Tuesday, May 26, 2009

French Fried

Marion Bartoli of France pumps her fist during her match against compatriot Pauline Parmentier at the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, May 25, 2009.

Marion Bartoli, one of my favorites, sums up the anguish that seems to undo so many French players on the terre battue of Roland Garros.

Q. You said you have experience, but you were stressed. Is there a particular reason?

MARION BARTOLI: There's a little reason. First, we are in France. Second, we are in the French Open. Third, we have ‑‑ my results in the French Open haven't been great. Then I also played against a French player, and also, it's clay. So all of this sums it up.

If it had been a green surface on Centre Court in Wimbledon, it would have been different.

Q. You say it's France. It's the French Open. Can you say more about it? When you are a French player playing on center court here, what is the feeling you have?

MARION BARTOLI: I think when you ‑‑ when we are French,we dream of winning the French Open. Since we are kids, we want to be, on Saturday, the last Saturday for girls and the last Sunday for boys, holding this trophy when we are able to play the French Open. It's already a great performance, and we put pressure on ourselves, on our own, because we believe that if we are here, we have to give it our best shot, and we get stressed, and every match is so difficult mentally and for our nerves.

It's because there is a culture of the French Open in France. It's so important for us tennis players that when we are here, we want to give all we have. For some players it's tough. Others are able to play.

Q. You're afraid the crowd will turn against you if you don't play well?

MARION BARTOLI: Yes. People support you when they feel there are long rallies and you are giving the best you have. That was the case in the end of the second set and the third set. We played good rallies.

People were appreciating. But when we make unforced errors on four second serves, I made mistakes, and then people don't support you. So then you start thinking, what are they going to think about me, you become more and more stressed. So it's more difficult for us.

Of course, some players like to play here,but for me, it's very difficult emotionally.

Full interview

(Thanks, Pamela)


Sa said...

The pressure the French put on their athletes is ridic. Poor Amélie has been cursed by it, and I think Gasquet has had a lot to deal with as well.
The comments in newspapers and tv are obnoxious and pushy.
Yet for some reason no one in France likes Santoro. Maybe that's why he's had a long career!

Tennis Vagabond said...

I just don't get it. These are pro athletes, their entire lives are built around learning to take pressure and turn it positive. It seems like on every other court, the hometowners usually hit above their weight class, but not the French.
Do we ever hear storylines about how the poor Canadians should be expected to choke during the Stanley Cup finals because they've been dreaming of it all their life?

sG said...

Screw the French crowds! One of my favorite tournaments of the year and it has some of my least favorite crowds. My dislike of them isn't helped by the fact that they consistently root against my fave players for players they don't know from Adam or Eve.

Yesterday I felt their applause for Bartoli was tepid but I was probably projecting. /rant As for Amelie and the rest, their inability to play under home crowd pressure -- I don't get it. Bartoli's explanation clears up nothing because I could have guessed that. Is it something special the French press/hype machine do to them as they are growing up? Something almost no other top pro-tennis nation does? It must be because the fear seems like an instinct ingrained during childhood. I mean, every tennis nation has its share of headcases but they seem to own premium land in that particular territory.

Graf_sampras said...

this is of course more applicable to anyone that actually has the ability but just is getting nervous at what the "audience" will say .....

but one VERY important lesson i learned from master teachers in music and piano long ago was:

"you have done and studied what only a few can do ....you are on stage because THEY CAN'T Be -- and you are onstage because you can do what few if any of them can the way only YOU can do...that is your stage - you are the master of it...they aren't....be proud of what you do."

it was a wise thing actually...

yes - one is aware of mistakes - and one is aware of people knowing there are mistakes....but THEY aren't the ones hitting...YOU are.

if they can do BETTEr -- let them come DOWN and do it themselves! should be the attitude.

Craig Hickman said...

The 4-time defending champion and world No. 1 should be first up on Chatrier every time he plays.

Rafa doesn't deserve the same treatment Dinara is receiving?

What is with these schedulers?

MMT said...

I'm sorry, but this bit from Bartoli is just self-pitying drivel. Get on with it. If you're waiting for the crowd to help you win (which is a myth) then you're a lost cause.