Tennis: Pe'er aims to climb world rankings

"In the upcoming season I must improve. Maintaining my current ranking can no longer be regarded as a success."

Shahar Peer 88 (photo credit: AP)
Shahar Peer 88
(photo credit: AP)
Shahar Pe'er said on Monday that she's no longer content with her current world ranking and that she intends to continue her meteoric rise in 2008. "In the upcoming season I must improve. Maintaining my current ranking can no longer be regarded as a success," Pe'er said in a press conference in Tel Aviv. The 20-year-old Israeli will end 2007 ranked No. 17 in the world, three places higher than she finished 2006. "I'm prepared for 2008 and I'm feeling strong, both mentally and physically. I don't know what results I will record, but I have two new coaches and that will be significant. I want to do well in the big tournaments and also record good results on a consistent basis," she said. Pe'er returned to Israel on Sunday after spending the last five weeks training with her new Spanish coaches Gabriel Urpi and former world No. 2 Conchita Martinez. "I've been through five intensive weeks with Urpi and Martinez and I'm exhausted," she said. "It's difficult to say how they will improve my game, but they have both given me a lot. On the mental side, they taught me to take things easy and I'm also feeling much better on court. "Martinez is a very special woman and I love working with her. She and Urpi think exactly alike. She has the experience and she always encourages me to strive for perfection." Pe'er faces wild-card Jessica Cohen on Tuesday in the first round of the Israeli championships in Ra'anana. On Monday, No. 2 seed Tzipi Obziler (79) defeated Vicki Tzaitlin 6-3, 6-2 in her first round match. Harel Levy (161), who is seeded first in the men's tournament after defending champion Dudi Sela (64) withdrew through fatigue, advanced to the quarterfinals on Monday, defeating Tal Aros 6-4, 6-2. Noam Okun (243) is seeded second in the tournament which will be played in Ra'anana daily, with the men's and women's finals both scheduled for Friday. Also Tuesday, Levy will play with ASA Tel Aviv against Andy Ram and Hapoel Ramat Eliyahu Rishon Lezion in the State Cup final. In the women's final ASA Tel Aviv plays Givat Ala/Haifa.