The following article confirms it!
Pierce puts bad days behind her
29 December 2002
By ANDREW SANDERS
A serene Mary Pierce arrived in Auckland yesterday minus two missing bags but buoyed by a new coach and an intense hunger to strike after three injury-ravaged seasons on the world tennis circuit.
The two-time grand slam tournament winner is the headline act at the $280,000 ASB Classic.
The Stanley St tournament, which starts tomorrow, will be her first since the US Open in August and her reappearance will attract worldwide interest.
Pierce, 27, is convinced she is over her injury woes.
"I feel great," Pierce said. "I am happy and I have been training hard for the last three months. I am healthy. I feel 100%."
Pierce was delayed for close to an hour at the airport as she attempted to hunt down her missing luggage.
Fortunately the mislaid bags, which were eventually tracked to Los Angeles and delivered to her yesterday afternoon, didn't contain her training gear and she was on court within four hours of landing.
She also delivered good news to tournament director Richard Palmer when she informed him she would also play the doubles.
"She will be playing with the world doubles No 1 Paola Suarez," he said. "That is huge news for us. It was a bit of a surprise. The big name players usually only play singles."
Pierce is an accomplished doubles player, having won the French Open title with Martina Hingis two years ago. She is also a keen jetskier and Palmer has a machine jacked up for her if she wants a blast.
Pierce's decision to play the singles and doubles in her comeback tournament indicates she is hungry for court time.
"In the last couple of years, I haven't played very much because of my injuries.
"There have been some difficult moments definitely for me because it is something (the setbacks) I have never really experienced before. It was a great learning experience and a great growing time for me. I learnt a lot about myself. It was good. Things happen for a reason."
Pierce's medical handbrakes have included an abdominal strain as well as tendonitis in both ankles, a chronic inflammation of the lumbar spine and rotator cuff tendonitis.
With the exception of 1996, Pierce was a top 10 institution between 1994 and 2000 and she has amassed close to $13 million in prizemoney. But she isn't feeling under pressure to return to the game's elite where she has been ranked as high as No 3.
"I don't feel as if I have anything to prove," she said. "I believe in myself and I know what I can do."
Accompanying her is new coach David McPherson, a former doubles specialist who is no stranger to Stanley St.
Pierce works through coaches like most people chew on their muesli. She and McPherson, a Tasmanian, have been working together for one month with McPherson saying it was just a matter of honing Pierce's well developed game.
"We have just been working on everything so she can get off to a good start," she said. "I think she is real fit. She has trained extremely hard and she is in excellent shape."
Pierce, who has a world ranking of 52, will play Germany's Angelika Roesch in the first round while the two top seeds Anna Pistolesi and Eleni Daniilidou will both play qualifiers.