Mary Fit and Ready For Fed Cup (Article)
PARIS, Sept 15 (Reuters) - A revitalised Mary Pierce is eager to return to her favourite venue for the Fed Cup final at Roland Garros this weekend after making a full recovery from a thigh injury sustained during the U.S. Open.
Pierce, 30, who lost in the final to Belgium's Kim Clijsters, showed no ill effects during training with the France team on Wednesday.
"I was happy to be reunited with the team," she said. "I played with no strap around my thigh, which means the three days of rest I've just had have done me a lot of good.
"Above all, I was delighted to be back on that centre court. I love it."
To help overcome the stress from her American fortnight and the subsequent jet lag, Pierce has undergone a new relaxation technique by exposing herself to a special lamp.
"I like it," she said. "It works, I feel fine.
Pierce has many fond memories of Roland Garros. She won the final in 2000 and was also a finalist in 1994 and again this year.
"Since we won the semi-final I've been thinking about that final at Roland Garros," said Pierce, who is the only player to have taken part in both France's Fed Cup triumphs in 1997 and 2003.
"I've played so many matches here and I have so many great memories."
France have not played a Fed Cup tie at Roland Garros since 1978.
The American-based, Canada-born Pierce had a difficult relationship with the French fans for years before her French Open triumph five years ago.
Sometimes perceived as arrogant in her younger days, Pierce has matured over the years and is now always happy to talk to the fans and the media.
After being hampered by a string of injuries over the past few years, she staged a remarkable comeback this year with her runs to the French and U.S. Open finals.
France, playing their third successive Fed Cup final, will be relying on Pierce and Amelie Mauresmo against a strong Russian team featuring Anastasia Myskina and Elena Dementieva.