What a difference a month makes.
Last month at the French Open, 21-year-old tennis player Sabine Lisicki was taken off the court on a stretcher after losing a tough match to Vera Zvonereva. She was overcome with fatigue, cramps and emotion.
Today at Wimbledon, she wept for another reason.
The 62nd-ranked Lisicki, who received a wildcard into the tournament, stunned the tennis world by defeating third-seeded French Open champion Li Na.
The match went the distance, with Lisicki winning the third set 8-6. Down 5-3 in the third set and two match points, Lisicki came storming back to win the ninth game of the set with four straight serves that clocked in at more than 120 miles per hour, showing fans why her nickname is “Boom Boom.”
Lisicki, who has battled injuries throughout her young career, missed five months in 2010, including Wimbledon, with an ankle injury and she saw her ranking drop 150 spots. She wasn’t even able to watch tennis on television during her time away from the sport, saying it was just too painful.
But today was her day.
After serving her way back into the match in the third set, she went on to win three of the next four games, and collapsed to her knees behind the baseline after securing the win. After getting up and thanking the crowd, she sank into her courtside chair and wept openly in a feel good moment that was hard not to get caught up in.
“It’s been such a long and hard road to come back from my [ankle] injury,” Lisicki told the media after the match. “I really had to start from zero. In the last two and a half months, I just started to play step by step, better and better.”
She described the time she spent off the court last year as terrible.
“I really, literally had no muscles in my left calf after seven weeks on crutches,” she said. “I had to learn how to walk again. So it’s been a very, very long road back and a tough road back, but that makes this moment sweeter.”
Lisicki will play 133rd-ranked Misaki Doi in the third round. Doi is a qualifier who knocked 30th-seeded Bethany Mattek-Sands out of the tournament in the first round.