Paris jinx downs Mauresmo once again

5th June 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 5, 2006 (AFP) - Some things are just not destined to be and Amélie Mauresmo winning the French Open in Paris appears to be one of them.

PARIS, June 5, 2006 (AFP) -  Some things are just not destined to be and Amélie Mauresmo winning the French Open in Paris appears to be one of them.

Thirteen times she has campaigned at Roland Garros to give the tennis-loving French public what they most want to see and 13 times she has failed to deliver.

If the first few of these were part of the learning and developing process, the last few have been little more than nightmares as she has failed to do better than two quarter-final appearances.

Losing to a fully-fit Serena Williams in 2003 was one thing, but subsequent defeats to youngsters Ana Ivanovic and on Sunday in three sets to Nicole Vaidisova is quite another.

Yet against the 17-year-old Czech prodigy all the pieces were in place for the 26-year-old Mauresmo to notch up her fourth straight sets win of the tournament.

Ranked first in the world and the first French woman to be top seed in Paris in the Open era, Mauresmo was an overwhelming favourite against a player she trounced 6-1, 6-1 on her way to the Australian Open title in January.

Winning a first set tie-break should have settled any disobedient nerves, but the opposite happened. Mauresmo's game collapsed and she won only three more games in the next 15 in front of a stunned centre-court crowd.

The problem, she insisted, was more physical than mental.

"I went down physically at the start of second set and that allowed her to step into the court the way she likes to play," was her analysis of a painful defeat.

"I was unable to step back into the court and make her really play far from the baseline like I did in the first set. She was the one that was dictating the game.

"But it was not nerves. It was just that I played with a little less intensity than I needed to."

Mauresmo did admit though that her chances of one day winning the French Open on the slow Parisian claycourts on which she learned to play the game are looking less likely by the year.

The problem, she said, is not that the weight of French expectations weighs too heavily on her, rather that the clay negates the strength and power of her service game.

"With my game, it's easier to impose my rhythm on a faster court. I'm thinking in particular of Wimbledon starting from the serve," she said.

"My serve is a lot more dangerous and I can use it a lot more as a starting point. I'm more efficient on faster courts. Technically it's just easier for me."

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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