A decade of pain for Ana Konjuh

Croatia’s Ana Konjuh has been in pain for a decade.

The former US Open and Australian Open junior champion, who did the Eddie Herr/Orange Bowl double at 14, Konjuh had three surgeries on her right elbow – the third right after she hit the top 20 at age 19.

In this Behind the Racket post, he talks about playing with pain since she was … 12  

As a last resort, Konjuh – only 21– had ulnar lateral ligament reconstruction (Tommy John) surgery in March. 

Brian Baker needed three years to recover.

(Pic of Konjuh, with fellow ’97 Belinda Bencic in the ’12 Wimbledon junior girls doubles final).

With G.E.M.S. history, MladenoThiem a power

The only thing that could have made Sunday better for Dominic Thiem and Kristina Mladenovic would have been for Thiem to beat Rafael Nadal and win Roland Garros

Otherwise, the low-key couple of nearly two years had a great fortnight.

Mladenovic won the women’s doubles after logging hours courtside supporting her beau. She also took over the No. 1 ranking.

It’s not all “love” out there, though.

G.E.M.S.life, the Instagram account started by lovebirds Gaël Monfils and Elina Svitolina, is defunct.

Avid Insta watchers also note their respective accounts have been “scrubbed” of each other’s existence.  

Sharapova might hit Mallorca Open

Maria Sharapova, per her Instagram, is currently doing a training block on the quiet, serene Spanish island of Mallorca.

And, “if she’s ready”, she might even take a wild card into the grass-court event there, which begins June 17.

Sharapova hasn’t played in 4 1/2 months, since withdrawing before her second-round match against Daria Kasatkina in St. Petersburg.

Rehabbing a forearm injury, she’d hoped to be back for the French Open, but ran out of time. She did hit Paris – but only for 24 hours.

She hopes to be ready for Wimbledon, on the 15th anniversary of her teenage title there.

Boserup retires, heads to grad school

American Julia Boserup, the 2008 Orange Bowl champion, might not quite have had the pro career she dreamed of.

Injuries were a mainstay. And she has officially called it a day, at 27.

But the next chapter is already beginning.

Boserup heads to grad school at the University of Chicago in September, after earning a psychology degree from Penn State in Dec. 2016 while she was posting her best results on court.

Boserupreached her career high of No. 80 in June 2017, at age 25.

Eight months later (although she didn’t know it then), she played her final match.

Little Alex meets Stuttgart

A new young tennis fan made an appearance at the Stuttgart tournament this week.

He is Alex, the baby son of longtime tour player Alla Kudryavtseva.

As it happens, Kudryavtseva lives in Stuttgart.

Alex won’t remember it, but he was at Wimbledon when he was barely more than a gleam. He got on the court, too.

Born Dec. 10, he’s already 4 1/2 months old.

This is a very cute kid.

And, interestingly, Kudryavtseva posted a photo of the 2008 Fed Cup team that came to Stowe, Vt. to play the U.S. All four are recent moms.

No Prague finale for Team Bucie

When Bethanie Mattek-Sands had another surgery on her knee earlier this year, her goal was to be ready for the end of April – and to partner bestie Lucie Safarova one last time at the clay-court event in Prague.

Unfortunately, that won’t happen, as Mattek-Sands isn’t ready.

The American has just begun her on-court buildup, But Prague is only two weeks away.

Safarova, who is on the Czech Fed Cup team this week (bypassing the Stuttgart qualies to do so), will still play doubles.

She has re-entered the event with countrywoman Barbora Stefkova.

Mladenovic adds Big Sascha to Team Kiki

Sascha Bajin, recent dismissed as the coach of Naomi Osaka after she won two majors and reached No. 1, has bounced back.

After making a trip to Miami to meet with the Mladenovic clan last month, Kristina Mladenovic confirmed Monday that “Big Sascha” is officially on board.

Bajin joins a team that, let’s be clear, includes the entire family.

Mother Dzenita was a volleyball player and coach. Father Dragan was a handball player and coach. Brother Luka, a soccer midfielder, plays for a French fifth-division team, AS Beauvais Oise. But they come as a package.

Younger Thiem hits the Futures circuit

Big brother Dominic Thiem is seeded No. 4 in Monte Carlo.

But younger brother Moritz is on his way. The 19-year-old is in the qualifying at a $25K ITF event in Santa Margherita di Pula, Italy this week.

He earned his first ATP points last September, only to have them erased by the new points system.

In this offseason interview, Thiem talks about how the kid progressed without him even realizing it.

“It was a big surprise. When I saw him playing, he was a completely different player,” Thiem said. “A year ago, he looked like a 10-year-old.”

Serena’s Olympia already in commercials

The career branding of Serena Williams as “working mom” continues apace.

And her daughter Olympia, 19 months, has made her commercial debut.

It was only a matter of time.

Mother and daughter star in a new Pampers commercial, which Williams showed on her Instagram account Wednesday.

They wear matching, Easter-hued ensembles (with Olympia wearing a “Cruisers 360 Fit” model).

“(It’s) the only diaper I’ve found that can keep up with @OlympiaOhanian and her wild moves,” Williams writes. “I never know what she’ll do next but I love it because that’s how babies learn and grow! “

Svetlana Kuznetsova ready to return?

Svetlana Kuznetsova, out of action since last September nursing wrist and knee issues, has been in Barcelona training on clay for a week.

Russian journalist Ilya Ryvlin reports she hopes to play Lugano next week. Not entered, she would need a wild card.

Currently ranked No. 111, a protected ranking would only be slightly higher than that as she’s lost little ground in the rankings during her time away.

Here’s a recent interview that has … a lot of interesting insight.

Kuznetsova is officially entered in Madrid (main draw only), the Rome qualifying and … the French Open.