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Tennis

Sabine Lisicki - grass court specialist

Sabine Lisicki has reached the Wimbledon semifinal for the second time. The German tennis professional has said she draws her strength from her family and friends’ support.

The 23-year old Sabine Lisicki is a favorite with the fans in Wimbledon. Maybe that is because she has said over and over again that playing there is something really special for her.

“I simply love playing on these courts here,” she said. “It is incredible to get so much support. That is really the best feeling in the world,” an emotional Lisicki said following a surprise victory against Serena Williams, unable to hold back her tears.

Sabine Lisicki, currently ranked 23 in the world, has done well in Wimbledon before: In 2011 she reached the semifinal there, as the first German to do so since the success of Steffi Graf back in 1999. She's a four-time quarterfinalist on Wimbledon's grass courts, despite never having made the last eight in the French, Australian or US opens. Thursday's semifinal will be her second shot at reaching her first final in any of tennis' biggest tournaments.

Sabine Lisicki's parents were of course at her side at the last reception for Olympic Games participants

Lisicki's parents came from Poland to Germany just before she was born in 1989 in Troisdorf, near Cologne. Her father, a historian, worked as a tennis coach in Cologne. Her mother is an artist. Sabine started playing tennis at the age of seven, coached by her father. And she had ambitions early on. “I want to become the world's number one tennis player,” she said at the age of 14.

Since she left school at age 16 she has been focusing on her sport. 2006 was her first season as a professional, but it took her two years to find her feet: In 2008 she qualified for the Australian Open and in October 2008 she reached the final of an international tournament for the first time: In Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Six months later she won her first international tournament in the US city of Charleston, South Carolina. Since then she has constantly been ranked among the world's top 40, but rarely won a tournament. So far she has only five victories under her belt – three singles, two doubles.

Sabine Lisicki has been living in Florida for several years now, where she works with renowned coach Nick Bollettieri. A fixed team accompanies her to all her tournaments: Her coach, a physiotherapist and her parents. “That is really important to me. We then all live together and cook our meals, eat, have fun,” she said. “That is what enables me to play that well.”

It remains to be seen whether it will help when she comes up against Agnieszka Radwanska from Poland on Thursday. They have played each other before: In 2011 Lisicki won in Stanford, 2012 in Dubai saw a victory for Radwanska. But this will be the first time they play on grass - and that is Sabine Lisicki's strength.

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