Rezai savouring switch from headlight to spotlight | sports | Hindustan Times
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Rezai savouring switch from headlight to spotlight

Aravane Rezai used to practise until dark with only the headlights of her father's van to illuminate her shots. Yet now, the new darling of Paris is taking the full glare of the French Open spotlight in her stride.

sports Updated: May 24, 2010 00:30 IST

Aravane Rezai used to practise until dark with only the headlights of her father's van to illuminate her shots. Yet now, the new darling of Paris is taking the full glare of the French Open spotlight in her stride.

Her victory at the Madrid Open last week propelled Rezai into the public eye ahead of Roland Garros and she is happy to cope with the pressure befitting of her new status.

"When you play tennis, you make sacrifices to reach that level, so this pressure, you like it," Rezai told the media following a 6-1, 6-1 crushing of Canadian qualifier Heidi El Tabakh in the first round of the French Open on Sunday.

Rezai, who beat Justine Henin, Jelena Jankovic and Venus Williams en route to the Madrid title, is now 16th in the world.

Born in St Etienne to Iranian exile parents, Rezai was at first coached by her father but now trains under the guidance of Patrick Mouratoglu, the man behind Marcos Baghdatis's early successes. Rezai has a dual nationality and even represented Iran twice at the Muslim Games. Rezai is enjoying her new life at the tennis pinnacle.

"I'm enjoying at this moment. I want to do well. Let's see how it goes," Rezai said.