x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

Door has not slammed shut on Petrova yet

Most would consider Nadia Petrova past her prime. But never say never in women's tennis.

Nadia Petrova of Russia is now 30 years old.
Nadia Petrova of Russia is now 30 years old.

Nadia Petrova has spent 14 years on the WTA tour and her deepest runs at a grand slam are two semi-final appearances at the French Open. The 30-year-old Russian, however, hopes to win one before she leaves the game.

"There are a few players who have won grand slams after 30, and I feel like I don't want to walk away from tennis without accomplishing the same," Petrova said after her victory in Tokyo on Saturday.

"I still find the will to wake up every morning and go on the court and just try to improve with each day.

"If it's meant to happen it will, but if it doesn't, at the end of my career I'll know I've done everything I could to achieve it."

But is it possible? At her prime, and she reached No 3 in the world rankings in 2006, Petrova was considered an underachiever. Now, most would consider her past her prime. But never say never in women's tennis.

If we take Serena Williams out of the list of grand slam winners since 2010, seven women have won a major, with Kim Clijsters being the only repeat winner. And three of those champions have been late bloomers - Francesca Schiavone, Samantha Stosur and Li Na.

Can Petrova emulate them? She defeated three top-10 players - Agnieszka Radwanska, Samantha Stosur and Sara Errani - on her way to the Tokyo title. So an 11th hour slam to cap her career? It's possible.

arizvi@thenational.ae