This time last year, the future of Lucie Safarova and Bethanie Mattek-Sands, aka "Team Bucie" was in jeopardy. Playing her second-round singles match, Mattek-Sands suffered a catastrophic knee injury on the All England Club grass, and was out of commission indefinitely.
At the time, Mattek-Sands was the No. 1-ranked doubles player in the world. She would, against all odds, make her return from knee surgery earlier this year in Miami.
Truly appreciating every moment on court because it can all change in an instant... "Try not to resist the changes that come your way, Instead let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better then the one to come? -Rumi" #Inspired
But just as the American's career was restarting, her friend Safarova's season was put on hold. The 31-year-old Czech picked up a serious virus in February and missed three months of the spring season.
Wimbledon would, quite fittingly, be their first tournament back together.
Yes, #TeamBucie is back. ????♀️— Tennis Channel (@TennisChannel) July 10, 2018
Yes, they're into the Wimbledon quarterfinals. @Steve_Weissman spoke to @LucieSafarova about @MattekSands, her pursuit of the career slam, and #MyTennisLife. #Wimbledon pic.twitter.com/IdZrO9UU9I
All of that adversity is behind Team Bucie now, as they get set for their quarterfinal on Wednesday against Gabriela Dabrowki and Xu Yifan. Mattek-Sands and Safarova had to save two match points on Monday to beat Barbora Strycova and Andrea Sestini Hlavackova, 2-6, 7-6 (7), 6-4.
Safarova and Mattek-Sands have now won nine matches in a row together—with the lengthy hiatus factored in—dating back to last year's French Open, which they won. Wimbledon is the only major missing from their career Grand Slam together.
"I have this special connection with Bethanie," Safarova said. "It doesn’t matter how long we don’t play—once we are on the court it just clicks. It just goes very easy. I think what's important is we are really good friends on and off the court."Follow Nina on Twitter @ninapantic1.
Strokes of Genius is a world-class documentary capturing the historic 13-year rivalry between tennis icons Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. It is timed for release as the anticipation crests with Roger as returning champion, 10 years after their famed 2008 Wimbledon championship – an epic match so close and so reflective of their competitive balance that, in the end, the true winner was the sport itself.