Linda Bezdicek played through a torn calf muscle to reach Nationals.
© Garrett W. Ellwood
By J. Fred Sidhu
Indian Wells, Calif. – Earlier this year, Linda Bezdicek of Tulsa, Okla. needed to play one more USTA 3.0 Senior match to be eligible, in case her team advanced to the USTA Missouri Valley Sectionals or possibly the National Championships.
What happened in that match tested Bezdicek’s character, strength and determination to not only keep playing, but to finish what she had started.
Playing out of the Lafortune Tennis Center in Tulsa, the USTA Missouri Valley Section Women’s 3.0 Senior team finished 8-1 to win its league and advance to the Oklahoma District Championships, which took place two and a half months ago.
Still needing to play a match to complete her eligibility, Bezdicek began her doubles match in the District Championship.
"Two games into the match, I just felt the pop. The pain was really bad," said Bezdicek, who suffered a torn right calf muscle. "If you’ve ever torn a calf muscle, (you know) it’s painful."
After the injury occurred, Bezdicek wrapped an Ace Bandage around her calf. "When it first happened, it felt like someone hit you with a baseball bat. I couldn’t put any weight on it," she said.
While many players may have quit, Bezdicek realized she had to complete the match to become eligible for Sectionals and Nationals and decided to play on. She credited her teammates with helping her following the injury.
"I was hopping around. The pain was really bad. I was having trouble trying to serve," she said. "I was too hard-headed to stop. It was the Districts, so it was very important. I wasn’t going to give up."
Bezdicek lost her doubles match in straight sets, but more importantly, she finished and became eligible for Sectional and National competition.
Due to her injury, Bezdicek was unable to participate in her team’s victory at the USTA Missouri Valley Sectionals, but she is in Indian Wells this weekend as her team plays at the 2010 USTA League 3.0 Senior National Championships.
When asked how she felt about playing at the USTA League National Championships in Indian Wells, Bezdicek said, "It’s incredible, it’s a chance of a lifetime. It’s beautiful. It’s like paradise."