Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Greg Has Only an outside Chance at SW19

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Greg Has Only an outside Chance at SW19

Article excerpt

Byline: By Frank Malley

There was a time when Greg Rusedski had the widest smile in tennis for good reason.

He was battling with Tim Henman for the British number one spot, possessed the fastest serve in the game at 149mph, and was a good shout to become the first British man to win a Grand Slam since Fred Perry back in 1936.

Indeed, when he reached the US Open final six years ago, losing valiantly in four sets to Australian Pat Rafter in a match played out in the emotional aftermath of Princess Diana's death, it seemed only time stood before him and tennis immortality.

Now however, the youthful impetuosity has gone and as he hurtles towards his 30th birthday in September, so it seems have his chances of winning Wimbledon.

Much of Rusedski's unfulfilled potential can be ascribed to injury. At one time or another he has claimed to have just about every ailment known to sports medicine.

He was sidelined for eight months after losing to Pete Sampras in last year's US Open with a foot injury, and then a knee operation has seen his world ranking plummet.

His comeback was curtailed in May when his management failed to book him a place in two ATP events and he was forced to scramble around for action on the Challenger circuit. Wherever you turn there seems to have been an obstacle in the way of Rusedski's ambition.

But if the big Montreal-born left-hander is honest with himself he would have to admit that he has often been his own worst enemy.

Within hours of his 1997 US Open final appearance Rusedski sacked the coach, New Zealand's Brian Teacher, who had got him there. It was a ruthless demonstration of Rusedski's potential to self destruct, prompted by a row over money.

Teacher was the man who had identified and begun to remedy the flaws in Rusedski's game. He had worked on his backhand and improved his return of serve immeasurably.

With Teacher, Rusedski had reached number four in the world.

Without him his career has fallen away

The harder Rusedski tried the more he struggled to match the feats of British number one Henman, who has at least appeared in four Wimbledon semi-finals. …

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