Dinara Safina knew something we didn't know - she was playing with pain.
After easily defeating Daniela Hantuchova 6-2, 6-4 in LA, the world's top lady baller revealed she's been competing with pain in the patella of her left leg beginning at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix back in April through Wimbledon and had been taking anti-inflammatory meds along the way. The pain was so bad a times she would "see stars" every time she would bend.
Dinara explained why she never revealed the information publicly saying,
I don't like to find excuses. This is my personality. On the court, I will never call trainer if I have a headache. If I call for somebody, it must be really bad.
I can appreciate that reasoning and it could explain why she lost so badly in big matches. But why has Dinara decided to reveal this information now? Is it to "explain" some of her recent, crushing defeats at the majors and rebuff the claims she doesn't have what it takes to be a "true" No. 1?
Let's be honest, though. By her own account she wasn't dealing with this patella issue in January during the Oz Open when she couldn't serve her way out of a corner and was routed by Serena Williams in the final. But it certainly couldn't help the serving issues having her left knee, which is used to push off during serving for a righty, get wonky.
Dinara isn't a great mover and her serve, like Shrieka's, is vital and sets up the rest of her game. Without it, she's toast. However, now that the issue is resolved it'll be interesting to see how her game evolves during the US Open Series and whether her on-court issues were due more to her knee problems or to her shaky mentality.
UPDATE: Congrats to D for becoming the first lady baller to qualify for the year-end WTA Championships!
(image via getty)