Wednesday, June 06, 2001

Novotna to play senior event

By Michael Perry
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        When Jana Novotna retired from women's professional tennis after the 1999 season, she did not pick up a racket for about six months.

        Not once.

  • What: Seniors Championship
  • When: Aug.2-4
  • Where: ATP Tennis Center, Mason
  • Men: Mansour Bahrami, Owen Davidson, Jaime Fillol, Tom Gullikson, John Lloyd, Harold Solomon
  • Women: Gigi Fernandez, Mary Joe Fernandez, Ann Grossman, Catarina Lindqvist, Jana Novotna, Kathy Rinaldi
  • Prize money: $88,000
  • Benefit: Proceeds from the Seniors event go to Tennis for City Youth
  • Main draw: Tennis Masters Series Cincinnati, Aug.6-12
  • Tickets: Call (513) 651-0303
        “I just had no desire to play,” she said. “When you are in the same routine, traveling and practicing, I just had to get away from that and get used to being at home and living a normal life. I enjoyed it very much.”

        This is Year Two of Novotna's retirement, and she's ready to get back on the court.

        Novotna, 32, will be one of the newcomers to the Seniors Championship that preceeds the Tennis Masters Series Cincinnati in August. The field was announced Tuesday. It will be Novotna's first seniors event and first appearance in Cincinnati.

        “I'm really looking forward to it,” the Czech Republic native said. “I think it's going to be fun. I'm trying to get back in shape and starting to play more and more. I watch the French Open in the morning, then I go out and practice for an hour. I'm finally starting to enjoy it again.”

        Novotna was ranked as high as No.2 in the world. She won 24 WTA Tour singles titles, including Wimbledon in 1998, and 76 doubles titles. She won 12 Grand Slam doubles titles and four Grand Slam mixed doubles championships.

        She was runner-up in singles at the 1991 Australian Open and Wimbledon in '97 and '93.

        Before the Seniors event, she said she will play team tennis for the Sacramento franchise.

        “Then I will be coming to Cincinnati, so I should be warmed up by then,” Novotna said.

        “I think it's going to be hard. Once you are out of the competition, you always get extra nervous and you're not sure about your strokes and especially your serve. But hopefully by then, I'm going to be in very good shape and ready to compete. It's going to be really competitive.”


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