June 25, 2024

Open Court

MORE TENNIS THAN YOU'LL EVER NEED

Fed Cupper Sharon Fichman on the coaching track

Just two years ago when Sharon Fichman was qualifying and reaching the second round at Indian Wells on her way to a career-best singles ranking of No. 77, everything was looking up.

But although there has been no retirement announcement from the 25-year-old (she’s  just three weeks older than Milos Raonic) the Toronto native seems to have turned the page and has begun a new chapter.

Fichman was in Toronto a little over a month ago for a coaching certification course. And she has wasted no time getting started as sh accompanies 16-year-old Quebecer Raphaëlle Lacasse on a series of junior events this fall.

Lacasse trains out of the Tennis 13 club in Laval, north of Montreal.

raphaelle-lacasse

Fichman and her charge have been to Bolivia for a Grade 5 tournament in La Paz and a Grade 3 event in Santa Cruz, as well as to the Yucatán Cup in Mexico last week and the Eddie Herr tournament in Bradenton Fla. this week.

Lacasse lost in the final round of qualifying at the Eddie Herr, but made it as a lucky loser before losing in the first round on Monday to American Katya Townsend.

sharonfichman2Fichman’s playing career seemed to go south during the summer of 2014 when she missed the Rogers Cup because of knee surgery and clearly rushed her return to try to make it back for the US Open. The Canadian had brutal draws at all four majors that year: Bencic (in the first round of qualifying) in Australia, Jankovic in Paris, Bacinszky at Wimbledon and Radwanska in New York.

After an unsuccessful swing in Australia to start the 2015 season, Fichman didn’t play against until Fed Cup that April.

When we crossed paths with her there, she said the knee injury had bled into a host of other physical issues she was trying to get a handle on.

But she played the rest of the season and began again in 2016 down in Florida in the series of $25,000 ITF events on Har-Tru through the spring. Her last match was a loss in the qualifying of a $100,000 tournament in Slovakia in early May.

Open Court has reached out to Fichman on a regular basis over the years for news about what she’s doing, with zero success. A Tennis Canada rep asked about Fichman’s plans during last month’s ITF in Toronto said they hadn’t heard anything, even though Fichman had been next door just the week before on the coaching course. Her Instagram account still bills her as a “professional tennis player.”

So her tennis-playing plans, if any, are a mystery. At the moment, her singles ranking stands at No. 621 and her doubles at No. 481; she reached a career-best No. 48 in doubles in July, 2014.

One interesting side note: fellow Canadian Heidi el Tabakh, best known in recent weeks as Genie Bouchard’s vacation buddy down in the Bahamas, took the same coaching course Fichman did, per our information.

El Tabakh, who is 30, retired from her last official singles match in Charlottesville, Va. in late April due to injury. Her ranking (from a high of No. 146 in 2012), stands at 1,183 after a career beset by leg issues.

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