Pierce's defeat leaves Mauresmo as sole Frenchwoman

PTI | ByFrancois Thomazeau (Reuters), Paris
May 30, 2004 12:31 AM IST

Mary Pierce's 6-3 6-1 humiliation by Venus Williams left Amelie Mauresmo as the last Frenchwoman in the French Open on Saturday.

Mary Pierce's 6-3 6-1 humiliation by Venus Williams left Amelie Mauresmo as the last Frenchwoman in the French Open on Saturday but the 2000 champion said she had no advice to pass on to her compatriot.

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"I don't have any advice to give her. She knows what she's doing and it seems to me like she's playing very well," Pierce said.

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"In 2000, I managed to tell myself I was somewhere else. Otherwise, it's normal to have that little bit extra pressure when you're French and playing in Paris," the Canadian-born 30th seed said.

In the past, Mauresmo has always failed on her home clay because of poor nerves. The 29-year-old Pierce's defeat against Williams offered her a perfect example of what she should try to avoid.

"It's quite unusual to play Venus in a third round," said Pierce. "Usually you meet her in the quarter-finals or the semi-finals.

"I wanted to do too well. I wanted to win that match too badly. I put too much pressure on myself.

"Usually, when I try so hard not to lose, when I put myself under that sort of pressure is when I play badly," said Pierce, who also won the Australian Open in 1995.

Since a long injury lay-off in 2001, Pierce has slowly made it back up the WTA ladder by moving to Amsterdam to train with her first coach, Sven Groeneveld.

She said she was all the more disappointed by her loss to Williams as she felt she was slowly nearing her best form.

"It's a very disappointing defeat. Not only losing but not playing a good match. I didn't give myself that chance out there.

"And it's also disappointing because I'm starting to feel pretty good physically and to play pretty well."

Pierce's experiences could be a useful lesson to Mauresmo but the French number one, seeded third, is unlikely to learn about them.

Mauresmo has decided not to read the press or watch television during Roland Garros to cut herself off from the rest of the world -- a method that helped Pierce to win on centre court four years ago.

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