Mary Pierce, on of the toughest hitters on the WTA circuit in her time, feels Indian tennis gamers are good individuals, however they should have a killer intuition in singles competitors. “There’s nothing improper about being good. It is very important be good. However I feel whenever you get on the courtroom and you might be taking part in tennis, you might be competing,” she says. “You need to need it badly. In doubles they accomplish that effectively, as they’re with somebody who helps and motivates. You’ve got to have the hearth. You need to be motivating your self if you find yourself on the market taking part in singles.”
The French former world No. 3 gained the Australian Open at age 19 and lifted the Coupe Suzanne-Lenglen on the 2000 French Open, the place was additionally topped the doubles champion with Martina Hingis. Pierce, who shifted base to Mauritius after retirement and was inducted into the Worldwide Tennis Corridor of Fame in 2019, has taken to teaching and mentoring, and says she hopes to open her academy some day.
In Delhi as an envoy for the Roland Garros junior wild card event earlier this yr, Pierce spoke to Sportstar about life after tennis, the altering sport, her favorite gamers and extra.
How comfortable are you along with your affiliation with tennis?
I’m pretty comfortable. I’ve executed some commentating and I’m on the board of the ITF (Worldwide Tennis Federation) as the feminine participant consultant. I’m in a number of totally different committees and commissions of the ITF and the IOC (Worldwide Olympic Committee). I’ve been serving to some younger tennis gamers, teaching and mentoring them. I want to do extra. I want to possibly do some coaching camps or have a coaching centre. I’ve some concepts. I’ll see, hopefully, if that may occur sooner or later.
“I like watching Roger Federer, clearly accepting what he does is totally unimaginable. You simply can’t educate what he does,” says Mary Pierce. – Particular Association
Any fascinating strategies for ladies’s tennis?
Effectively, we have now not too long ago modified the format of the Fed Cup (renamed the Billie Jean King Cup), the place we may have Fed Cup finals in Budapest, Hungary. So, I’m trying ahead to seeing how that seems. Hopefully, will probably be optimistic for the Fed cup, and for ladies’s tennis and the followers.
READ | Fed Cup to be re-named Billie Jean King Cup
Do you assume the adjustments within the Davis Cup are good for the sport?
I don’t know; we are going to see. It is rather tough as a result of the highest gamers weren’t taking part in the Davis Cup. I used to be questioning why. For me, it was at all times an honour and a privilege to play for my nation. These days, the gamers are questioning how a lot cash they will get and what factors they will get for his or her rating. And once they realise there’s not as a lot cash, they’ll go someplace else the place they’re possibly getting paid extra to play a event, as an alternative of taking part in the Davis Cup. So, that was disappointing. We tried to discover a answer the place we may get the highest gamers to play in opposition to one another. So, we thought, effectively, we have to have extra money and factors. Additionally, the calendar is simply too saturated and that’s the reason gamers wished it to be executed in a single week. It is rather tough to make all people comfortable – the gamers, the TV, the sponsors, the followers. We’ve got tried to search out the perfect format for the Davis Cup so that everyone is comfortable.
You will have been conducting tournaments for ladies in Mauritius. How has been the expertise?
Sure, I used to be very comfortable to organise a collection of $10,000 tournaments for ladies within the Indian Ocean. It’s the Mary Pierce Indian Ocean collection, and lots of gamers from India come to my event. It was very good. Indian gamers are very respectful and so they at all times have good, truthful play. They arrive and speak to me and ask me questions. They ask me if I’ve an academy or coaching centre, as they’d love to coach there. I stated, effectively, not but, however possibly at some point.
Are you planning to have any such centre?
Sure, I want to. If I’ve that, then I’d in all probability focus extra on it. I’ve to determine the place to have it. I need it to be in a spot the place I reside completely in order that I’m not travelling. I don’t need to journey a lot any extra. I’d slightly be dwelling, be in a single place. Folks can come and prepare there. I’ll assist them.
Pierce and Mahesh Bhupathi have a good time after successful the blended doubles title at Wimbledon 2005. “It was such an awesome honour and privilege for me to play blended doubles with Mahesh as a result of he was such an awesome doubles participant. I loved taking part in with him very a lot. He’s an actual gentleman and an awesome competitor,” Pierce says. – AFP
Trying again at your profession, how comfortable are you with it? Did you count on to attain extra?
It’s superb once I look again at my profession. It was simply unimaginable. I achieved my dream in tennis, which was to win the French Open. After which all the things else is only a bonus actually. You may as well have a look at the opposite facet of the coin and take into consideration, effectively, all the opposite Grand Slam finals that I performed and I didn’t win all of them. I may have had possibly six Grand Slam titles. I’m very comfortable and really grateful with what I did in my profession. I’m very proud.
Regardless of your robust self perception, how onerous was it to take care of the scenario when the outcomes weren’t good for you? The return from again ache, the cruel remark by a random particular person…
No, I feel all of us have tough moments in our profession. All of us have ups and downs. I bear in mind having them. I believed, am I actually going to make it? Am I going to attain my desires and my objectives? That’s when it’s actually vital to have an awesome staff round you. I bear in mind my strength-and-conditioning coach usually would give me good pep talks, motivating me and serving to me once I had moments once I was down. That exact story when that one man was form of laughing at me whereas I used to be coaching to organize for the French Open, it didn’t have an effect on me in that sense as a result of inside I knew that I used to be not completed, and I knew that I nonetheless had nice issues to perform. I simply thought, okay, he has the suitable to his opinion, like all people, and he can take that if he needs. However I do know in my coronary heart that it’s not the reality and there are nonetheless nice issues to attain.
How vital is the coach-and-player relationship?
It’s actually vital. Your coach performs such an important position in your profession. You higher just remember to have the suitable one who suits and works with you. The correct match, since you spend a lot time with that particular person. They aid you develop your sport and aid you in these tough moments if you find yourself down or haven’t been doing effectively or you might be injured. For me, in my profession, I had the good fortune to work with among the finest coaches on the earth. And I bear in mind making an attempt to play a event as soon as once I thought I’m going to don’t have any coach and I’ve acquired lots of expertise. I do know the ladies and I do know what to do. I went to a event on my own and I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I hate it.” I simply felt so alone. You are feeling lonely after which it’s like there’s not as a lot motivation. You realise it helps to have assist. You aren’t doing all the things by your self. It’s good to have these eyes from exterior that see issues that you simply don’t.
READ | Federer, Serena confirmed for Australian Open
Steffi Graf or Serena Williams, who is healthier in your eyes?
Effectively, I feel you simply have to take a look at the outcomes and have a look at the variety of titles. Serena has extra titles. Steffi did accomplish the Golden Slam the place she gained the Grand Slam that yr (all 4 majors in 1988) plus the (Olympic) gold medal, which was unimaginable. Whether or not you might be pushed onerous or not, you continue to should win the Grand Slam. What Serena does is superb.
From the present crop, who do you want to observe among the many ladies and the lads?
I like watching Serena. She is simply an unimaginable competitor. I like her aggressive sport. I like watching Nick Kyrgios. He’s entertaining. I like watching Roger Federer, clearly accepting what he does is totally unimaginable. You simply can’t educate what he does.
When will we see a French Grand Slam champion?
I don’t know. That could be a good query. I like Caroline Garcia. She has the potential, however she just isn’t up there but. There’s lots of work to do for her to win a Grand Slam. There’s a younger woman named Diane Parry. She’s fairly good. She jogs my memory of Amélie Mauresmo a bit of bit. We’re protecting our eyes open for her sooner or later.
Pierce gained the singles title on the 2000 French Open, the place she was additionally topped the doubles champion with Martina Hingis. “It’s superb once I look again at my profession. It was simply unimaginable. I achieved my dream in tennis, which was to win the French Open. After which all the things else is only a bonus actually,” she says. – Particular Association
Has the sport turn out to be extra bodily, resulting in prime gamers competing much less in doubles?
I feel that’s a great level. I used to play doubles, blended doubles and singles on a regular basis. That basically helps your sport and having an all-round sport. As we speak it’s so uncommon to see a singles participant compete in doubles. It actually makes a distinction and I want to see the singles gamers taking part in doubles once more. They could assume that they will’t. I feel they will, as they’re match and robust. As we speak’s tennis is extra of power-baseline. I want to see extra serve and volley. I want to see extra of an all-court sport.
Many gamers aspire to achieve the highest. What’s it that separates a participant with the spark from the others?
I form of like that look of their eyes. They’re much extra centered and have a extra critical strategy. They’re extra skilled in direction of how they strategy their tennis and the way they put together for his or her observe. How they’re of their warm-ups? Did they create all their gear and issues they want of their bag? Their angle on the courtroom, the depth that they create. The curiosity that they’ve within the sport. They ask questions as they need to be taught. They’re college students. I used to be so stunned once I was chatting with Ivan Ljubičić, Roger Federer’s coach, once we had been within the aircraft collectively from Melbourne to Dubai. We had been chatting within the flight. He was telling me that he had by no means seen anybody so keen about tennis as Roger, who’s such a scholar of the sport. It goes to point out you why Roger is so good. He’s at all times open to speak about tennis, to be taught one thing. He doesn’t assume he is aware of all the things and it is a vital high quality to stay humble and to be a scholar of the sport.
Sania Mirza had that spark even when she was 16, and he or she performed doubles with you in a WTA occasion. What did you discover that made her stand out?
There have been many issues, however I feel her energy stood out essentially the most. I used to be simply so impressed by how onerous she may hit the ball. There have been lots of unforced errors, however as she continued to coach and with age, she clearly made fewer and fewer unforced errors, and have become a really harmful participant, an awesome participant.
READ | Mary Pierce: Wasn’t stunned when Sania developed right into a prime participant
How has been your affiliation with Mahesh Bhupathi with whom you gained the Wimbledon blended doubles title in 2005?
It was such an awesome honour and privilege for me to play blended doubles with Mahesh as a result of he was such an awesome doubles participant. I loved taking part in with him very a lot. He’s an actual gentleman and an awesome competitor. It was lots of enjoyable to play with him. He was simply a tremendous participant. I bear in mind being on the courtroom with him and typically he hit a shot and I used to be similar to, “Wow, how did he do this!” Superb pictures. So, I felt very lucky to play with him and to win that blended doubles title in Wimbledon in 2005. We turned mates and stayed in contact. I did some commentary for the IPTL (Worldwide Premier Tennis League) in a Mumbai studio.
What do we have to do to see our singles gamers excel within the Grand Slams?
You’ve got to have a killer intuition if you find yourself on courtroom. I feel Indian individuals are very good. There’s nothing improper about being good. It is very important be good. However I feel whenever you get on the courtroom and you might be taking part in tennis, you might be competing. And you have to have a killer intuition. You need to need it badly. In doubles they accomplish that effectively, as they’re with somebody who helps and motivates. You’ve got to have the hearth. You need to be motivating your self if you find yourself on the market taking part in singles.
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