Tennis: France's Golovin set for big 2008

2nd January 2008, Comments 0 comments

Precocious teenager, France's Tatiana Golovin believes she is ready to make the quantum leap

PERTH, Australia, January 1, 2008 - Four years after bursting on to the
tennis scene as a precocious teenager, France's Tatiana Golovin believes she
is ready to make the quantum leap from talented youngster to top-10 player.
   Golovin was just 15 when she made her Grand Slam debut at the 2004
Australian Open and stunned the tennis world by reaching the fourth round.
   That performance, along with another fourth-round appearance at Wimbledon
and a mixed doubles title at the French Open, saw her named tour newcomer of
the year, but injuries have meant her emergence has been a little slower than
many expected.
   However, a stellar finish to 2007, with narrow losses in successive finals
against world number one Justine Henin in October and a career-high ranking of
13, has the Russian-born and Miami-based 19-year-old poised to make her mark.
   Golovin also claimed her first two singles titles this year and said here
Sunday she was full of confidence about 2008.
   "A lot," she told AFP when asked what confidence she took from her late
season form.
   "I thought I was playing amazing and it was a shame I had to stop there and
have to start all over again.
   "It's going to take time, but I definitely know what I can do.
   "I know I can beat the top players, I have beaten them before, and I know I
can play consistently for two or three weeks.
   "Now it is just a matter of really focusing on the Grand Slams, staying
healthy, and really believing in myself."
   Golovin has battled various injuries in the last couple of years and was
frustratingly sidelined by ankle and respiratory problems at various times
during 2007, while a knee injury prematurely ended her season.
   However, she was confident those dramas were behind her.
   "It was unfortunate that I had to stop for two and a half months in the
middle of the year when I was playing so well on clay," she said.
   "It takes a while to come back, but I was very happy with how I ended (the
season) and it gave me something to look forward to."
   The glamorous Golovin looked in fine fettle as she opened the new season
with an impressive straight sets win over Argentina's world No.38 Gisela Dulko
at the mixed teams Hopman Cup.
   She heads into the new year with a new coach, Glen Schapp, who previously
worked with Dinara Safina and Nadia Petrova and is known as a strict
   Golovin said the pair were working towards fine-tuning her all-round game.
   "We started working together two weeks ago," she said.
   "He's out there with me every day and making me work hard, he's very
   "We're working on coming in (to the net) and I hit a couple of volleys
   "My doubles game is improving, we are working on a lot of things, just
little touch ups."
   Golovin obviously values representing her country and has already marked
the Beijing Olympics in her calendar.
   "Olympics is like a dream come true, being able to participate," she said.
   "My dad (Gregori) is a hockey player and he taught us how much the Olympics
matter to an athlete and for a career.
   "I missed out three years ago, so it is definitely going to be a priority."
   Golovin's win over Dulko helped France to a 2-1 in its opening Hopman Cup
tie, raising its hopes of finally winning the mixed teams event at the 15th
   France's next tie is against top-seeded Serbia and Golovin will get a
significant test of where her game is at when she faces world No.3 Jelena
Jankovic in the singles.

Scott Coghlan


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