Dudi Sela at Wimbledon 311 (R).
(photo credit: Reuters)
There has never been any doubt regarding Dudi Sela’s god-given
Were tennis a game of skill and dexterity alone, Sela would never
have to worry about dropping out of the world’s top-50.
falls into place, Sela’s game is a true delight to behold.
however, has always been that things seem to fall into place all-too-rarely for
the 26-year-old Israeli.
At least so far in his career.
been in and out of the world’s top-100 four times since he first broke into the
ATP’s elite in October 2007, reaching a career-high of No. 29 in July 2009, but
also dropping as low as No. 147 just last month.
The consistency needed
to become a truly top player has eluded Sela to date, mainly because of what
goes on in between his ears.
However, recent decisions, both on and off
the court, give real reason for optimism that Sela is finally close to mastering
the psychological aspect of the game.
His current form may still not be
at the peak levels of the past, but mentally he has never been
After winning just two of 10 matches on the ATP Tour in the first
four months of the year, Sela took the difficult decision to play on the
Playing in dusty and often empty arenas in places
like Fergana, Uzbekistan for prize money which just about covers your expenses
even if you win the event is something no player enjoys.
understood that he needed competitive matches to hone his game and he got plenty
of those by winning the Challenger titles at Busan, South Korea, Fergana,
Uzbekistan and on the grass at Nottingham, England last week.
With his 15
straight wins, Sela not only jumped 66 places in six weeks to No. 81 – before
dropping to No. 84 on Monday – but also picked up much-needed confidence after
his dismal start to the year.
“I dropped in the rankings so I decided not
to play on clay,” Sela said. “I played Challengers on hard courts and it was
very good for me. I think I made a good decision to focus on getting back in the
top 100 and now I’m thinking of going even further.
“I have few points to
defend in the rest of the year and every match is a bonus for my
“Financially it’s better to play tour events, but I needed some
“I went to play the Challengers thinking of confidence and points
and not of the financial side.”
Sela was disappointed with Wednesday’s
second-round loss to Gilles Simon, but nevertheless believes that bigger and
better things are yet to come.
“I think I’m playing my best mentally but
not tennis-wise yet,” Sela said.
“Now I’m around No. 80 and don’t have
many points to defend so hopefully I can get back to the top-50 by the end of