By Neha Aggarwal
“For me, the best things I have received in my life is first marrying my husband, and then the birth of my daughter Lara. I would give up everything in the world to make my daughter happy,” said Daniela Dodean Monteiro, the mixed doubles European Champion in 2016. Interestingly she has partnered her husband Joao Monteiro to win the crown.
I look at her in amazement, Dodean, the 28th seed, was fresh off beating the Liu Jia (AUT), the 12th seeded player of the tournament, a big upset in the women’s singles draw.
Dodean was at her absolute best. Mentally, she was calm, in the zone and it was evident that she was battling a different war.
“I was 100% focused in the match today. I told myself, if I am missing my daughter for so many days, then it has to be worth it. There has to be some sense in this sacrifice. A child needs her mother, and if I am away from her for too long, then I would make sure I make everyday count.”- Daniela Dodean Monteiro
They say that mothers are the strongest people on the earth. Watch Dodean closely. Her actions are a testimony to the fact.
“This is the best of me. I think that after Lara, I have become even more stronger, as a person,” said Dodean. She quickly goes on to say. “She gives me so much happiness, but at the same time, there is so much more table tennis left inside me.”
As I write this, I watch Dodean playing the round of 16 at the Liebherr 2017 World Championships against China’s Chen Meng. Dodean is enjoying the game. She stays closer to the table, imparting more power on the balls. But more importantly, just watching her enjoying the game to its best, is a treat to a table tennis fan.
One of the most glamorous women on the tour, Dodean has now been managing life like a rockstar. She has prioritized her time towards Lara, but still works on the physical fitness everyday, and manages time to practice.
“Joao and I manage our times, alternate our practice schedules as we need to be with Lara. Joao supports me so much. For Lara, when it’s about food and sleep, its always mummy, but when Lara wants to play, its always daddy daddy,” she laughed.
“Joao does his best, when he is with Lara, he is 100% there, no internet, nothing.”- Daniela Dodean Monteiro
She was present in the stands to support her husband while talking to me, once the match started, Dodean humbly requested, “The match has started, I think I need to focus on that now. He needs my support,”
It was beautiful to see the diva comeback to the arena, and come back in style. Many thought that her days are over, that her personal life would impact her game. But Dodean is a woman of steel.
In Düsseldorf, she is sending out a clear message to the world. She’s not lost, expect more unexpected results out of the Romanian star in the future.