By Sebastián Capristo
On her comeback tour right at the mythical Roland Garros, where she enjoyed glory four times with her historical partner Virginia Ruano Pascual, Paola Suárez is peaking and her confidence, visible.
Leaving behind a five years post-retirement hiatus, in less than four months, Suárez united forces with fellow Argentine and former doubles no 1, Gisela Dulko. Together, they teamed up to embark on an Olympic journey that, they expect, will hopefully end up with a medal. Just eight tournaments were enough to make it to the Top 60 and she yearns for more.
Via mail from Paris where she is set to hit the French clay courts, she shares to Running Forehand her thoughts on the meticulous preparation needed for the return and, after the very commented match of her current nº1 compatriot Paula Ormaechea against Venus Williams, the development of her nation’s tennis.
Q: You have had good matches against strong teams, for instance, the ones versus Australian Open finalists Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci. In your words, what do you think about your team’s performance so far?
PS: We’re looking to improve things that can make a big difference inside the court. Personally, I believe that I’m a lot more consistent at the net, especially in the last weeks. So instead of maintaining that level, we’re looking to get better.
Q: Can you explain more about of your back problems which led to your withdrawal in Stuttgart?
PS: It was an intestinal problem that provoked a pain that didn’t end up with an injury. I recovered in five days and luckily I don’t even remember it. But I still follow a treatment of probiotics so the intestine doesn’t cause any more problems.
Q: On your blog, you described how the day-to-day life of a tennis player wasn’t just about training and compete. In that sense, what’s the balance between staying healthy and being in shape when you go out to the courts and the role of your partner in that process?
PS: The health of each of us is totally independent from the other. In my case, I’m very careful with my diet and I do very specific work of muscular toning every day that keeps me strong. My sports doctor (with whom I talk on a daily basis) and my physio are fundamental so Ican feel at 100 per cent every day. With my physio, I work two hours per day.
New waves of change in women’s tennis in Argentina are not just the feat of Paula Ormaechea. Suárez also rejoices with the recent good news from the junior front, with Nadia Podoroska entering the WTA ranking at 15 (thus making her the world’s second-best ranked junior of the class of 1997). However, she’s keeping in mind that work still needs to be done.
Q: What do you think of the arrival of Argentine youngsters like Podoroska and Victoria Bosio, among others, to the WTA ranks?
PS: I’m very happy to know that despite the difficulties, there are girls at such young age who are working hard and trying to step up into the circuit. The challenge is the same for everyone. You have to improve each day and be constant. Regardless of the adversities that present themselves.
Q: Is there any advice you would give to girls who look for a way to reach professional status?
PS: Instead of advice, I would suggest them to be surrounded by good professionals. And good people. More specifically by those who actually know about tennis.
Q: Were you aware that, since last year, there are bigger womens’ circuits in prize money and points in Argentina? Could this influence the development of the players?
PS: I said it all my life. There is an important lack of female tournaments in Argentina. I think it’s a key factor and we’re still very far from having a similar amount of tournaments that other dominant countries in tennis have. The path is correct, but there’s still more things to do.
It may be a nice twist of fate for Suárez and her partner, Gisela Dulko, as Vera Zvonareva’s withdrawal from the tournament (due to an ongoing shoulder injury) made them be 17th seeds, avoiding the trickiest pairs in early rounds. Darya Kustova and Anna Tatishvili will be their opponents in the first round, Tuesday. Who knows, a win there may be one of many to come in Paris.
Sebastián Capristo is a tennis journalist. You can read some of his work in Revista GRIP, El Tenis Que No Vemos, and TenisChile.com.
Photo courtesy of Paola Suárez, via her Twitter page, @paolasuarezOK