Re: marion articles thread
Interview of Marion - Saturday 29th
Can you summarize the match? Does everything depend on that set ball, or could you explain the reasons for this defeat more widely?
No, more widely. I had occasions to take the first set. I did not manage to take the first set. Conditions were not to my advantage today.
The courts were wet and slippery, and my opponent is more at ease in that kind of conditions than I am. There were some quite good points in this match. Overall I believe that I have done a correct match, and the audience encouraged me to the end. It was very nice.
I have to work to start the next season on clay being ready right from the beginning. This time maybe I wasn't quite ready, but it was very close. But I don't understand, when the ball is out, how can anybody see it on the line? The ball did not touch the line. There was not a single piece of white mark touching the ball, and they say there is no space between the ball and the line. I don't understand that judgment.
Is it the kind of match that might get you on friendlier terms with the clay? Do you like clay again?
I don't have anything against clay except that it's more difficult for me to play on clay. I know why. It's due to my physical characteristics and my type of play. But it's a challenge for me, and I take it as a good challenge.
This match shows me where I need to improve for next year. Clay will always be a bigger challenge for me than other surfaces, but every year Roland Garros is my main objective, and I will continue to do so until the end of my career.
Wasn't this match for you a tactical fight more than anything else? Of course you each had a different tactic, but we really felt like it was a big tactic fight between you. She was trying to take you on the off foot with dropshots, trying to play on your forehand. Was that a tactic fight?
Yes, of course, but my only regret is that during the first set I had a set ball in the tiebreak, and I missed my backhand. I tried to play crosscourt, and that is my only regret. That is my main mistake.
She played very often on my backhand, and instead of playing along the line as I did in the second set, I tried to play crosscourt, and she gained confidence again and that will be my only regret.
Now, if the surface had been drier and the conditions faster, I would have been in a better position, but that's the way it is. I need to get to grips with it.
I think again this is going to be a good lesson to improve on that kind of surface.
You said you had regrets regarding that set ball? She served it 120 kilometers an hour.
It's not a question of the serve speed. Her serve today was very difficult for me to attack. The ball was dead. It had no weight whatsoever, and she came forward to the net.
And since it was raining, there was clay flying and the balls went really high without any speed.
How do you give speed to that kind of ball to do a winning return? On clay, it's impossible. In such a tense moment I could not try to play a winning return. It would have been a suicide, so I tried to play the point, and I made a wrong call.
But on such a ball, with no speed whatsoever, on clay, with wind, it's very difficult to try a winning point, a winning return. It's the kind of stroke that has very little chances of succeeding.
What we saw on TV confirmed that the set ball was out with the Hawk Eye. Do you think we should put Hawk Eye on clay?
Well, then it reassures me. It means that I have good eyes. Maybe you should show this to the line judge.
But if we use the Hawk Eye on television, why don't we use it on the courts? I mean, it would make everybody happy. Everybody would be relieved. It would avoid mistakes, especially if we don't agree on the mark, and then the mark is judged and interpreted differently according to the judge.
If there is a technology available that can be shown on television to TV viewers, then why not use it on the court?
You said that clay was a bigger challenge for you, but you don't seem to be the only one because there are no more French women players in the tournament now. Same question every year. How do you explain the fact that the French players do not succeed well on clay?
There are several explanations. There are only two seeded players, so when you only have two women players who are seeded, there are very few chances you'll find them in the second week.
And also, the second explanation is that when you grow up and you learn playing tennis, you learn to play on hardcourts more than on clay.
I mean, as far as I'm concerned, all my regional championships were done on hardcourts. All the open tournaments that you play when you're 13 or 14 and you're ranked in France, less than 15, then you all play on hardcourts. The first time I played on clay was the French championship Under 16s.
So the first time you set foot on a clay surface you're 15, and all the Spanish players, all the foreign players training in Spain play all night, day in and day out on clay. It's very difficult to be competitive.
So it's not just the surface. It's due to the fact that today there were only two players, Aravane and myself, seeded. If you take the number of Russian seeded players or American seeded players, I mean, Serena, Venus is a case by herself, but otherwise they have a greater chance of being there in the second week.
For a while there were quite a number of players in the top 20, but only Mary Pierce ever played really well here.
As far as I remember Amélie has done quarterfinals several times, and Sandrine also, and Julie as well has played well here. But as I said, we have a clay Grand Slam tournament in France without having the necessary training for players. At INSEP, it's hardcourts. At CNE, it's hardcourts. All the training centers have hardcourts. We only train on hardcourts. Why don't we have clay courts? We have better results in the US Open, and it makes sense. We learn to play between the ages of 8 and 14.
If you learn all your technical reflexes on the hardcourts, then it's very difficult to transfer this to clay when you're older.
Isn't it a deeper problem, because in the US Open there were no French players in the round of 16? So the clay is one issue, but the fact that we don't have French players in the round of 16?
I was in the US Open. I lost last year in three sets to Clijsters. I can't say that my draw was perfect. But again, I think the issue is more due to the fact that we have fewer seeded players or few players in the top 32, and therefore, it's difficult for us to beat top 30 players. It all adds up.
What do you think of the way Shahar Peer's play is evolving? Is she more aggressive physically?
I think she always has played really well on clay for several years. She had an off year I think starting in 2008. Before that she had already done twice round of 16 here. She beat Dementieva. She played against Hingis very well.
She's always played well on clay. Her main strength was that she came back, whereas she had had an off year, and very few people can climb back to the right level. Chakvetadze, same, when she started going down could not come up again. So she's very strong, because she went below top 15 and came back up again.
You said that this match is going to be helpful for you for the next season. Why is that? Are you going to change anything in your approach and preparation towards Roland Garros?
I think it's going to be helpful for tactical purposes first. I will understand better what to do to play better on clay. Also I think that I'm going to change the way I prepare towards this tournament. I don't know. I have to see.
I mean, this is these are working assumptions, but rather than staying on green clay after Miami, I probably will take two or three weeks to prepare my fitness, because the fitness necessary to play on clay is different.
So I need preparation specifically for clay, and also, I need to learn how to move better on clay. It's only since Roland Garros that I move well on clay. In the previous three tournaments I couldn't slide, I wasn't feeling well, I didn't have good footing on clay. Now I'm starting to feel better. So I think this is going to be my main preparation, three week preparation after Miami to be ready for the red clay season in Europe.
The work you do on clay to prepare for the clay season, is it helpful for grass?
Oh, yes, although the height of the balls and the speed are different, because when I can move on clay, then my footing on grass is also better.
Then I can use and leverage my forward play, I can take my balls early, everything that is my strength on grass. I played well in 2007 because I had very good footing on grass, and I moved really well. It already had started beforehand on Roland Garros, and then I moved on to grass, for the grass season, and it continued. So I'm in a much better position than last year to start the year's grass season this year.