Scheepers ready for Oz Open

2012-01-10 00:00

SOUTH Africa’s top-ranked woman’s tennis player, Chanelle Scheepers, has had mixed results in her preparation for the Australian Open, but coach Roger Anderson says that she is back on track to perform well in Melbourne.

The Australian Open, the year’s first grand slam tournament, starts next week at Melbourne Park with the finals being played at the end of January.

Scheepers, who was born in Harrismith, played her first warm-up tournament in Brisbane where she lost in the first round in straight sets (3-6 3-6) to world number 13 Serena Williams.

“Of all of the players in Brisbane, Scheepers was unlucky to draw Williams in the first round. And although Williams came with a strong service game, Scheepers made her work for her rally points,” said Anderson.

Anderson, who is a Pietermaritzburg local, told The Witness, that Scheepers has moved on from this and she is performing well.

She is currently playing in a warm-up tournament in Sydney where she won yesterday and now has to face last year’s French Open champion Li Na.

Scheepers said that her loss to Williams showed her where her game needs improvement and that she will be working on those aspects in Sydney.

“I need to add a bit more speed to my serve. That is where Williams was stronger than me in Brisbane. I am happy with my aggression on the baseline, and the fact that Williams had to work hard for her points proved this,” said Scheepers.

Looking ahead to the Australian Open, she said that she does not know what to expect as the draw only takes place on Saturday.

As is mostly the case with majors, top-ranked players draw relatively low-ranked players in the first round, building up to harder matches in the third and fourth rounds. But Scheepers pointed out that the lower-ranked players have nothing to lose and there is always the possibility that lower-ranked players will play out of their skins and cause upsets.

“I have done everything possible to prepare myself to the best of my ability, and all that I have control over is the ability to show up and compete hard,” she said.

Anderson is also pleased with her preparation for the event, particularly on the fitness front.

“Scheepers has had a very productive pre-season training period in December. She continues to raise her game, at the same time maintaining consistency. More importantly, she has moulded herself into one of the fittest players on the women’s tour and I look forward to seeing her use this to her advantage in the heat at the Australian Open,” said Anderson.

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