‘Mauresmo can take me the last lap’
Marion Bartoli believes tennis legend Amelie Mauresmo can help her achieve her biggest ambition during the remaining years of her career.
The former Wimbledon finalist says major titles are more within her reach now that her fellow-Frenchwoman, who won Wimbledon and the Australian Open, is taking over from her father Walter as coach.
Bartoli hopes to have Mauresmo's help at major events, whilst working with Mauresmo's former trainer Xavier Moreau on her biggest weakness, her movement and physical fitness.
All three live in Switzerland, and the motivating effect of the new team has already been evident during this week's Dubai Open, where Bartoli said: "I haven't felt as good on a tennis court in a long time."
She is also clear about why she has now made the surprising but courageous split from the father who had been coaching her since introducing her to tennis when she was six.
"When you're 28 and towards the end of your career, you either just let it slip away and you're happy with what you have done already or you want more. And I'm the kind of person that always want more," Bartoli emphasised.
"Amélie's going to be probably my main coach - for some tournaments, the big ones, at least. Then of course I need to find someone else, because a year is not only made by a Grand Slam and Indian Wells and Miami. It's a lot of tournaments every week, and I need someone with me every week.
"But for now the most important thing is to improve physically. I know it will take time. It will take a lot more hours in the gym, outside, running, losing weight.
"But I'm ready and I think I'm in the right hands," she said.
Bartoli is currently ranked 11th, but she remains a player with unusual potential because of her rare double-handed style on both wings.
It is still possible to see how Bartoli might give more trouble to the finest players in the world, even though they are already familiar with the way she plays.
"When you look at the players right now, if you're not physically extremely strong, how you can be able to beat them? It's impossible," Bartoli said, referring to the physical development of players like Victoria Azarenka, Agnieszka Radwanska, and Caroline Wozniacki.
"So if you want to be inside the top 10, if you want to have the trophies and achieve something, you have to be fit enough to run for three hours, and next day be on court and do it again - and again and again.
"For some players it's easier because they are naturally physically stronger than me, because they have parents who have been champions or whatever. I don't have that; I know it. It has been always my weakness, in a way."
Of her father's decision to stand down as her coach, she said: "I love him too much to really just say, that's it, it's over."
She added: "I mean, when you work for 22 years with someone, you're kind of still hearing the voice telling you what to do."