February 11, 2004
© WTA Tour
Welcome Back Sandrine
PARIS, France - The list of mothers on the WTA Tour may not be a long one, but it's just had another name added to it. France's Sandrine Testud gave birth to daughter Isabella last February, having played her last professional match at Wimbledon in 2002. When she left the Tour, ranked a very respectable No.10 in the world, it was unclear whether the now 31-year-old Testud would compete at the highest level ever again. That competitive spirit, which took Testud to three WTA Tour singles titles and a career-high No.9 ranking, still burned. It was strong enough for her to dust off the racquets resume training at the end of last year.
With husband and coach, Vittorio Magnelli, and Isabella in tow, Sandrine is making her return to the WTA Tour this week at the $585,000 Open Gaz de France in Paris.
As a warm-up to her highly-anticipated Tour comeback, Testud played in a $75,000 ITF Women's Circuit event in Ortisei, Italy. Unranked, she reached the quarterfinals, giving her three matches worth of practice ahead of her first round clash with Daniela Hantuchova.
In the coming months, Testud is planning to play in Dubai and Doha, then some claycourt events leading up to Roland Garros.
Before her opening match in Paris, WTATour.com spoke with Sandrine Testud (above) about her reasons for coming back.
Sandrine, when did you make the decision to come back?
I guess it was in July. I played an exhibition in Lebanon and I thought I was ready. I had fun and I still wanted to play tournaments and matches so I said, "OK, let's try!"
How did you go about resuming your training?
It took quite a while to come back and be in good shape. After pregnancy, your body is just so different. It takes months to recover so I was practicing a little bit every day, but not too much. And then I started to work really hard after Christmas, after New Year.
Did you do anything differently in training being a mother now?
I did it differently in the way that I was not practicing that hard, but I was doing tennis and physical (work) and gym every day. Probably everything in a row, almost, because I had a few hours to do that and the rest of the time I'm with my daughter. So it's a different life, but I had time to do everything slowly. I was in no rush - I didn't have to go to Australia so I just took time. Practice and try to be serious on every thing, every day and I feel pretty good today.
Why did you make the decision to come back in Paris?
Well, I thought I was not ready to go to Australia, and I didn't want to leave my daughter and didn't want to take her over there because it's too far away for a little girl. So, I skipped Australia, and I had to play a tournament before February because it was one year after my pregnancy so Paris was here, of course, and it's a great tournament, it's in France and it's a great opportunity for me to play here again.
You finished the first part of your career at No.10 in the world. Some people would say, "Why would you want to come back? You finished off in a really good position." So why did you want to come back?
Just because I have fun playing tennis. I didn't miss travelling at all anymore. I was so tired, so sick of travelling in the end, but I miss playing tennis. I miss playing matches, even if you feel pressure, and there is a lot of stress, but I still enjoyed that. So if I don't do it now I'm not going to do it in a few years, so it was a question of putting everything together, having a good organisation. When you have a kid, it's a lot of organisation and now I found the right balance between my private life and my tennis.
In terms of the goals that you have, is it purely to enjoy yourself or do you have actual goals that you want to achieve?
No, I have the goals to play well in the tournaments I'm going to enter, because I'm going to play a few tournaments. I'm going to have time between each of them to practice and to be fit for those tournaments. Hopefully, I'm going to play at the French Open and probably the US Open. They're Grand Slam tournaments, so I will to try to be ready for those big events, but playing only 10 or 12 tournaments a year I cannot expect to be No.10 in the world again. It takes a lot more tournaments than what I'm going to play, so the ranking is not the goal, for sure.
Now you're going to be a mum on Tour, are you going to try and get some advice from the other mothers?
Yeah, why not?! It's going to fun to see (Rossana Neffa) de los Rios and I think (Ruxandra) Dragomir also is playing again, and so when we're going to meet we're probably going to talk about kids, but not about tennis!