Andrea Temesvari, the Hungarian glamour girl who fascinated the tennis world during the mid-80s, is back after an 18-month layoff because of shoulder and ankle injuries.
Once ranked No. 7 in the world, Temesvari has returned to the courts focused on winning.
And her special brand of topspin could take her to the upper echelon of tennis ranks again.
Just ask Martina Navratilova, who encouraged Temesvari, 22, after their match during last week’s New South Wales Championships at Sydney.
“Obviously she is a bit rusty; she hasn’t played for almost 2 years,” Navratilova said. “I don’t think it will be long before she gets back into the top 20. She has the talent, she is bright, and she has all the shots.”
Temesvari, who is playing her third tournament since her return this week at the Australian Open, was buoyed by Navratilova’s comments.
“Martina’s words help tremendously,” she said. “It helps me to keep working. A year ago I didn’t think I would play again because I thought the doctors would say I couldn’t come back. I am just very happy to be on the court again.”
She said she learned a lot about herself and about friendships during her break from the tour.
“I lost a lot of friends who liked me only for my success,” she said. “The glamour image hurt me too, because I heard a lot of gossip about me that was not nice. Some people also thought I had quit tennis to become a movie star.”
Still, Temesvari is not bitter.
“I was always glad everybody liked the way I looked but I would take 10 more minutes to look good because I wanted to do that for myself,” she said. “My mother just brought me up to think like this.”
Now, winning matches is her concern.
“I just want to play better all the time,” she said. “Sometimes thoughts like ‘I used to hit the ball well, so I can do it again,’ and ‘I used to beat her’ cross my mind. I try to block that out because I can’t live thinking like that or I will feel too much pressure.”
Now that she is married to musician Andras Trunkos, she no longer travels with her father, Otto, a Hungarian basketball player who played in the 1960 Olympics.
“Having Andras travel with me is very nice,” she said. “At first, it was a very difficult adjustment for him, but he realizes that I need him now because I won’t be traveling forever. He will spend a lot of time working on his music when we’re on the road.”
Sooner than later, Temesvari hopes to accomplish the status she achieved a few years ago.
“I would like to become famous,” she said. “Anyone who says they don’t like celebrity status and publicity is lying.”