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Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Virginie Razzano's tribute to Stéphane Vidal, her late fiancé

It might not have been the match of the tournament and it lasted just over an hour, but Tuesday's first round tie at Roland Garros between France's Virginie Razzano and Australia's Jarmila Gajdosova and and the subsequent press conference were both rich in emotion.

Virginie Razzano (screenshot from BFMTV report)

Gajdosova ran out the winner in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1, but the day really belonged to her 28-year-old opponent who was keeping a promise she had made to her fiancé and coach, Stéphane Vidal, who died on May 16 of a brain tumour.

It was at the press conference after the game that Razzano showed her strength and dignity as she prepared to answer the questions, that Europe 1's sports journalist Christophe Lamarre said on his blog, nobody dared to answer.

"I was very moved because I was playing for Stéphane," said Razzano, understandably battling to hold back the tears.

"It was so hard walking on to the Philip Chatrier court; there was a lot of emotion and pain," she continued.

"I tried to pay homage to Stéphane today and even though it was virtually impossible, I tried my best."

"I feel alone even if I have a lot of support from family and friends, But I've still got the strength in me to keep going, little by little.

"I'm in mourning and it's difficult when you lose someone who - excuse me - will always be the man of my life, who I love and will always love."

Razzano then went on to pay tribute to the man who had been both her coach and partner for the past nine years; the bravery Vidal had shown in fighting his illness, the strength and courage both of them had discovered in one another.

Lamarre described how moved those present at the press conference were.

"Her distress overwhelmed us," he wrote.

Some journalists had tears in their eyes, others bowed their heads in respect, he continued."

"I don't know Virginie Razzano personally but I'm not about to forget this lesson of life, courage and dignity."

You can hear a recording of Razzano's speech here (click on "audios").

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A very dignified lady. And a very sad story.

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