Translation of this online piece from Le Journal de Montréal April 16 2015
The Québecker Françoise Abanda, only 18, is probably her own worst critic.
‘In the last six months, I haven’t met my own expectations when it comes to my goals, my objectives,’ she affirms after a practice session up to the Fed Cup meeting in Montréal April 18-19. ‘There have been some matches I should have won. I’m thinking about my ranking too, I can better it.’
Abanda is at 260 in the WTA world rankings.
But she’s been ranked as high as 175 last autumn, which allowed her to take part in Slam qualies.
Abanda works hard to climb the rankings. She knows she especially needs to improve her serve, especially her second shot. On the other side of the court, the Québecker is still trying to adjust to the powerful serves of certain of her opponents.
‘I’ve played against players with the hardest serves like Sabine Lisicki [at the 2014 US Open, lost 6-3, 7-5] and Venus Williams [in Québec City] and it’s quick, not at all like the serves I’m used to in juniors. It’s like a weapon for them. You’re certain to start the point badly when your opponent puts you in difficulty.’
Abanda isn’t necessarily surprised by the strength of her opponents, she simply has to go through a period of adjustment.
‘When you’re going to play Venus, you know you’re going to receive bombs,’ she indicated. ‘I expected it, but it’s just that it’s tough receiving. The ball gets to you quickly and there’s not much reaction time.’
Become a model
Despite everything, Abanda did well in Québec against Venus Williams, losing in two sets 7-5, 6-3 last September.
The start of 2015 has been more difficult.
‘I haven’t won a lot of matches, but I’ve gained a lot of experience,’ noted Abanda, who would have liked to have beaten Shahar Peer during the Australian Open Qualies.
The young Québecker is visibly impatient for the experience to translate into important wins.
‘I play tennis to leave my mark, to help and be a positive influence on young people,’ she continued. ‘If I have the ability to do that, that’s my goal. If I can get recognised and become a role model, that would be mission accomplished.’
To achieve her noble ambitions, Abanda needs to climb in the world hierarchy. Having blown out her 18 candles in February, she still has a few years to get there.
Translated by MAN