Two years ago, a chilling sound jarred Wimbledon’s hallowed grounds: a players’ voice crying for assist.
The sound came from Court 17, wherein fans were engrossed in a women’s 2d-round in shape. Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who had received a wild card into the occasion, and Sorana Cirstea had simply begun playing the third set. What occurred next become one of the awful scenes our recreation has ever seen. When Mattek-Sands approached the net, she slipped and took a scary fall. Clutching her knee, she repeatedly screamed, “Help me, please! Help me!”
Soon, the screams turned into heavy sobs.
Pinned to the floor through the damage—a ruptured patella tendon and dislocated kneecap—her horror-stricken opponent rushed to the other side of the internet. A sobbing Lucie Safarova, who had heard about the gruesome injury on TV, ran to Court 17 to test on her distressed desirable pal and doubles partner. The then-pinnacle-seeded tandem, known through their fanatics as “Team Bucie,” changed into bidding for a non-calendar Slam, having received 3 consecutive majors—the 2016 US Open, 2017 Australian Open and the French Open.
“I simply take into account going as much as the internet and listening to a loud pop,” Mattek-Sands contemplated at the harm. “I felt like my leg couldn’t guide me. Then I checked out it and it didn’t even make feel. I idea I may want to alter it and placed it back in place, but I couldn’t. That’s when I screamed, ‘Help me.’”
Mattek-Sands again to the courtroom in 2018, but skilled another knee-caused absence earlier this 12 months. Last week in Eastbourne become her first match since the Australian Open—and her first play on grass for the reason that harm at Wimbledon years ago.
In an interview with Tennis Channel’s international correspondent Prakash Amritraj, which you may watch above, Mattek-Sands admits that gambling on grass again makes her a touch apprehensive.
“It becomes a bit rainy today, so I…you understand before the suit I became much like I kind of talked to my crew,” stated Mattek Sands, who finished runner-up in doubles with Kirsten Flipkens. “I turned into simply… I’m now not gonna mess around if there are some drips of water obtainable. But for the maximum part, I’ve been training on the grass at domestic for the remaining month, so I sense stable on the court docket right there.”
Since Safarova hung up her racquet in June, the doubles stalwart is now tasked with locating players she will be able to partner with the relaxation of the season. At Wimbledon, she’ll play with Danielle Collins; in San Jose, she’ll play with Zheng Saisai.
Does Mattek-Sands discover it tough gambling with specific partners?
“I’m playing it right now. I’m gambling with humans that I know well. Playing with ladies that I’m pals with. I keep it pretty comfortable obtainable. Most of the time we’re guffawing on changeovers.”
While rehabbing her knee harm, the former doubles No. 1 took benefit of the downtime to rediscover her love of the sport, and to work on her different love: style. Since turning seasoned in 1999, she has continually pushed the game’s sartiorial boundaries: amongst different clothing, she’s sported a tennis ball jacket, a leopard print, a metallic dress, a straw hat, eye black—and, of direction, her signature knee-excessive socks.
So it wasn’t surprising that during November of 2018, Mattek-Sands introduced her new partnership with tennis fashion emblem Lucky in Love. She debuted the road, that is inspired by way of her formidable tattoos and her fashion style, at this year’s Australian Open.
This week at Wimbledon, Mattek-Sands and American compatriot Collins fittingly received their first-rounder at the Fourth of July. She’ll compete alongside Jamie Murray in the blended doubles tournament.
“I’m attempting out some companions,” she says with a grin. “They’re all friends of mine although. That’s what keeps it steady.”