Sabine Lisicki, the 23-year-old German who shocked the world by knocking off Serena Williams at Wimbledon, used to hate playing on grass. And it's hard to blame her.
Not only did Lisicki lose her first five matches on the lawn, she's also allergic to grass. That's right, a semifinalist at Wimbledon is allergic to the surface on which she's playing.
"I have strong grass allergies and everything was against me liking grass," Lisicki told The Tennis Space last year, "but at some point I just turned it around and I love it now."
Lisicki says she's come to like to playing on grass because it accentuates the service game, which is one of her strong suits. When she defeated Williams, she was able to record as many aces as the strong-serving Serena.
So even though she is forced to make several sacrifices simply so she can play on the lawn at the world's most prestigious tournament, Lisicki says it's all worth it.
"I have to take medicine for my allergies," Lisicki said. "I sneeze when I’m playing on the grass, but that’s just the way it is. I’ve learnt to handle that. I guess that’s fine. The most important thing is to be out there playing on it, and I love the tradition of the grass-court tournaments.”