After a series of injuries Magdalena Maleeva is back on court. When she started 1998 with two great wins over Sabine Appelmans and Chanda Rubin, everybody expected that Maggie had finally regained her top form. Her performance at the 1999 Australian Open as well as her Fed Cup performace showed that she had some serious problems.
After playing in La Manga as a part of the Bulgarian Fed Cup team, it became clear that she had a very serious injury which needed a sergery intervetnion to be cured. In July, 1998 Magdalena was opperated and she needed a recovery period of about six months which was afterwards enlarged to almost an year.
She came back on the court in the beginning of May, 1999- stronger than ever. Slowly, but permanently she improved her form- she won her first match, enetered the WTA rankings and reached her first 1/2 final in three years, matching her best grass performance ever. After her semifinal loss, Maggie said :I could win the tournament, that's why I am a bit angry Óbout it but I will definitely keep the positive emotions from that tourney.With a certain wins over players as Anke Huber and Jana Novotna, she betterd her WTA ranking.
When everybody believed that Maggie had overpassed the injuries, she became injured again. So Maggie was out of the court for about a couple of months, but she came back to defeat the N 3 seeded and N9 in the world- Jana Novotna in Luxemburg, after playing four matches in the qualifications. As ╣132 in the world Maggie couldn't eneter the main draw in Pattaya, Thailand, so she had to pass the qualifiacations first. Her way of play showed that she in not only able to pass them, but also to win the whole event. And she did it in the most impressive way - upset three seeded players. In the second round agains Panova of Russia she saved a few matchpoints, which showed a good self-confidence. In the final she upset the 4 seeded Ann Kremer of Luxemburg
At the age of 24 and after more than a year and a half out of the court Magdalena Maleeva won her seventh WTA title, giving an end to a four years title draught. "I didn't believe it I could do it"says Maggie"I feel tired to death". She gave herself a week of rest and then played in small $50 000 event in Paris. She won it, matching 13 matches won in a row and two tourneys won in a row- fabulous results which helped her confidence and her way of play.
Maggie started the year 2000 quite impressively, reaching the quarterfinals of the Sydney tourney with fabulous results - she defeated the young Australian hope A. Molik and the N1 seeded player J. Halard-Decusis in two sets both to 1 or 0. Then she had some very close matches vs C. Morariu, N. Dechy and A. Sugiyama, which Maggie lost ( they were both either very tough three set matches or a 7-6 7-6 match). This probably reflexed on her confidence and she had some months when she hardly passed a round. However, it seems that everything is O.K with her and with the French open coming we shall expect some great performance of Maggie.
Magdalena Maleeva is the youngest of the Maleeva sisters, but she is considered the most talented one. She started her tennis career in Bulgaria, there she was several times Bulgarian champ (the youngest Bulgarian champ ever), she has also won the European Junior's title ( with a win over A. Huber in the 1/2 finals), Orange Bowl ( with a win over M. Pierce in the final), The Aus Open Juniors, Roland Garos Juniors and Us Open Juniors in one year, a leader in the juniors rankings with no rivelry at all. Her enormous potential and her way of play (while the other two Maleevas are considered mainly base line players, Maggie feels compfortable everywhere on the court) helped her to become one of the most considerable tennis players in the history of tennis. She together with the other class players (Graf, Seles, Navratilova, Sances, Martinez, the other Maleevas, Capriati etc) lead the game to a new, better level.
However, Maggie is one of the tennis players that suffer injuries most oftenly. After 1996 Maggie is playing with some kind of injuries, the most serious of which prevented her to play more than a year and a half, which prevent her to reveal her great potential. Hopefully she has finally overpassed all those injuries.