BUCHAREST, Romania – A few years ago, Alexandra Dulgheru was one of the biggest breakout stars on the WTA – she was a two-time Premier-level champion at Warsaw and went as high as No.26 in the world in 2011. But that summer the knee troubles began, troubles that pushed her out of the game this year – she hasn’t played any tournaments since Indian Wells in early March.
But she had the surgery, she went through the tough times and she’s hitting again – and she’s hoping to slide back into form for the 2013 season.
Read on as the young Romanian shares her story with wtatennis.com…
Thursday, November 15, 2012
The year 2012 has been hard for me, with surgery on my left knee at the end of March and a whole season lost, but as my health is the most important aspect, I realized everything else is just fog and smoke…
The problems started some years ago. I was playing tougher and tougher matches at an increasingly higher level, and it was mostly on hardcourts, so after Miami in 2011, things started getting worse and the pain was becoming quite unbearable. I thought I could continue for the clay season, and with all the physiotherapy it would be better, but I was wrong. It was too much. No procedure was helping, and by playing and competing I was making it worse.
The best plan was for me to take some time off and recover, and I did that after Wimbledon last year. With a two month break and some injections, rest and physical training, when I restarted it was a bit better, but not enough. I still wasn’t feeling comfortable enough to play a few matches in a row.
After last year’s winter preparation, I had a good run at the start of 2012 – I came through the qualifying in Sydney and had a good first round at the Aussie Open, and I also won a $100K in Cali, Colombia, so naturally I thought I was following a good road. But I had a poor clay court tour in South America, with the pain starting to come all over again. Indian Wells is where I had an MRI done, showing a pretty serious tear that needed surgery. Just a week later I was already in Spain to see the doctor, who advised me that surgery was the best option too. I realized that tournaments and ranking points aren’t as important as my health, so without a second thought I went ahead and did it.
I ended up doing four full months of daily recovery, between four and six hours every day at a clinic in Bucharest – except for Sundays. And then after that I continued going just a few times a week. In July I started playing tennis again slowly, like once every two or three days, and maximum one hour a day. I gradually started playing more, but there were times the physical training was more important, and I would play less. The whole time it wasn’t easy to stay away from the courts for so long and see everyone else play, but now, after all of the hard work to come back, I’m feeling better and I can hardly wait to come back in better physical form, as I really enjoyed my first few years on the tour 🙂
There are bright sides to my injury, though – I’ve been enjoying some quality time at home with family and friends, reading a lot during the hours I’ve spent at the clinic, going to the cinema, horseriding… and last but not least, painting. I’m currently in the process of finishing a big painting I’ve been working on since summertime, mostly on the Sundays… I’ll show it to all of you once it’s ready 🙂
In the next months I will continue to play more and more tennis, and hopefully everything will be in order for me to start playing again next year!
Thank you for reading everyone and I can’t wait to return to the WTA 🙂