Wimbledon - "Si je joue aussi bien, c'est parce que je sais que c'est presque la fin" : Alizé Cornet savoure son exploit

Wimbledon – “Si je joue aussi bien, c’est parce que je sais que c’est presque la fin” : Alizé Cornet savoure son exploit

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There are coincidences that have the false air of destiny. She was the last Frenchwoman to have knocked down a world number 1 in a Grand Slam. It was in 2014, already on Court number 1 at Wimbledon against a certain Serena Williams who was then already five-time champion on British grass. Eight years later, Alizé Cornet has therefore achieved a new feat by bringing down the one who no longer knew what the word “defeat” meant for four months and 37 matches: Iga Swiatek.

Admittedly, the Pole probably did not have the same benchmarks on the green carpet of Wimbledon as on hard or clay – her difficult victory in the 2nd round against the Dutch “lucky loser” Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove (6-4, 4-6 , 6-3) had shown it – but still it was necessary to believe it, so great was Swiatek’s aura of invincibility. Moreover, if Cornet convinced herself before this 3rd round and during the game that she could win, she had more difficulty in achieving it afterwards.

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I haven’t assimilated everything yet and I’m just in the moment, but it’s a great pride for me to win this match against Iga. What she’s done this year is out of this world, and I can’t believe it was me who broke the streak. It’s incredible. And I’m very happy to be in the second week for the second time“, she testified at a press conference. The fact remains that this victory for the Niçoise does not come out of nowhere.

Since the resumption of competitions after the Covid crisis in the summer of 2020, Cornet has thus won the six Grand Slam matches which pitted her against a member of the Top 20. As if faced with a theoretically stronger than her, she was arriving now to give its full measure. Against Swiatek this Saturday, Cornet played at his very best, committing only 7 tiny unforced errors for 16 winning shots, showing remarkable efficiency on the important points (5 break points out of 6 converted). Result, it was Swiatek who started to panic when his ultra-aggressive game plan did not work (33 unforced errors).

Throughout her first part of her career, Cornet was unable to free herself against players of this caliber. How to explain this change? The benefit of deep work on the mental level but also the privilege of experience, to hear it.

Maybe I’m a little more relaxed when I’m the underdog. I think I have nothing to lose, and it is in this situation that I am most dangerous. I play my shots more relaxed, I hit better from the baseline. I have no parasites in my thoughts. You can’t afford to waste energy on anything else against these kinds of players. It may also mean that I am more mature, that I am mentally better at handling these kinds of situations..”

Three French women in 8th grade, a first for… 17 years

In 2022, at the age of 32, Cornet therefore continues to push his limits in Grand Slam. In Australia, she had thus reached her first quarter-final in a Major, dismissing Garbine Muguruza or even Simona Halep, excuse me. Also at the rendezvous at Roland-Garros, even if an injury frustrated her in the 3rd round, she now approaches these meetings in a different state of mind. And it is not innocent to note that these performances coincide with the announcement of his upcoming retirement.

In January, she had thus revealed that this season 2022 would undoubtedly be her last. A way to take a weight off your shoulders. So could her magnificent results change her mind? “No. I think that’s also why I play so well, because I know it’s almost the end. I give everything. I don’t plan too much. I could play until Roland Garros next year. This is the plan“, she still dropped while saying that she was probably going to redo the point.

In the meantime, this feat allows her to appear with Caroline Garcia and Harmony Tan among the three French women in the knockout stages of Wimbledon, a first in the tournament for French women’s tennis for 17 years (Mauresmo, Pierce and Dechy had achieved it in 2005 ) and for five years in Grand Slam. And facing Ajla Tomljanovic in the next round, Cornet has no reason not to believe in his star. Moreover, if she wants to savor her resounding victory, she has no intention of stopping in such a good way.

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