Hantuchova breaks her silence

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by kooyah, Sep 1, 2004.

  1. kooyah

    kooyah Rookie

    Mar 22, 2004
    Pretty good article.


    Hantuchova breaks her silence

    Matthew Cronin / tennisreporters.net
    Posted: 8 hours ago

    NEW YORK - There are your run-of-the-mill daughters and then there are those who go out of their way to protect their parents, sacrificing their own reputations in the process.

    Daniela Hantuchova represents the latter and for the past year-and-a-half, has been under tremendous scrutiny for her rapid weight loss in 2003, with many accusing her of being anorexic.
    Hantuchova withstood accusations that all she cared about was how good she looked, that vanity was why she dropped all the weight. All the while, she was stressing out because her parents — Igor and Marianna — got separated last year. Her weight loss, and subsequent loss of confidence in herself and consequently her career, was a standard 20-year-old's reaction to having the two most important people in her life break the nest in half.

    "That was the main reason," Hantuchova told tennisreporters.net.

    Hantuchova is not comfortable talking about the subject. Even though she could have eliminated the speculation surrounding her weight loss by revealing she was under tremendous emotional stress due to her parents' conflict, she kept mum on the subject.

    Consequently, she endured hours upon hours of questions about her eating habits and read article after article that said the reason why she dropped from No. 5 at the beginning of last year to No. 19 at year's end (suffering some shocking early round losses on the way) was primarily because she was too thin — not because she was choking winnable matches due to the loss of control of her emotions. But she didn't, because she wanted to protect her parents' privacy.

    "I didn't want to put my family into an area where they were being talked about," she said. "I wouldn't be that stupid to talk about that to the press so that they would be ridiculed."

    While Hantuchova accomplished what she set out to do in protecting her parents, she also damaged her reputation as well as her health in the process. She wasn't eating enough because her stomach was too upset to take down the proper amount of food. She lost her strength and power on her shots and was called a choker.

    But the whole time, she was being as loyal a daughter as she could be and withstood the storm of criticism without leaving the tour to personally recover. She stood up, took the blows and is now a stronger person because of it.

    "It was very difficult and very hard, but I'm over it now," Hantuchova said, adding that her relationship with both her parents is good. "But I would appreciate if the media didn't ask me about it anymore.

    On Wednesday at the U.S. Open, the 32nd-ranked Hantuchova scored her biggest Grand Slam win of the year by upsetting No. 17 Alicia Molik of Australia 6-4, 6-3. That win came after Hantuchova's perilous first-round victory, where she had to go to great depths to knock off the obscure Camille Pim, 9-7 in the third set tiebreaker. For a while, it looked as if the former top-five player would gag again against a lesser opponent. Her coach, Nigel Sears, was so distraught that he left the court.

    "It was such a relief because I've been in that situation so many times before where I gave the match to the opponent" she said. "I found a way to get back and then lost in the end. Now I'm starting to win these matches."

    Finding the confidence again that brought her to three Grand Slam quarterfinals will likely take the Slovak another six months or so. But she's not only put back on the weight she lost; she actually weighs more than she did before the incident and is in far better shape. She's always had the weapons and the on-court smarts to be a Slam winner, but so much of winning on the elite level is mental. Hantuchova said that's she's a new woman after she managed to avoid choking against Pin.

    "That first match was so important because I appreciated so much that I was still in the tournament," she said. "It will make me stronger. It gave me a second life. Against Molik, I felt free and relaxed. I knew I was the underdog and no one expected me to win. I play my best when there are no expectations. That's how I should approach every match. I put a lot of pressure on her and didn't give her a second chance. I need to go for shots because the only way I can get back is to go for it."

    In the next round, Hantuchova faces 15th-seeded Patty Schnyder, who beat her at the Olympics. Should she get by that match, Serena Williams likely will be waiting in the fourth round. Hantuchova can play with both those competitors if she's feeling strong inside. Now that the proverbial cat is out of the bag about the reason for her struggles, maybe she'll be able to keep her mind on the court and be the player she knows she can be.

    "I don't care about rankings; it's how I play technically and how I am on court mentally," she said. "If I focus like I did today, then the old form will come back."
  2. Deuce

    Deuce Banned

    Feb 13, 2004
    A not so parallel universe...
    I was watching her practice in the summer, and on top of having a healthier appearance than in the past, she seemed like quite a nice person. She was hitting with a local guy who was a complete stranger to her, and she would apologize every time she hit a shot that was awkward for him to handle. She must have said "Sorry" a couple of dozen times. As well, when they played a few games (I think she was ahead 5-1 when they stopped), she warned him about an air bubble on the court as they were changing sides.

    She seemed rather well grounded. I think it would be mutually beneficial if she and Dokic became good friends, considering their recent respective circumstances.
  3. Camilio Pascual

    Camilio Pascual Hall of Fame

    Feb 11, 2004
    Too bad her parents weren't loyal to her.
  4. Chuck

    Chuck New User

    Feb 19, 2004
    I've always been a Hantuchova fan. I like her game and the way she plays. Even so, her stock just went up a bunch in my humble opinion.
  5. baseliner

    baseliner Professional

    Mar 1, 2004
    Just goes to show we shouldn't be too quick to indict a player. Remember all those posts about her weight and her concern for her looks. Look kindof silly at this point. Pair this with the Dokic mess and I think I'll go home after work and hug my kids.
  6. Fat Boy

    Fat Boy New User

    Mar 9, 2004
    I had another think about why Dani is so popular - yeah I know I'm a saddo with too much time on my hands.

    1. She's very attractive. But this is not the only reason - Kournikova is more attractive but no-one likes her much.

    2. She has a pleasant unassuming personality, and (the killer as far as men are concerned) an air of vulnerability.

    3. Her game is good to watch. She is classy at the net and comes in behind approach shots a lot for a woman.

    4. Because she makes so many mistakes and keeps choking on big points, her matches are a rollercoaster of tension, hope and despair - pure entertainment for the sports fan.

    5. She has a British coach, and that makes her an honorary Brit. Believe me, when your top woman player is that household name Anne Keothavong, ranked 170, you need all the help you can get.
  7. i.Radical

    i.Radical Semi-Pro

    Apr 16, 2004
    She's a good girl. I've always been a fan of her, and I will continue to cheer her on. I really hope she does well in this tournament, if she loses, it won't be without a fight!
  8. dropshot

    dropshot New User

    Aug 24, 2004
    what a nice girl.. I have tremendous respect for her.

Share This Page