Sabine Lisicki has fulfilled a childhood dream by reaching the Wimbledon final just three years after she feared her career was in ruins.
Lisicki came out on top in one of the best matches of this Wimbledon, defeating Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4 2-6 9-7 on Thursday in the second semi-final on Centre Court.
The German’s progression to the final is a just reward for the determination and guile she has shown since suffering a serious ankle injury playing at Indian Wells in 2010.
The 23-year-old spent six weeks on crutches after having an operation on her left ankle and she had to rely on help from her physiotherapist to enable her to walk again.
The 24th seed never felt like giving up her fight to regain full fitness.
“I always believed I could come back, no matter what happened,” Lisicki said.
“I can still remember when the doctor told me that I had to be on crutches the next six weeks. The first question I asked him was, ‘When can I play again?’.
“That period made me such a much stronger person and player.
“I know anything is possible after learning how to walk again.”
Lisicki dropped to below the 200 mark in the rankings after her time on the sidelines, but she made a surprising run to the semi-finals of Wimbledon two years ago.
This year she has gone one better, making the final after beating illustrious names including Serena Williams, Sam Stosur and Francesca Schiavone along the way.
As a self-confessed Wimbledon fanatic, it would be something of a fairytale ending for Lisicki if she were to beat Marion Bartoli on Centre today. “It’s something I’ve been dreaming about since I was a little girl,” said Lisicki, who hails from Troisdorf, a small town in western Germany. “I just can’t wait to play.
“The first time I came to Wimbledon I fell in love with it.
“It was the place I always wanted to play at. It was always a dream to play on the Centre Court and win the tournament.”
The German collapsed to the floor in glee at making her dream of reaching the final come true, but there was a cold response from Radwanska, who offered her the weakest of handshakes at the net. That will not stop Lisicki from enjoying an emotional celebration if she wins today though.
Lisicki said: “Well, that’s just me. I enjoy myself out there. Why shouldn’t I show it? I’m an emotional person. It helps me to stay relaxed, enjoy the game, and play my best tennis.
“I won’t change anything.”
Lisicki is Germany’s first women’s singles finalist since Steffi Graf lost to Lindsay Davenport in 1999, and said: “It’s been a lot of fun. It’s been a great journey. It hasn’t finished yet.
“I think I’m really ready.”