Join Date: Sep 2004
Re: Fabrice News and Articles
A promise is a promise. Here is the 1st part of the article. the interview will come later. Secret Santoro
From Tennis Magazine, April 2006. By Guy Barbier and Julien Crosnier (photos)
Never ever before had Fabrice Santoro let access to his private sphere, in his home in Geneva. But after his very 1st QF in a GS at the AO, we've met the oldest French active player (33) who's granted us with a long interview. This was also after the huge disappointment of his being put aside from DC. Without giving us all of his secrets, Santoro has accepted to talk about his plans, while wishing to climb some more steps on the ladder of his impressive career.
The house is cosy- very cosy. The Tennis Club, the Geneva Country Club, has good equipment, very good one. The family lives in harmony, full harmony. In Switzerland, at the door of Geneva, Fabrice Santoro could live in peace- too peacefully. Yet, at 33, after 18 years on the tour, he still feels like tearing himself away from his quietness he though duly acquired, to go and fight, racket in hand, against younger guys, much taller, more powerfull. But not always winners. "True that sometimes I find it hard to leave all this", he says after staring at the beautiful mountains that you can see from the upper balcony of the house, as original or so, in its whole conception, as his 2-handed game on both sides. "But as long as I have the passion..." This is precisely this passion of tennis and competition which has, this year again, brought Fabrice in the land down under at the beginning of the year, at Melbourne Park for the AO. The furthest from his roots, for the most beautiful reward: his 1st GS QF in his main 54th tournament!
Other goals have been set, once more- like playing for the 1st time on the Center Court of Wimbledon- others have been considered, though kept secret.
They are what makes Fabrice Santoro go ahead, what makes him feel like working hard.
His habits, Fabrice has them at the Geneva Country Club, a set of luxurious installations that goes with the 13 courts out of which 10 (greensets) are indoor.
Hung on every wall, the photos of the boat, victorious at the last America's Cup remind enough that the place belongs to the wealthy owner of Défi Alinghi, Ernesto Bertarelli.
Today, for his training session, with his coach Laurent Raymond, Fabrice Santoro has an appointment with an old tour mate, Cédric Pioline, young retired player and neighbour, as living on the other side of the Geneva Lake.
"It's party time today", says Pioline, "I don't train with an active player every day..."
Twice finalist in GS, in Wimbledon and at the USO, retired for 3 years, Pioline is still very fit thanks to his regular trainings with young Swiss hopes. He has remained a fighter at heart, as shows his concentration on the 1st exercise imagined by Laurent Raymond, during warming up: trying to hit an empty ballbox, placed 1m ahead each baseline. The 1st to score 3 will be Pioline. "You're gonna admit and say I won?", asks Pioline, laughing. "Fabrice always loses when he trains", adds Laurent Raymond.
Taking place in the less heated of the 2 halls of the Club, the quietest too, training lasted around 2 hours. Mission accomplished for Pioline who can drive back home, on his scooter, but for Santoro, the session is far from being over.
Laurent Raymond wants to have him "revise" a set of exercises meant to maintain his speed and reactivity. "Fabrice perfectly knows what suits him, it's mostly an accompanying job", stresses Laurent Raymond, who had started working with Santoro between 1993 and 1995, and who stayed since then and occasionally plays alternate coach for Fabrice in the previous years. That's why Raymond came back after the episode Bruno Dadillon, the coach who so brilliantly accompanied Fabrice in his Australian tour.
"With his level and at his age", adds Laurent Raymond, "Fabrice also pays huge attention to relations outside the court." Living with the Santoros when he comes to Geneva, the Clermontois Laurent Raymond knows his player by heart. And when he leaves Fabrice between other's hands, after the work on the court, he knows by heart how the programm goes on.
In a fitness center which happens to be a true gym palace, Fabrice Santoro lets himself guide from one item to the other by the pro of the place, Cyril Jauffret. "With Fabrice, I'm very careful about the wide variety of exercises", he says. "Particularly for the abdominals, because they're smart muscles which stop efficiently working when asked to always repeat the same kind of effort."
The last character to enter the scene, last link of the Santoro chain in Switzerland, is called Jelena Bazus. Russian and physical trainer, she's the one in charge with helping Fabrice recovering at best after his efforts. On the ground, Santoro stands, without complaining, all the stretching movements, which lasts almost 30 minutes. On that day, the session isn't too hard. "The work was far more important whne he came back from Australia", says Jelena.
What Fabrice Santoro hardly ever does nowadays is running, though he doesn't say it's wrong, far from that, to young players.
"At his age and with his game style, running would be more traumatic than anything else", explains Laurent Raymond. "Fabrice does all the running during his matches."
The afternoon is free. To give himself some time, maybe, to update his Excel files on his colleagues of the tour for 10 years. The name, the style of game, the strong points, the weaknesses, the tactic to use, such are the contents of the columns of the masterpiece which has some chances to end up at the Tenniseum in RG. Fabrice agrees to reveal his observations only for a few seconds. Long enough to read that on the Federer file, in the column tactic, it's written " is embarrassed to return on backhand on high balls".
As soon as the next day, Santoro had to fly to Marseille, leaving his wife, Chris Laure, and his daughter, Djenae, 4 ½, behind at home, to join his father Marcel and his coach at the event. "Chris", former dancer and singer, was to use her quietness to work on the singing and dancing classes she is to give soon for the Little Dreams Fundation of Phil Collins. As for him, Fabrice was about to be back at the Palais des Sports of Marseille, to join the French DC team players.
DC, 2 words, synonymous of great joy -the small silver trophies are in good place in his office- and big torments, the very last one concerning his non selection for the tie against Germany. The wound is deep, too much to be hinted at in detail, he warns us, in the following interview. But, we also will talked a bit about DC. Still enough to have Fabrice claim he "still hopes" to play for it. Maybe in order to find the courageous strength to go and train on an early icy cold February morning?
__________________Best of LUCK to ALL my Faves in 2014