By Brodie Elgin
(August 7, 2013) TORONTO – Every player deals with winning their first grand slam in different ways. For some, the pressure of becoming the hunted is a daunting proposition. For others, it’s a relief. On Monday, Marion Bartoli admitted that the month of attention following her Wimbledon crown was exciting, and allowed her to participate in off court activities she might have never had a chance to do otherwise. If there were to be fears of complacency from Bartoli following such great success and the perks that come with it, she started the process of erasing those Wednesday afternoon in Toronto.
Taking on young American Lauren Davis (who beat Svetlana Kuznetsova twice to reach the second round, once in qualifying and once again after Kuznetsova won a lucky loser into the first round), Bartoli took no time to race to a commanding 6-0 lead. Her two handed forehand and backhand appear to have the same zip as they did a month ago at Wimbledon, even in the slower Toronto conditions. These extreme grips allow her to sometimes create obscure angles which put Davis consistently into a defensive mode.
Bartoli admitted to being surprised at how well she was playing considering the pressure surrounding the match. “Yeah, I was surprised that I [started] so well, honestly. I didn’t play on the hard court since Monterrey in Mexico, which I believe was [in] the beginning of April. I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself, because the last two times I played in Toronto, I lost first round.” While Davis managed to find her way into the second set, she was still largely overwhelmed by the recent Wimbledon champion, falling 6-0, 6-3. “I just wanted to enjoy myself on the court and try my hardest, said Bartoli. ” Obviously being able to win 6-0, 6-3 was pretty good for me. I played well, and I’m very pleased with the way I handled everything.”
For Bartoli, the goal is to focus on one match at a time, with an eye at making a serious run at the US Open. While the hamstring is still a concern for her, she seemed confident that it should not become a serious issue. “My hamstring is getting better and better. The summer is a grueling season. You have to be really fit and ready. I’m just working on a daily basis to make sure I’m getting stronger and stronger on it so I don’t feel the same pain as I did in Wimbledon.”
Bartoli takes on Magdalena Rybarikova in her third round match on Thursday.
Brodie Elgin is the writer of mindtheracket.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @MindTheRacket. He is covering the Rogers Cup in Toronto for Tennis Panorama News, follow @TennisNewsTPN for updates.