PARIS (Reuters) - Svetlana Kuznetsova needed crutches to move around a few months ago so despite serving “like a grandmother” in her quarter-final defeat to Serena Williams on Tuesday the beaten Russian was pleased with her French Open efforts.
“Kuzi”, who dropped to 85th in the world after a six-month knee injury layoff after Wimbledon last year, was hindered by an abdominal strain as she lost 6-1 3-6 6-3 to the American world number one.
After the loss of the first set, the Russian took a medical time out to have her stomach taped.
“I taped my stomach stronger than I had before, because it was killing me and I couldn’t serve,” the 2009 Roland Garros champion told a news conference.
“I took a lot of pills and stuff. My serve didn’t go up to its normal speed. I was serving like a grandmother. But still, at least I had a little bit less pain.”
Kuznetsova seemed more at ease on return games, allowing Serena to hold serve only once as she claimed the second set.
“Against Serena, it’s a bit complicated to play like that. And still it was very even and I had my chances,” she said.
As painful as the experience was, the Russian still enjoyed her time on Court Suzanne Lenglen, after going through some rough times in the past months.
“I was looking in the crowd and thinking that I was lying back with my broken knee in my bed and thinking, ‘I don’t want to play U.S. Open, I’m so tired’,” she explained.
“I could not even walk. I was with crutches all the time.
“I was extremely pleased with the way I performed here, and I just need to keep going the same way.”
Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Justin Palmer