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Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Virginie Razzano to play Roland Garros in memory of her fiancé

It'll doubtless be a moving moment when French tennis player Virginie Razzano takes to the court for her opening match at Roland Garros which begins on May 22.

Virginie Razzano, US Open 2009 (from Wikipedia, author Robbie Mendelson)

And the thoughts of many a home fan will be with the 28-year-old during the French Open, not because of fierce national pride but instead in support of a woman who will still be in mourning following the death of her fiancé and trainer Stéphane Vidal on Monday.

"Four or five days ago I asked him whether he wanted me to play at Roland Garros," she writes in a touching letter published in Tuesday's edition of the sports daily L'Equipe.

"He replied that I had to because he wanted me to get on with my life and continue playing for both of us."

It's very much a pattern the couple had followed for the past nine years ever since Vidal was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

They met 11 years ago when Razzano started training at a club run by his parents.

"Over time we became friends," she writes.

"And little by little, as we got to know each other better, we fell in love."

But it was a relationship overshadowed by the Vidal's diagnosis and even though he accompanied Razzano as her coach on the Tour and was always by her side, the illness took its toll over the years.

Vidal's condition worsened at the beginning of this year and although Razzano continued travelling and playing in tournaments until last month - at the insistence of her fiancé - it became clear in April that the 32-year-old was dying.

"I've never met anyone as good or as strong as Stéphane," writes Razzano.

"It's hard, but with the strength he gave me, I'm still alive."

Currently ranked 93rd in the world and competing at Roland Garros for the 14th time, Razzano might not be among the favourites to lift the title, but there's always hope.

And wouldn't it be a fitting tribute?


Anonymous said...

Moving story. I don't know this player, so I shall pay attention when I watch Roland Garros. I hope indeed that she can play tribute to her coach and fiance by pulling some great tennis.

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