Bejenaru counts cost after struggling to net a sponsor
Karola Bejenaru suffered another early exit at a professional tournament yesterday as she lost in the second round of the $15,000 event in the Netherlands.
The Windsor player went down 6-3 6-3 to Germany's Linda Puppendahl - a player who is some 400 places lower in the world rankings.
A win would almost certainly have propelled Bejenaru into a highest ever position on the world list but it wasn't to be.
While not making any excuses, the Romanian admitted afterwards that she is finding life on the WTA tour increasingly difficult, having had to travel without the moral and technical support of a coach.
It's a cost-cutting measure forced upon her as she is continuing to have difficulty making ends meet.
Her career prize money since turning professional four years ago, after a successful junior career when she made it to 101st in the world and played at Junior Wimbledon and the French Junior Open, is nowhere near the £39,000 that first-round losers receive at the All England Club's showpiece event.
The 21-year-old has been trying, without success, to obtain sponsorship to help offset the costs of playing tournaments, which can be around £1,000 per event depending on its location and her progress, which dictates the number of nights required in a hotel.
Bejenaru explained: "I am currently travelling by myself to save money to use for the next tournaments.
"It is very difficult and it gets lonely as tennis is an individual sport. It's tough not having my coaching team around me all the time but they do their best to help from home while I'm away.
"With regard to potential sponsors, I've approached many big local and national companies that I thought would have been interested to listen to my story.
"I have sent letters to most of them but, unfortunately, none of them have shown any interest and most don't even reply, so all in all it's been very frustrating."
Meanwhile, Ulster Under-14s had to settle for third place at the junior inter-pros in Claremorris yesterday after a 3-3 draw with Connacht.