Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the United States sat in the interview room all calm and clinical in explaining a devastating knee injury she is trying to overcome. Her knee seemed to be of more interest to her than a Wednesday loss to Alize Cornet of France.
The important thing for Sands was that her comeback from the injury continued successfully — in other words, no serious pain — in the opening round of the Miami Open at the Tennis Center at Crandon Park.
Sands was not successful in terms of a result – a 6-2, 7-5 loss to Alize Cornet of France – but the smile on Sands’ face revealed more than that score.
In her first tour event since the injury, her knee held up just fine.
And Sands could certainly afford to get that knee fixed properly since she has won $6,798,663 during her career. She is well-known for her doubles play, capturing five Grand Slam titles in mixed doubles and two in women’s doubles.
Of Wednesday’s effort, she said, “The knee felt good, and I’m happy about that. “That’s what I am most happy about … how I felt.”
It has been less than a year since the devastating knee injury at Wimbledon sent her collapsing to the grass court, screaming, “Help me … help me” as spectators in the venerable stadium turned silent. She had dislocated her kneecap and ruptured her patellar tendon.
“The injury was in the middle of a match, so it was televised,” Sands said. “At some point afterward, I just told myself this was another first day in my journey through life.”
The result is still visible, an all-too-apparent scar on her right knee.
Sands was asked what she thinks about when she looks down at that scar.
She smiled and said, “I just look at it and send it a lot of love.”
Overcoming the damage has not been an easy road, particularly the mental part of it.
“The physical part I worked hard to accomplish in physical therapy,” she said, “but there is also a mental part.” She was talking about re-gaining trust in her leg and knee again.
“I wanted to re-frame my mind,” she said, “and I hope that is what I have done.”
VENUS: OVER AND OUT
Venus Williams, 37, gave one of the shorter interviews in Miami Open history.
Asked about playing in Miami, she responded, “We just try to win a match, whoever we play.”