Splitting with dad was tough, says Bartoli
Date published :
12 Feb 2013 - 19:47:10
French tennis star Marion Bartoli admitted on Tuesday it was "tough" to split from her father who had been coaching her for 20 years.
The former Wimbledon finalist recovered from 2-5 in the first set to win 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 against Francesca Schiavone, the former French Open champion from Italy, in the first round of the Qatar Open.
The 28-year-old then spoke of the complexity of her feelings about her professional parting with her father Walter.
"I felt maybe at this stage of my career, when I have so much experience, I could maybe try a little bit more my way or differently," she said.
"But I still love my dad I still call him right after the match He was so happy with my performance (today). I was really happy, too.
"There is nothing wrong with my dad," she said of the parent who introduced her to the game at the age of six and helped fashion her rare double-handed style on both wings.
"It's just I felt that maybe when I'm on the court just by myself I can take more decisions, and maybe fight a little more, just because I'm really trying my hardest myself.
"We will see where it takes me," added Bartoli, who has had seven straight seasons in the world's top 20 and won seven WTA Tour titles.
She has had only two weeks to get used to the new arrangement, as the Paris indoor tournament was the first in which she competed without her father, and her emotions about the decision are fresh.
"Of course it's a tough decision. I won't say hard. I think tough," Bartoli said, making a distinction which eluded some people.
"But, you know, at some point throughout my career I have been going through some tough decisions. That's what helped me to be where I am right now.
"The person with me is my physical coach. You know we had a long discussion with my dad, and he was coaching me for more than 20 years. We had some tremendous results together."
Bartoli has not ruled out bringing in a different coach but apparently has no-one in mind at the moment.
"We will see. I have been playing so many matches. I have been hitting so many balls that I don't really feel like I can change a lot to my game," she said.
"Certainly having someone in my box cheering on for me will help me, but it's not really my main focus right now. My main focus is to improve physically. I mean, the way I was moving in the second set and the way I handled all those tough rallies, I was really pleased with that.
"So that's first my main direction, and then if I feel I need to bring out someone on the court with me, I will do the move, but right now it's not my main priority."
Bartoli's achievements in a first round performance in which she was never quite at her best was to overcome the mild 'flu with which she arrived, to adapt from the clay courts of the Fed Cup to the hard courts of Doha, and to resist the tenacity of Schiavone, one of the most noted fighters on the circuit.
She may nevertheless need to improve on that in her next encounter which is against Svetlana Kuznetsova, the former US and French Open champion.