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Tennis.  Aravane Rezaï: “I had to die to be reborn” – Tennis


Open Guindé in Taden-Dinan, Saturday and Sunday

It is a path of which she herself does not know the end. But of which she tastes every moment. “I had to die to be reborn”, often repeats Aravane Rezaï, 34, engaged in an improbable comeback for almost three years.

In another life, the Stéphanoise was one of the greatest hopes of French tennis, 15th in the world in 2010, known for the power of her shots, her exploits at Roland Garros and her four tournaments won. A “complicated start to life,” she nevertheless sums up.

Career interrupted between 2012 and 2018

In conflict with her father’s trainer, she put her career on hold in 2012. More tournaments, more income and the gains of the past which are gradually evaporating. Until this return to the courts of the INSEP, in the spring of 2018. The first painful steps, “with 30 kg too much”, soon slowed down by the covid crisis. Then, this slow resurrection which accelerated three weeks ago with a first ITF tournament played in Saint-Palais-sur-Mer (Charente Maritime). “I spent the qualifiers there, beating a top 400, before losing in the first round of the final table against Amandine Hesse (180th)”.

Two other events of the same ilk followed, in Dijon then in Neubourg in Normandy where she lost to the American Robin Anderson (227th). “I played with a fever but I’m very disappointed with my performance,” says the Franco-Iranian. I wanted to do too much ”.

“Leave something positive on this earth”

However, “I grapple, I try to find my level”, confides the eternal fighter, expected in Cherbourg after passing through Taden.

Its French ranking has already changed (from – 2/6 to – 15). In three weeks, she should join the WTA circuit. “But I can’t give a specific goal. My development is sometimes bizarre. I surprise myself, for good and for bad ”. Her body is still rebuilding (“When you’ve stopped for almost eight years, you can’t hope to come back in a year”). But his mind is at peace despite the torments. “The experiences of the past have made me stronger. For the rest of my life, I will have more peace of mind, more lucidity ”. Aravane Rezaï is fascinating to listen to. “If I had one message to get across, it would be: ‘Never give up! Persevere despite the trials and leave something positive on this earth ””.

“The goal is to compete in Roland-Garros next year”

His pride is also to have reconnected with his family. Starting with Arsalan, the omnipotent dad, whose ambition was for one of his children to be “world number 1, whatever the sport”. With his daughter, he was once a dictator, a tyrant. “Today, he’s not the same man I have in front of me. He has grown older, he has learned to put things into perspective. It works really well between us. Besides, he remains for me one of the best coaches in the world ”.

A guide on the way to Aravane. For what end? “The goal is to compete in Roland Garros next year, that is to say to be in the top 200 in the world. And then to play one or more Grand Slams in 2023 ”. History to permanently close the scars of yesteryear. And to be reborn, definitely.

THE PROGRAM. Saturday. 10:30 am, men’s semi-final: M. Hamou – B. Crepate, followed by the women’s first semi-final: A. Rezaï – T. Gravouil. Not before 2:30 p.m .: ladies semi-final: A. Lim – L. Tholey, followed by the men’s second semi-final: L. Mitjana – G. Barrère. Not before 6 p.m .: Double Davis Cup 91 with Henri Leconte and Guy Forget.

Sunday. End of the morning: exhibition with Michaël Llodra. 2:30 p.m .: Ladies final; 4:30 p.m .: Men’s final.