May 29, 2013 / 3:58 PM / 6 years ago

Rezai keeps it in the family after all

PARIS (Reuters) - A troubled relationship with her father led her to take charge of her own tennis career two years ago but Aravane Rezai is back with her dad, preferring to keep things in the family, as others have done before her.

Aravane Rezai of France serves to Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic during their women's singles match at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris May 29, 2013. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

The French player fell out with father Arsalan in 2011 and severed contact with her family.

Having fallen to world number 185 ahead of the French Open following health issues, however, former top-20 player Rezai turned to her father, with whom she started her tennis adventure, the public courts where she practiced often being lit by the headlights of Arsalan’s camper van.

“I have been training with my dad for a week,” Rezai told Reuters in an interview after her first-round defeat to Czech seventh seed Petra Kvitova at the French Open on Wednesday.

“So far it has been fine. Now I’m looking forward to the Wimbledon qualifications.

“We both have changed, we have the same goal: to succeed. So we both make concessions so that we can make it work.”

Compatriot Marion Bartoli also had a difficult relationship with her father-coach and, just like Australian Bernard Tomic recently, has patched things up with the family.

John Tomic, who faces a court case for allegedly assaulting his son’s former practice partner, was present in Paris as Bernard lost in the Roland Garros first round.

“My father is still working with me, he’s still my dad, he’s still my coach and I love him a lot,” Tomic told reporters.

Bartoli, who ditched her father Walter last February before taking him back a few weeks ago, repeatedly looked at the players’ box, where he was sitting as she progressed to the second round on Tuesday.

Bartoli, seeded 13th in Paris, has hired Thomas Drouet, the very man who was allegedly attacked by John Tomic, as her practice partner.


Tensions between fathers and daughters have long been present on the professional tennis circuit, as former players Jennifer Capriati, Jelena Dokic and Mary Pierce would testify.

“Everybody’s got problems with their family or knows someone who’s got problem with their family,” the 26-year-old Rezai said.

“It’s just that I am a public figure so people make a lot of fuss about it but we’re just trying to achieve something together.”

It was Rezai, who reached a career-high world number 15 in late 2010, who initiated the reunion.

“I am the one who asked for it,” Rezai, who is still involved with the Patrick Mouratoglou tennis academy, explained.

“My dad was ready and it’s great to see that he’s still as much invested as he was before and that he still has faith in me.”

Rezai, still looking to find her pace again, managed to take the second set off former Wimbledon champion Kvitova on Wednesday before being beaten 6-3 4-6 6-2.

“It’s nice but it’s still a defeat,” said Rezai, who is of Iranian descent and has represented the country at the Muslim Games.

“What I need is matches, victories, even if it’s ITF tournaments,” added Rezai, who had featured in only seven tournaments this season before the French Open.

She sees no reason why she cannot succeed with the help of her father.

“I’m doing the best I can. I think I made an important decision and that it is the right decision,” Rezai said.

“It has worked in the past so why would it not work now?”

Editing by Clare Fallon

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