Reuters - Tue, 27 Jul 02:12:00 2010
Elena Dementieva, who missed Wimbledon with an injury, returns to action as one of the top seeds at this week's Bank of the West Classic where she will look to tune up her game ahead of the US Open.
Dementieva, the second seed at this week's tournament, has a first-round bye and will face the winner of the match between fellow Russian Dinara Safina and Japan's Kimiko Date Krumm.
The 28-year-old Dementieva suffered a calf injury at the French Open that forced her to pull out of a semi-final match against eventual champion Francesca Schiavone and take four weeks off to recover.
Dementieva, who has yet to win a grand slam title, said she understands injuries are part of the game but could not follow a Wimbledon that she was not competing in.
"I didn't watch because I was too disappointed I wasn't there," she said. "I didn't want to know who won."
Despite playing a grinding schedule for the past 11 years, Dementieva had not missed a grand slam she had qualified for until this year.
Considered by some the best women's player not to have won a grand slam, the 2008 Olympic gold medallist said that despite her age she remains just as competitive as when she advanced to her first grand slam semi-final as a teenager in 2000.
"It's never easy to lose," said Dementieva. "I love to play and win and it's always disappointing to lose. Maybe I'm taking a little easier now, but it doesn't mean that I don't care."
Dementieva is hoping to regain her form in time for the US Open, which starts August 30. She reached the Flushing Meadows final in 2004 but lost to compatriot Svetlana Kuznetsova.
While the calf injury disrupted Dementieva's rhythm, she believes that it also had a positive side.
"It was a good time to get a break and get ready for hard court season," she said. "In the end, I really needed some time off to get hungry for the competition."