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Noah Rubin’s “Behind The Racquet” with Marion Bartoli • Tennis | 10sBalls

Photo credit: Christian Mesiano/Wikimedia Commons

Editor’s note: 10sBalls thanks Noah Rubin for giving us permission to repost these great stories.

Marion Bartoli

January 26, 2023

#LegendaryBTR – “I won Wimbledon in 2013 and retired weeks later. When you win a Grand Slam, you are on top of the world and do not want to quit because you have finally gotten the reward of your hard work. My mind wanted to continue but my body could not play anymore. I devoted my whole life to compete with the best players in the world. The extra hours of practice and fitness took a toll on my body. I could not continue to play in pain. I wanted a Grand Slam so much that my mind pushed my body until I won Wimbledon. But when I finally won, I felt empty. I did not have any more resources to return to the court. It was painful because I could not capitalize on my victory.

Luckily, I found fashion and design. I earned my fashion degree from Central Saint Martins in London which took my mind off the pain of not being able to play tennis. I have designed for Fila for a long time. My success off the court has helped me mentally erase my past identity as a tennis player. Without fashion, I would have fared worse after my retirement. But I still miss tennis. If I am feeling down or having a bad day, I wish I could be back on court. I am working as a commentator, when I reenter the gates of Wimbledon, memories flood back. It is not easy to watch current players take the court when you used to be there too.

My biggest supporter is my father who helped me stay positive throughout my injuries. He was a doctor who handled critical situations on a daily basis so he saw my injuries with a lighter point of view. At 23 years old, I lost my first Grand Slam final at Wimbledon. It was a difficult moment because I had gotten so close to the title. I talked to my father and he helped me recognize the bigger picture. A struggle is only a moment in your life that makes you stronger. He gave me a new perspective on tennis and life.

I have always wanted to coach because I am a giver. I love to be generous and give back to the sport. For me, coaching is not about the money or the fame, it is to help someone play better. It does not matter if you are a club player or professional player because everyone has room for improvement. I get the most satisfaction from sharing my tennis knowledge to help a player improve.

In 2019, I started coaching Jelena Ostapenko. She won the French Open two years earlier but was on the slope of falling out of the Top 100. I know women’s tennis very well and faced many of her same opponents during my career. We slightly changed her technique and helped her gain mental strength. Jelena won nine out of ten of her next matches, returned to the Top 50 and captured her first WTA title in over two years. That was a great experience.

When you mature and gain experience, you reflect on your life. My biggest mistake was not hiring a private physiologist because I would have lasted longer on tour. My body constantly suffered and it was painful to be on court. But it was expensive to hire a physio and the WTA prize money was lower back then. I heard Maria Sharapova recently reveal her experience on tour. She said she was in her own world and was extremely focused when she entered a tennis club. My experience on tour was similar but not to that extreme. I made friends with four other players but the rest of the draw was outside competition. You can still play hard while respecting your opponent. I always did.”

Marion Bartoli (@bartolimarion)

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Also listen to Noah Rubin’s Podcast

Behind the Racquet Pod Mike Cation & Noah Rubin/Tennis Channel Podcast Network

and check out his new clothing line!