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This Tommy is reborn in France

sports Updated: Jun 04, 2013 02:01 IST

Agencies
Highlight Story

Tommy Haas was once number two in the rankings and had the world at his feet, until a depressing series of injuries and operations sent his career into a tailspin.

But the 35-year-old German is far from bitter.

On the contrary, he is revelling in his second chance, becoming the third oldest man in history to reach the French Open quarter-finals.

He is also keeping his achievements in perspective knowing that despite his injury-plagued past, he has little to complain about having once seen his parents battle for their lives following an horrific motorcycle crash.

The German 12th seed is playing in his 52nd Grand Slam -- only Roger Federer and Lleyton Hewitt amongst active players have featured in more.

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But he was cheated out of at least two years of his career with hip and shoulder trouble between 2010 and 2011, which followed missing the entire 2003 campaign as he twice underwent shoulder surgery.

From 1086 and back
In 2004, his world ranking even plummeted to 1,086.

Private tragedy almost struck 10 years ago when his parents, Peter and Brigitte, were involved in a serious motorcycle accident in Florida which left his father in a coma for the best part of three weeks.

His mother was in intensive care for four days. “When you have some injuries and you never know which way the injuries might go and then when you have surgery the first time, you realize that’s tough and you start to play with the idea, like, oh, I hope I can go back because shoulder surgery is blah, blah, blah,” said Haas.

Personal tragedy
“But when your parents have a bad motorcycle accident and you don’t know if they’re going to be okay or not, that’s a different story.

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“You can’t compare a shoulder or hip repair to life threatening situations. So that was obviously part of the toughest part in my life in general. But they’re fine. They’re still here and that’s all that matters. They can continue to suffer in front of the TV watching me play.”

They didn’t need to suffer too much on Monday as Haas became the oldest man since 1971 to reach the last eight with a 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 in over Mikhail Youzhny.

No Sloane danger
Defending champion Maria Sharapova cantered into the quarter-finals at the French Open with a 6-4, 6-3 win over American 17th seed Sloane Stephens. Second seeded Sharapova triumphed in 1hr 29min and now faces either Serbian 18th seed Jelena Jankovic or US hope Jamie Hampton.

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