Je ne sais pas si on va revoir Mario de si tot!!Lisez plutot cet article mais il n'a pas l'air en forme!!Courage Mario
Not so Super Mario 5:00AM Sunday January 06, 2008
By Gregor Paul
If there there was one thing Mario Ancic didn't look yesterday, it was super.
The big Croat had just finished his first training session for two weeks after being laid low by a vomiting bug that had him virtually bedridden since it hit on Boxing Day.
He looked like a man in need of a serious feed, his frame so devoid of meat you'd worry about sending him out to buy milk in a stiff breeze.
You'd certainly worry about him having to play fourth seed Juan Carlos Ferrero in his opening match, as he will have to do.
For much of the hour and a half that he was plugging away on the back court he was huffing and puffing, clearly toiling in the heat.
Dubbed Super Mario by the British tabloids after he reached the semifinals of Wimbledon in 2004, Ancic is a long way from living up to his moniker. Being drawn against the 28-year-old Spaniard was not ideal but Ancic is getting used to overcoming adversity.
The last two weeks have by no means been the worst for the 23-year-old. Illness and injury have plagued him since February last year when he contracted glandular fever. That kept him out of action until August and, just as he was feeling his way into form, his right shoulder packed a sad and he was back to spectating for another two months.
All that time not playing saw his world ranking slide from No 7 to No 83 which has, to say the least, made it a frustrating period.
But the important thing for him now is he feels he's at least back on the path to redemption. The bad times, he's sure, are now behind him.
"I am just happy to be back playing tennis," he said. "I have had a lot of bad luck and this was my first practice today for 14 days. I hope now with 2007 out of the way all my bad luck is finished and Auckland can be my turning point."
Auckland has been a happy hunting ground for him in the past. He came here in 2006, defeated the British hope Andy Murray in the second round and went on to the final where he lost to Jarkko Nieminen.
It was just the boost the Ancic star needed to continue its ascent and hemanaged to break into the world's top 10.
"Two years ago Auckland was a turning point for me. I played my finest tennis after a good start here. I am going to have to take things one match at a time.
"I just want to be healthy and I know that because of all the hard work I have put in, I will soon recover after missing training for the last two weeks.
"I know in the next few days I will start to feel better."
That's about as far as Ancic will commit with regards to his future. When he says he's given little thought to his performance goals this week, there's a real sense he means it.
His goal for the last few days has been simply to get upright and to get through a tough couple of hours training on court without feeling like death warmed up.
And now he's done that he's got no idea what's ahead of him once he actually makes it on to court.
"I really don't know what to expect," he said. "The depth of men's tennis makes it tough. I want to try and get into shape over the next couple of days.
"I'm looking forward to the fight and I know there are a lot of Croatian supporters here so hopefully I can do well and go on and have a good 2008."
He'll need all the support he can get against Ferrero, currently ranked 24th in the world. But Ancic is due some good luck and there is no doubting his determination to once again be known as Super Mario.