The Austrians were out in full force last night, calling out “Ja, Sybille!” (pronounced “Si-bill-uh“) and “Aufgeht!” Many of the spectators had clearly read the Times profile (“It was inspiring. She’s with child!” we overheard one man telling his wife). But all the interest couldn’t push hyper-local favorite Sybille Bammer to victory in her first-round match. The 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (7-5) loss, against Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, was a big disappointment for the 29-year-old Bammer, who’s had her best results at the Open, reaching the Round of 16 in 2007 and the quarterfinals last year. There were classic baseline rallies galore in the match, but Martinez Sanchez was able to incorporate some excellent play at the net, enough to get her the win.
A few minutes after the match, Bammer spoke to us and a couple of German-language reporters in tiny Interview Room 3. She had taken off her bright blue Asics sneakers and seemed tired and shaken, as well as ten or fifteen years younger than she appears on court. She explained her tightness during the match, and her lack of power on her serve, by citing the injury which caused her to withdraw before the semifinals at Indian Wells back in March. “I have big problems with my shoulder,” she said, pulling down the the neck of her shirt a little to demonstrate the limits on the range of motion in her left arm. “If it wasn’t a Grand Slam I wouldn’t go on court. I have an AC joint inflammation. I play doubles here then I go back home and then I will rest and start to practice when my shoulder is fine.” Asked if she expected to rejoin the tour, she said, “Yeah, I hope so. We’ll see.”