It’s somewhat remarkable that Kristina Mladenovic is ranked as high as she is, given her form.
After a scintillating first half of the season during which she reached four WTA finals and the quarterfinals at Roland Garros, the Frenchwoman has not won a match since Washington DC in July.
Since then it’s been nine consecutive losses – all in straight sets.
Somehow, she’s still ranked No.13 and heads the field at this week’s WTA Kremlin Cup in Moscow.
As the top seed with a first-round bye, Mladenovic spoke about how loading up her schedule despite an injury had ended up costing her dearly.
“I had some issues after Wimbledon with my knee. I tore the inside ligament of my knee when I fell down in my second round match,” she told wtatennis.com.
“I came back from the holidays and that problem was solved. I had some issue because of compensation and I couldn’t handle the pain and I thought that I would keep playing like this, because it was not the right period to take a break, but it definitely was a wrong choice.
“My schedule until Wimbledon and US Open was fine, but I realised now that I made a mistake after US Open with too many tournaments on my schedule.”
Indeed, despite her professed physical struggles, Mladenovic nonetheless contested tournaments in four consecutive weeks immediately following the US Open – Tokyo [Japan Open], Tokyo [Pan Pacific Open], Wuhan and Beijing.
On 1 October, she finally saw sense, announcing she was withdrawing from the doubles event in Beijing and the following week’s tournament in Hong Kong – which would have been her 11th consecutive tournament week.
After two weeks of rehab and conditioning, Mladenovic said her knee was back on track – and that her tennis was too.
“I cannot go back, but I definitely learned from it and it was a great lesson for sure. I will do some things differently next year,” she said.
“I’m very happy to be back in Moscow. I really like the tournament, I’ve been coming for several years and it feels different now. It feels actually very nice to be the top seed in such a great event.
“I came a little bit earlier so I can give myself better chances to be well-prepared for the tournament. I hope I can do it.”
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