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Tennis Spy: Sabine Lisicki


Full name: Sabine Lisicki

Nationality: German (born in Troisdorf)

Age: 19 (DOB: September 22, 1989)

World Ranking: 43

Career highlights: Won first WTA title in Charleston last week without losing a set, beating Venus Williams in the last 16 and Caroline Wozniacki in the final. Also made final of WTA Tashkent in 2008, and semi-finals in Memphis just a few weeks ago, where she lost to Victoria Azarenka. Played on the German Fed Cup team.

General: A product of famous Nick Bollettieri Academy in Florida, Lisicki has sprung from almost nowhere in the past six months to storm up the rankings towards the end of her first full season on tour. Observers including Virginia Wade, Sam Smith and Eurosport's resident tennis expert Simon Reed have got her down for future stardom, and she'll be under close scrutiny over the next few weeks in the run-up to Roland Garros.

Strengths: Seems to have all the weapons she could need: tall and powerful with a big serve - her favourite shot - yet quick around the court and a good pair of hands as well. Plays a free and easy game, and not afraid to go after her shots time and again. Extremely aggressive approach seems to give her the ability to keep even the best players on the back-foot. Has the rare ability - best demonstrated by men such as Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray - of producing attacking cross-court shots while seemingly running out of court and about to lose the point.

Weaknesses: Focus and consistency rather than raw talent seem to be the big issues. Does she realise how good she could be? She seems to have struggled to reach her potential over the last year or so, and the major question mark still hanging over her is mental strength.

Prospects: Could be on the verge of stringing things together. Recent good performances don't have the look of lucky wins, or ones where she's happened to be timing the ball particularly well for a few weeks - she has oozed class and quality throughout. Best of all is that she seems to love every second of being out there and playing. Not only will that win her plenty of fans, it'll likely help her stay focused on getting better and better. And with that big serve of hers, a pound or two on a good run at Wimbledon might just help pay your rent for a month or two.

Personal: Coached by her doctor father, Richard, even though she lives and trains at Bollettieri's academy. Started playing aged seven, and loves competing on grass above all other surfaces. She is what Jane Austen might call accomplished: reads extensively, is a keen pianist and speaks three languages (English and Polish, as well as German). Is a big fan of other sports as well, particularly athletics, and her favourite book is Lance Armstrong's autobiography 'It's Not About the Bike'. Describes herself above all as a happy person - and has even named her Yorkshire terrier dog Happy'.

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