September 15, 2005

Pierce returns to favorite venue for Fed Cup final

By Chrystel Boulet-Euchin

PARIS (Reuters) - A revitalized Mary Pierce is eager to
return to her favorite venue for the Fed Cup final at Roland
Garros this weekend after making a full recovery from a thigh
injury sustained during the U.S. Open.

Pierce, 30, who lost in the final to Belgium's Kim
Clijsters, showed no ill effects during training with the
France team on Wednesday.

"I was happy to be reunited with the team," she said. "I
played with no strap around my thigh, which means the three
days of rest I've just had have done me a lot of good.

"Above all, I was delighted to be back on that center
court. I love it."

To help overcome the stress from her American fortnight and
the subsequent jet lag, Pierce has undergone a new relaxation
technique by exposing herself to a special lamp.

"I like it," she said. "It works, I feel fine.

Pierce has many fond memories of Roland Garros. She won the
final in 2000 and was also a finalist in 1994 and again this

"Since we won the semi-final I've been thinking about that
final at Roland Garros," said Pierce, who is the only player to
have taken part in both France's Fed Cup triumphs in 1997 and

"I've played so many matches here and I have so many great

France have not played a Fed Cup tie at Roland Garros since

The American-based, Canada-born Pierce had a difficult
relationship with the French fans for years before her French
Open triumph five years ago.

Sometimes perceived as arrogant in her younger days, Pierce
has matured over the years and is now always happy to talk to
the fans and the media.

After being hampered by a string of injuries over the past
few years, she staged a remarkable comeback this year with her
runs to the French and U.S. Open finals.

France, playing their third successive Fed Cup final, will
be relying on Pierce and Amelie Mauresmo against a strong
Russian team featuring Anastasia Myskina and Elena Dementieva.