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Rezai: “Nowadays I feel I can cry inside”

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Originally published on: 30/05/12 00:00

Rezai may have gone out in the first round of the French Open for the second year in succession – to the same opponent, too, in the shape of Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu – but after all her difficulties of recent times the 25-year-old Frenchwoman was just happy to be back at her home Grand Slam tournament.

“Of course it always feels good when the crowd supports you,” she said. “I think about Roland Garros 365 days a year. I want to come back and play here and give it all because I want to show the crowd, my crowd, that I'm here, that I'm fighting.”

Two years ago Rezai was the world No.15. Today she is world No.130. Her off-the-court problems began at last year’s Australian Open, where her father, Arsalan, who has clashed with tennis authorities and with other parents in the past, was banned from tennis. Aravane filed a complaint against him for “harassment, intentional violence and death threats” and cut off all contact with him. According to reports she did not see him again until he turned up at a tournament she was playing in France earlier this month.

For months Rezai's life was in turmoil, but now she is trying to rebuild her career from her base at the Mouratoglou academy just outside Paris. In her last appearance before Roland Garros, at an ITF tournament at Saint Gaudens, she reached the semi-finals, but she needs to keep climbing back up the rankings before she earns direct entry into most WTA events. It was only two years ago that Rezai beat Venus Williams in the final in Madrid to record her biggest triumph.

“I really need to move on, not waste any time,” she said. “The career of a tennis player is so short that you need to keep moving forward and play matches. Who cares who plays well and plays badly? What matters is who wins the matches.”

Although she was upset at losing in the first round at Roland Garros, Rezai said that “last year my tears were due to the fact that I was weak mentally, but nowadays I feel that I can cry inside.”

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