HAVEN — For Barbara Schett, the numbers will eventually fall into place .
Right now, she's in a better
place and it's making a world of difference in her tennis game.
disposed of qualifier Nathalie Dechy of France, 7-6 (8-6), 6-2 Monday to advance
to the second round of
the singles' main draw at the Pilot Pen tennis tournament . Schett's next
opponent at the
Connecticut Tennis Center
will be either qualifier Asa Carlsson of Sweden or fifth-seeded Justine Henin of
After reaching a world ranking in 1999 as high as No. 7 , Schett dropped to 23rd
after battling injuries.
Things look better now for the 25-year-old Austrian, who is currently the WTA's
20th-ranked player . A week ago
she took 10th-ranked Serena Williams to three sets before falling in the round
of 16 at the Roger AT&T Cup in
Toronto. Earlier this year she defeated then No. 2 Venus Williams at the French
Open. She has made the quarterfinals
in five of her last six Grand Slams.
Schett's turnaround in play this season has a lot to do with her attitude. After
parting with former coach Thomas Prerovsky,
with whom she had an up-and-down relationship, Schett is enjoying new coach
Harald Mair, who she
first teamed with in early December.
"With a new coach, you have to take your time. But I'm just having fun
playing tennis again," Schett said. "My coach
is very positive, which is good for me. My old coach ... wasn't so positive. I
trust my (new) coach."
Schett knows the change in how she feels about tennis is a definite boost to her
"It's very important," she said. "If you have problems, if you
don't like yourself, it's hard to play very well."
A year ago Schett battled injuries much of the time, including pulled stomach
muscles and a slight knee malady. She
also discovered a problem with a leaky heart valve.
"I'm 25 now, but I can remember when I was 22, I thought it was a joke that
everyone was always injured and always
in the training room," Schett said. "Now, I'm in the training room all
the time. If you play tennis like we do
all the time, it's not healthy for your body. You have to take care of it."
Now healthy , Schett admitted she didn't play well early against Dechy Monday,
going to a tie-breaker before taking
the first set.
"I made a lot of unforced errors," Schett said. "But it was also
good to win when I didn't play unbelievably well."
Schett was able to finish off Dechy just before the skies opened up.
"I was getting a little nervous," she said. "I returned a ball
and I saw the lightning. I said, 'OK, get your concentration together
and close it up now.' I was just getting a little nervous (with the storm coming