Behind the curtain at the tennis courts at Drumlins Tennis Center, there is a chair, a partially completed mural and an artist.The chair is to help the artist reach the mural on the wall. The mural, when completed, will be a painting of the logos of all four Grand Slam titles. The artist, Syracuse freshman Breanna Bachini, hopes to win a Grand Slam and be the No. 1 player in the world someday.But for now, sidelined with a pulled stomach muscle, she paints.‘(The mural) gives her a nice little relief, to be close to the team as we’re practicing while she’s healing,’ Syracuse head coach Luke Jensen said. ‘I think it really is an expression of what she’s dreamed about as a little kid and continues to dream about today.’For Bachini, watching from the sideline is tough. She pulled the muscle early in the season, before coming back to win her first four matches of the year. The freshman then lost her next four matches until the injury forced her to sit out again. Bachini is now undergoing rehab multiple times a day to try to get back to full strength and painting when the team practices. AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘Despite her setbacks, she still has that goal in mind,’ teammate Komal Safdar said. ‘Instead of taking a nap, she’s still with us and thinking about winning a Grand Slam every day.’Bachini’s quest to become a Grand Slam champion started in Sacramento, Calif. While most sixth-graders were at school, Bachini was at home, balancing on a Physioball and catching a football, standing upside down against a wall or practicing her strokes for hours on end. She was homeschooled from sixth to 11th grade, working toward becoming a professional tennis player.Rich Andrews, a tennis coach in Sacramento, started working with Bachini when she was 13. Andrews teamed with Bachini’s father, Tedd, to elevate her game to an elite level. The grueling hours of training paid off, as she was the No. 1 player in the Northern California region at every age division.Bachini has improved over the years at picking out her opponents’ weaknesses and grinding out points, Andrews said.‘She’s a very physical player, so somebody who’s on the court with her has to work extremely hard to stay in the point,’ he said. ‘I think she’s really come a long way.’Being homeschooled and training every day, Bachini didn’t have a typical childhood. She hadn’t been to a dance until 12th grade, when she went to Horizon Charter School in Lincoln, Calif., two days a week. Coming from a completely different lifestyle, making the transition to college life and playing on a team for the first time was difficult.‘When I got here, I was like, ‘Wow’ because there are so many people,’ she said. ‘The first semester was pretty tricky for me. I was following my roommate around. But now I’ve kind of expanded, and I’m talking to more people and getting used to the system.’While Bachini has acclimated to college life and the freedom that comes with it, her eating habits and training regimen are the same. To stay healthy, she follows a strict diet. She has never had a hamburger and very rarely has sugar or bread.That discipline carries over to her game, where she likes to grind out points on the baseline. Bachini said she wants to return from injury in time for the Big East tournament.But for now, every day after practice, Bachini walks to the other side of court seven at Drumlins, stands up on the chair and paints. She said she plans to have all players on the team sign their names next to each Grand Slam they want to win, hoping it serves as a motivation for her teammates.And Bachini is focused on doing everything she can to ensure that one day the message behind the painting will become reality.‘That’s why we all sign on to this program,’ freshman Amanda Rodgers said. ‘Breanna and I always talk about it, and that’s definitely her dream. I can see her winning one. It’s really close for her.’email@example.com Published on April 9, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Trevor: firstname.lastname@example.org | @TrevorHass Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments
Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer are the three players shortlisted for the world footballer of the year award.Former Manchester United forward Ronaldo was the 2013 winner of the Ballon d’Or.His victory ended Messi’s three year run as winner.This year has seen Neuer win the German league and cup with Bayern Munich, and the World Cup with Germany. The 25 year old was nominated for the incredible volley she scored for Peamount United in the Women’s National League last October.Roche is battling James Rodriguez of Colombia and the Netherlands’ Robin Van Persie for their World cup goals against Uruguay and Spain respectively.She will join them in Zurich for the Ballon d’Or awards ceremony on 12th January, when the winner will be announced.