Fans of French tennis do not come much bigger than Amelie Mauresmo, who during her recently-ended playing career was frequently to be found in the players’ box watching the efforts of fellow French players, be they man or woman. Lech Walesa himself never showed more solidarity.
But unlike most sports fans her support isn’t given blindly and she’s finding it hard to call this one. “It’s hard to say really, it’s such a close final they’re going to have. We’re counting a lot on Gael [Monfils] obviously and doubles as well, it’s going to be a tricky one, I cannot really say – I would say it’s 50-50 really.
“The first rubber [between Monfils and Tipsarevic] is probably going to determine how it’s going to go. If France win it’s not decisive. If he loses definitely it’s a big step for Serbia.”
Being a keen student of French tennis, Mauresmo is less surprised than some at how well the French men’s team have done this season, beating Spain, the champions, 5-0 and Argentina by the same scoreline.
“They have such a great team. When you look at all the players – [Jo-Wilfried] Tsonga is injured, [Julien] Benneteau is playing doubles and you still have five players able to go out there on the [singles] court – maybe not [Arnaud] Clement in singles – to compete at the highest level so it’s the time for them, for men’s tennis in France to be at this level of the competition in Davis Cup.”
Anyone who imagines that Amelie is putting her feet up these days and sipping her vintage wine, couldn’t be more wrong. She ran the New York marathon last month in a creditable 3hr 40min.
“I was quite happy with that,” she said. “Different goals, different challenges. I’m happy.”
So, no Kim Clijsters-type return to tennis for her. Pity.
Amelie Mauresmo (FRA) - 02/12/2010