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Karola is out to net financial lift from club scene

By John Flack

Karola Bejenaru is to play professional league tennis for clubs in France and possibly Germany in the coming months to supplement her income and allow her to play a full part on the professional tour.

Being a rookie professional is a far cry from the glamorous lifestyle enjoyed by the multi-millionaires who play the Grand Slams but it's an exclusive club the 18-year-old Windsor player desperately wants to join in the years to come.

She will initially play for a club in Paris for approximately six weeks, starting in March, and then it is hoped she will travel to Germany later in the spring although that has still to be confirmed.

Since coming out of the Under-18 ranks after competing at the junior events at Roland Garros and Wimbledon last year, the Romanian-born player has been taking part mainly in a series of $10,000 tournaments.

The figure refers to the total prize fund and because she has only recently started playing on the Futures tour, her relatively low ranking means she usually has to go through qualifying to be in with a chance of making money.

Ranking points and prize money on the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) tour are only awarded to players who reach the last-16 or better which entails reaching the second round proper in most tournaments.

In the interim, Karola, who lost in the semi-finals of the doubles event at a tournament in Stuttgart yesterday, and her family have had to contribute significantly to the cost of travelling and accommodation when on the road.

She has made good progress and currently has a world ranking of 970 - something she and her coach want to improve over the next 12 months.

Karola and coach Przemek Stec have set their sights on reaching at least the 500-mark come the end of 2016 but so far, rather than earning money, she has been out of pocket despite sponsorship from Domino's Pizza and other backers.

Stec said: "If Karola can maintain her current level of progress I would like to think she could make it into the top 400 or, at worst, 500 in the world by the end of the year. But that can only happen if she can take part in enough tournaments to achieve her objective - that costs a lot and any prize money she makes would hardly cover her expenses.

"So that's why I have decided to use my former agent to get Karola fixed up with a club in Paris and she will be able to earn more money in a couple of months than she would from a year on the tour.

"Whatever Karola earns from the professional leagues will help finance her playing in as many Futures tournaments as possible."

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