PDA

View Full Version : Mary talks about her being booed at RG in the past...


spiceboy
Jun 3rd, 2005, 05:45 PM
Frenchwoman puts family turmoil in the past.

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/tennis/sfl-bricker02jun02,0,2371022.column?page=2&coll=sfla-sports-tennis

Published June 2, 2005



PARIS · Mary Pierce is in a good place now, an almost otherworldly place, far from the family upheavals, the booing of the French crowds and the controversies and anguish that once seemed to dominate her life.

To see her on and off the court now, stoic and at peace with herself, is to see a 30-year-old woman who has been quite transformed.

I have no doubt that if she loses her French Open semifinal today to Elena Likhovtseva, it won't diminish her happiness one iota. Nor, finally, will it affect her relationship with the largely fickle and demanding French fans.

If she has to walk off court a loser this afternoon, they will be chanting "Mah-ree, Mah-ree," just as they did as she swatted away Lindsay Davenport two days ago in the quarterfinals.

"It's true you change over the years. That's probably a good thing," Pierce said after winning her first-round match 10 days ago.

Throughout this tournament, I've never seen her so calm, almost blank with a lack of emotion at times. She smiled once during the Davenport match, after slashing a crosscourt backhand for a winner in the second set. She grinned for about 10 seconds, then went back to serve the next ball.

It's been 12 years since a half-dozen gendarmes in size-50 jackets escorted her father, Jim Pierce, off an outside court for "interruptive behavior." The French and the WTA Tour had had enough of his abusive patois and banned him from future events.

Not long afterward Mary and her French mother, Yannick, estranged themselves from her father. But he tracked them down to a hotel in Italy, where he got into a fight with their bodyguard.

"I walked toward him and he put his hand on me to stop me," Jim Pierce told me in an interview in September 1993. "I drilled him with a left. The guy's a sucker for a left. But as he got up he pulled a can out of his back pocket and Maced me."

Once inside Mary's room he got a towel, wiped his eyes and threw the towel at the bodyguard's feet. "When he looked down, it was hammer time. I must have hit him with four good shots," Pierce said. "When I hit him the fifth time, he pulled a knife and cut me across my arm. He cut me to the bone.

"The hell of it was, it was my own knife. I guess my wife had given it to him."

That's what her life used to be like, and that was just the beginning of years of ups and downs, mostly downs, both personally and professionally. She had a French mother, an American father and was born in Canada.

"I was a mutt," she said earlier this week. She wanted to be French and to be accepted as French, but she was not born here, nor did she live here. Nor did she speak with a classic French accent. She sounded more like an American who had learned French.

The turmoil in her family life contributed to other problems -- constant changes of coaches and poor performances. In 1996, when she was beaten badly by little regarded Barbara Rittner in the third round, she was booed off the French Open center court.

"It was a terrible feeling," Pierce said a few days ago. "They whistled. They started cheering for her. So I was like, `Am I still in France? Where am I? This isn't Germany?'"

She had a haughty attitude in those days, as if she was America's gift to French tennis, and she was very reclusive with the French media.

But gradually, as she matured, things improved, and when she won the 2000 French, the acceptance finally was there. By that time she had reconciled with her father, but her romance with baseball player Roberto Alomar was souring and she was, once again, into a period of weight gain.

It has been only in the last year that Pierce seems to have found inner peace, and it has come by moving to Paris and working with French coaches and trainers and getting a firmer grip on what she's all about.

She's 30 years old, and who can say that this isn't her final shot at a second French Open title and a third Grand Slam trophy (she won the 1995 Australian Open)?

"When I was younger, it was new and you don't know how to react. You don't understand why the public is reacting that way. You're trying to do your best. So I would take it personally as something that was directed at me," she said.

"Now, I understand people better, and I understand myself. That's why I've changed."

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/tennis/sfl-bricker02jun02,0,2371022.column?page=2&coll=sfla-sports-tennis

Davenselesport
Jun 3rd, 2005, 05:47 PM
Jeez I dont know... fans are very unpredictable... it's all mob-mentality

SelesFan70
Jun 3rd, 2005, 06:41 PM
Her dad was escorted for threatening and taunting another player (Kimberly Po at the time..she's now Kimberly Po-Messerling) :fiery: I'm glad they've reconciled, but what an ass.

samn
Jun 3rd, 2005, 06:56 PM
My question would be: Is there anyone who hasn't been booed by the French crowds at one time or another? :)

Helen Lawson
Jun 3rd, 2005, 07:02 PM
I thought the "booed" said "boned" when I read it the first time. I was thinking, wow, Mary, way to kiss and tell, and at the tennis stadium no less.

Volcana
Jun 3rd, 2005, 08:17 PM
One of the coolest thing about older players is that they ARE mature, and they HAVE been around. Maybe Martina and Mary will inspire more of the older players to keep their fitness at a level where they still can compete. You don't lose your shots at thirty, or even forty. But it's a LOT harder to stay in shape, and coming back from injury takes for-fucking-EVER.

Denise4925
Jun 3rd, 2005, 10:28 PM
One of the coolest thing about older players is that they ARE mature, and they HAVE been around. Maybe Martina and Mary will inspire more of the older players to keep their fitness at a level where they still can compete. You don't lose your shots at thirty, or even forty. But it's a LOT harder to stay in shape, and coming back from injury takes for-fucking-EVER.
Tell me about it. I hurt my back going for a backhand about 6 weeks ago and I still haven't healed. I may have aggravated it trying to play again, but I though it was healed. When I first got injured, the doc told me I slightly tore a muscle in my back. At 40 it does take a very long time to heal.

auntie janie
Jun 3rd, 2005, 10:37 PM
Mary won't get booed tomorrow no matter how she performs. Now they appreciate her, like a fine wine that has properly aged. :)

And her French is excellent now; i saw her being interviewed last night on the France2 news on PBS. Very impressive!

I always love to see the older veterans do well. (Remember Tauziat peaking at 30 or so?) Mary's playing against my favorite player tomorrow so I can't quite root for her, but I'm thrilled to see her in the Final, happy, healthy, and at peace with herself and the world. :hearts:

saby
Jun 3rd, 2005, 10:43 PM
My question would be: Is there anyone who hasn't been booed by the French crowds at one time or another? :)

Guga, Agassi, Graf, Henin, Davenport....:) they are not as wild as everybody thinks, they share their emotions

manu32
Jun 4th, 2005, 08:44 AM
she never was supported by french crowd as steffi for example....so it's not only a nationalist question but a feeling.....her victory in 2000 did'n't create in france a great popular sentiment like graf's precedent year....but today i think it will be different.....if mary plays good game and has a natural attitude without tics,rituals ..those details were great ennemies for her and all the media insisted a lot ..before this year....

samn
Jun 4th, 2005, 08:50 AM
Guga, Agassi, Graf, Henin, Davenport....:) they are not as wild as everybody thinks, they share their emotions

Graf was booed a few times by some of the fans when she questioned calls. This was especially true if she happened to be playing Sabatini. And on one occassion, Graf even lost her temper a bit and yelled right back at the booing fans a la Mlle Capriati. :lol:

Of course being booed for questioning calls is something that happens to almost every player at Roland Garros, I think.