Silvija Talaja

Silvija Talaja (born 14 January 1978) is a Croatian former professional tennis player.

Silvija Talaja
Country (sports) Croatia
ResidenceMakarska, Croatia
Born (1978-01-14) 14 January 1978 (age 42)
Imotski, Croatia (then SFRY)
Height1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)
Turned pro1992
Retired2006
PlaysRight-handed (two-handed backhand)
Prize money$1,135,876
Singles
Career record300–273
Career titles2 WTA, 1 ITF
Highest rankingNo. 18 (29 May 2000)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open2R (2001)
French Open3R (1999, 2004)
Wimbledon3R (2000)
US Open2R (2001, 2003)
Doubles
Career record69–120
Career titles1 WTA
Highest rankingNo. 54 (7 June 2004)

Talaja has won two singles titles and one doubles title on the WTA Tour, as well as one singles title on the ITF Women's Circuit. On 29 May 2000 she reached her best singles ranking of world No. 18. During her career, Talaja defeated players such as Nathalie Tauziat, Nadia Petrova, Jennifer Capriati, Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, Conchita Martinez, Marion Bartoli, Anna Kournikova and Irina Spirlea. A powerful, fast baseline player, her best Grand Slam results were 3rd round appearances at Roland Garros (twice) and Wimbledon (once). She also won a gold medal at the 1993 Mediterranean Games in doubles.

After 14 seasons on the tour (five of which she finished in the top 100), in 2006 Talaja married her long-time partner and retired from professional tennis.

CareerEdit

The early yearsEdit

Silvija Talaja debuted at the ITF Belgrade in 1991. She played further ten ITF tournaments in 1992, reaching one QF and one SF, as well as scoring her first top 100 victory (d. Jenny Byrne). In 1993 she qualified for a WTA tournament in Essen where she lost to no. 1 seed A. Sanchez-Vicario in the 1st round. She reached 2nd round at WTA Palermo in 1994 and qualified for further three WTA tournaments in 1995 (Zagreb, Palermo and Vienna).

First WTA finalEdit

In March 1996 Talaja won her first ITF tournament at Makarska and soon after reached her first WTA final at Bol (l. to Gloria Pizzichini). In August she reached the semifinals at WTA Vienna (l. to Sandra Cecchini) and quarterfinals at Prague (d. Karina Habšudová, l. to Ruxandra Dragomir). In October the same year she entered top-100 for the first time.

In 1997 she debuted at a Grand Slam at the Australian Open (l. to 9th seed Habsudova in 1st round) and reached 2nd round at Roland Garros. She reached the semifinals at Pattaya in 1998 (d. Henrieta Nagyova in 1st round, l. to Fang Li) but played mostly on the ITF tour.

Entering top 50Edit

At the 1999 Australian Open, Talaja lost to 5th seed Venus Williams 7-9 in the third set, being two points away from victory. In May she reached the SF at WTA Warsaw and then made it to 3rd round at Roland Garros (d. Chanda Rubin, l. to 4th seed Jana Novotna in 3s). Talaja then reached her second WTA final at s-Hertogenbosch (l. to Kristina Brandi in 3s) and entered top 50 for the first time. The following month she reached another final, this time at WTA Vienna (l. to Habsudova in 3s). The following week she reached the semifinals at WTA Sopot, again losing to Habsudova. In August Talaja reached hear third semifinals of the season at WTA Brussels and in November her fourth SF at WTA Pattaya City. On November 1999 she entered top 30 for the first time. In 1999 Talaja won career-best 32 WTA tour matches (going 18-9 on clay) and finished the season at no. 29.

Winning first WTA tournamentEdit

In January 2000 Talaja won the WTA Gold Coast, scoring three successive top 20 victories along the way (Anna Kournikova in QF, Sanchez-Vicario in SF and C. Martinez in F). At the German open in Berlin she lost to Martina Hingis in 3rd round after having two set points in the 1st set. In May Talaja won the her second WTA tournament of the year at WTA Strasbourg (d. 7th ranked Nathalie Tauziat in QF, Nathalie Dechy in SF and Rita Kuti Kis in F). The following week her ranking rose to career-highest at no. 18. Later that year Talaja reached 3rd round at Wimbledon (d. Irina Spirlea and Mirjana Lučić-Baroni, l. to Hingis). In August Talaja reached 3rd round at the Du Maurier Open (d. Barbara Schett in 1st round, her sixth top-20 victory of the year), but apart from the Sydney Olympics, failed to reach a second round at a tournament for the rest of the year. She finished her most successful season ranked at no. 30.

Injuries and come-backEdit

At the 2001 Australian Open Talaja d. Alicia Molik 6-0 6-0 but l. to Amanda Coetzer in 2nd round. She reached just one QF (at WTA Gold Coast) and one SF (Porto) during the entire season, and l. in 1st round 13 times. Struggling with injuries, Talaja dropped out of top 100 by the end of the year.

Talaja started the 2002 season by reaching the SF at WTA Auckland (having gone through qualifications). She reached another SF at WTA Warsaw in May, and reached the finals of WTA Tokyo (d. 19th ranked Ai Sugiyama but l. to Jill Craybas after leading 4-0 in the third set). She finished the season at no. 75, having also reached QF at WTA Pattaya and Memphis and 2nd round at Indian Wells and Scottsdale.

2003 was the final top-100 season of Talaja's career. She reached QF four times (at Hyderabad, Bol, Estoril and Nordic Open where she d. 17th ranked Patty Schnyder) and 2nd round seven times, including at Indian Wells, Miami, Roland Garros and US Open. Her year-end ranking was no. 93.

Final years of Talaja's careerEdit

In 2004 Talaja reached QF just once (WTA Korea Open) and played in the 3rd round of WTA Pacific Open at Indian Wells (going through qualifications, ret. to Fabiola Zuluaga, and at the French Open (l. to Serena Williams). In 2005 Talaja reached the 2nd round of a WTA tournament three times (including at WTA Pacific Open) and finished her season at no. 200. Talaja played just three tournaments in 2006 (losing all three matches in 1st round) and retired at the end of the year. In November 2007 she made a short come-back, playing at the $25.000 ITF in Ismaning, Germany, but lost in the 1st round.

WTA Tour finalsEdit

Singles (2-4)Edit

Outcome No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent Score
Runner-up 1. 5 May 1996 Bol, Croatia Clay   Gloria Pizzichini 2–6, 0–6
Runner-up 2. 20 June 1999 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands Grass   Kristina Brandi 0–6, 6–3, 1–6
Runner-up 3. 11 July 1999 Portschach, Austria Clay   Karina Habšudová 6–2, 4–6, 4–6
Winner 4. 8 January 2000 Gold Coast, Australia Hard   Conchita Martínez 6–0, 0–6, 6–4
Winner 5. 27 May 2000 Strasbourg, France Clay   Rita Kuti-Kis 7–5, 4–6, 6–3
Runner-up 6. 6 October 2002 Tokyo, Japan Hard   Jill Craybas 6–2, 4–6, 4–6

Doubles (1-3)Edit

Outcome No. Date Tournament Surface Partner Opponents Score
Runner-up 1. 6 May 2002 Warsaw, Poland Clay   Evgenia Kulikovskaya   Henrieta Nagyová
  Jelena Kostanić Tošić
1–6, 1–6
Winner 2. 28 July 2003 Sopot, Poland Clay   Tatiana Perebiynis   Maret Ani
  Libuše Průšová
6–4, 6–2
Runner-up 3. 4 August 2003 Helsinki, Finland Clay   Tatiana Perebiynis   Evgenia Kulikovskaya
  Elena Tatarkova
2–6, 4–6
Runner-up 4. 31 January 2005 Pattaya City, Thailand Hard   Marta Domachowska   Rosa María Andrés Rodríguez
  Andreea Vanc
3–6, 1–6

ITF finalsEdit

$25,000 tournaments
$10,000 tournaments

Singles (1–1)Edit

Outcome No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent Score
Winner 1. 25 March 1996 Makarska, Croatia Clay   Zuzana Lešenarová 5-7, 6-4, 6-2
Runner-up 2. 1 June 1998 Budapest, Hungary Clay   Anna Földényi 2-6, 4-6

Head-to-head recordsEdit

External linksEdit

  • Silvija Talaja at the Women's Tennis Association  
  • Silvija Talaja at the International Tennis Federation  
  • "Ništa se ne može mjeriti s rođenjem djeteta". Slobodna Dalmacija (in Croatian). (Silvija Talaja's life after retirement)