Mattek-Sands at peace despite memories of horror injury

2018-07-05 19:20
Bethanie Mattek-Sands (Getty)

London - One year on from suffering a horrific broken knee cap at Wimbledon which left her so incapacitated that she couldn't go the bathroom by herself, Bethanie Mattek-Sands has made her peace with the All England Club.

Last year, the colourful American slipped and fell as she closed in on a routine volley on Court 17 in a singles match against Sorana Cirstea.

As she fell, she dislocated her right knee which left her screaming for help as she lay on the ground for an agonising 20 minutes being comforted by distraught husband Justin.

On Thursday, Mattek-Sands -- playing on Court Five and not 17 -- reunited with best friend and Grand Slam winning partner Lucie Safarova for a first round victory in the women's doubles.

"I came here early last week and went back to Court 17," Mattek-Sands revealed.

"I had to get the emotions out, it was something I didn't want to avoid. I wanted to give myself some room to feel sadness or anger.

"I felt good about it. I'm happy to say that my knee and Court 17 are on speaking terms again. They have a much better relationship."

There wasn't a lot of laughter for the 33-year-old American as she battled to rebuild her career back home in Arizona.

Her singles ranking slumped to 290 and 104 in doubles.

She only returned to action in Miami in March and only won her first singles match at the French Open.

However, she insisted she never got downcast during the eight months of rehabilitation which followed surgery.

"It gave me more time with the dogs, I did TV work, I explored Arizona, we renovated the house," she said.

"I had to celebrate small victories. So, OK, if I couldn't bend my knee 20 degrees but only 18, I had to wait.

"You have to remember that if I wanted to use the bathroom in the middle of the night I'd have to wake Justin and he'd have to carry me there and back."

On Thursday, she and Safarova made the second round with a straight sets win over 16th seeds Ludmyla Kichenok and Alla Kudryavtseva.

"It was an emotional moment but it felt like old times. It didn't feel like it had been 12 months," added the American.

"It was special to get back on grass and win playing with my 'bestie'."

"We played well. I didn't want this to be the beginning and end of my comeback."

Safarova and Mattek-Sands need a Wimbledon title to complete the career Grand Slam having won the Australian Open and French Open in 2015, the US Open 2016, Australian Open and French Open again 2017

"I'm happy that we are here again," said Safarova, who played her opening singles match on Monday on the infamous Court 17.

"Bethanie is my closest friend inside and outside tennis but we are taking things step by step."

One thing is for certain -- there's no way Wimbledon schedulers will tell Mattek-Sands to play on Court 17 again.

"I would request not to but I don't think I would have to explain the reasons why," Mattek-Sands added.

Wimbledon results on Thursday, the fourth day of the 2018 championships (x denotes seeded player):


2nd round

Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER x25) bt Gilles Muller (LUX) 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/3)

Kevin Anderson (RSA x8) bt Andreas Seppi (ITA) 6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 6-4

Guido Pella (ARG) bt Marin Cilic (CRO x3) 3-6, 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3), 7-5

John Isner (USA x9) bt Ruben Bemelmans (BEL) 6-1, 6-4, 6-7 (6/8), 6-7 (3/7), 7-5

Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE x31) bt Jared Donaldson (USA) 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3

Thomas Fabbiano (ITA) bt Stan Wawrinka (SUI) 7-6 (9/7), 6-3, 7-6 (8/6)

Frances Tiafoe (USA) bt Julien Benneteau (FRA) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2

Novak Djokovic (SRB x12) bt Horacio Zeballos (ARG) 6-1, 6-2, 6-3

Nick Kyrgios (AUS x15) bt Robin Haase (NED) 6-3, 6-4, 7-5

Gilles Simon (FRA) bt Matteo Berrettini (ITA) 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2

Alex De Minaur (AUS) bt Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) 6-2, 6-7 (8/10), 7-5, 6-3

Rafael Nadal (ESP x2) bt Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) 6-4, 6-3, 6-4


2nd round

Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE) bt Lara Arruabarrena (ESP) 6-3, 6-3

Elise Mertens (BEL x15) bt Sachia Vickery (USA) 6-1, 6-3

Daria Gavrilova (AUS x26) bt Samantha Stosur (AUS) 6-4, 6-1

Ashleigh Barty (AUS x17) bt Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) 6-4, 7-5

Daria Kasatkina (RUS x14) bt Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 6-2, 6-3

Angelique Kerber (GER x11) bt Claire Liu (USA) 3-6, 6-2, 6-4

Naomi Osaka (JPN x18) bt Katie Boulter (GBR) 6-3, 6-4

Carla Surez (ESP x27) bt Sara Sorribes (ESP) 6-4, 6-1

Barbora Strycova (CZE x23) bt Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) 6-1, 6-4

Katerina Siniakova (CZE) bt Ons Jabeur (TUN) 5-7, 6-4, 9-7


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