Tennis: Erakovic struggles to cope with nerves

Marina Erakovic admits she needs to deal with nerves better if she is to progress deeper into a grand slam tournament. Photo / Getty Images.
Marina Erakovic admits she needs to deal with nerves better if she is to progress deeper into a grand slam tournament. Photo / Getty Images.

Marina Erakovic admits she needs to deal with nerves better if she is to progress deeper into a grand slam tournament after she was ousted in the second round of the singles at Wimbledon this morning.

The Kiwi No 1 and world's 49th-ranked player was beaten 6-4 6-3 by Italian Roberta Vinci in her second-round match but is still in the doubles after teaming up with Thai partner Tamarine Tanasugarn to beat the Chinese pairing of Shuai Peng and Jie Zheng 6-2 6-2.

Erakovic and Tanasugarn, who reached the semifinals at Wimbledon last year, will face the Polish duo of Klaudia Jans-Ignacik and Alicja Rosolska in the second round.

But it's in the singles where Erakovic wants to make her name. Her best result at a grand slam was in 2008 when she reached the third round but has 10 times been knocked out in the first or second.

She came under considerable pressure from Vinci today as she struggled with the way the 21st seed mixed up her approach with sliced backhands, serve and volley and drop shots.

Her first serve, while consistent (she got 71 per cent in), didn't have enough venom to worry Vinci and she was broken five times in the match.

On top of that, Erakovic also admitted she needs to deal with the occasion better.

"It was a tough one for me today," she said. "Roberta played very well. She's a tricky player on grass, has a very good slice and was serving very well. She played better [than me] today. It's a bit disappointing. I have to look at it and learn from it and move on.

"It's more learning to deal with the second rounds and third rounds at a grand slam. I felt as though I have a good enough game to play well against anyone but it's just a matter of bringing it out on match day at a special occasion like Wimbledon, just controlling nerves. The more times I get into these situations, the better I will deal with them.

"[The mental side is] definitely a huge part. I wouldn't say it all comes down to that. For every player the nerves and mental aspect is huge, not just me. Everyone deals with it in different ways. I still have a lot more learning to do to get to that high level that some players are at at the moment. I'm sure the top 10 players deal with it much better."

Erakovic will return to singles action at Wimbledon for next month's Olympics.

Her second round doubles clash is late tonight.

"I feel we are capable of doing really well," Erakovic said. "I don't like to compare things to the year before but we play well on grass and today we played a good match. We just have to keep at it."

- APNZ

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