly I got injured already in Delhi so I had to withdraw. It’s not so easy to make a plan for tournaments because right now my ranking is much worse than before so I’ll start with ITF tournaments but will also mix with WTA tournaments (when possible).”
Despite the moment of difficulty, she wanted to give it a go for some self irony, proving to be a “true blonde”, when we asked her about a fun moment she lived on a tennis court.
“I guess the funniest thing that happened to me was when I played team matches in France,” she admitted. “I had to drive 8 hours because I missed the train to Paris, which would have been only 3.30 hours. Then I arrive there and realize that I forgot my tennis bag at home. So basically I had to borrow shoes and rackets from the girls of the opponent’s team.”
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