PARIS, May 23 (Reuters) - Local favourite Amelie Mauresmo said on Friday she would begin the French Open without any pressure, having dropped to 24th in the world rankings.
The former world number one, who is still struggling with an abdominal injury she picked in a Fed Cup tie in Japan, has been a perpetual under-achiever at Roland-Garros, crumbling under the crowd’s expectations.
Mauresmo, who starts her tournament against Ukraine’s Olga Savchuk, has never made it past the quarter-finals stages, which she reached in 2003 and 2004.
“Today, in the current situation, it’s difficult for me to see myself playing at the very end of the tournament,” Mauresmo told a news conference.
“Unless we have a remake of the 1999 edition with the victory of Steffi Graf. There is always hope somewhere.”
In 1999, German Graf arrived in Paris having lost her world number one spot to Swiss Martina Hingis, whom she then beat in the final after recovering from a set and two breaks down to win her first Grand Slam in three years.
“I am probably more relaxed (than the previous years). I am now capable of saying the objective is just the next match,” said Mauresmo, who has not won a tournament since the Antwerp Diamond Games 15 months ago.
“It’s true that mentally speaking’ that’s an opportunity for me to play my game, and play them from a different perspective.
“I always had great pressure when I came here, so that’s a bit changed.”