20 years after winning the French Open singles title, former World No. 3 Mary Pierce says it was hard for her to feel not loved by the French pubic during her playing career. In an interview to Le Figaro, the 45 year old Pierce says, "When the public or the press were not nice to me, it hurt me.
It was hard for me to feel that I was not loved by the French. Then their eyes changed and I grew and matured. I understood why the audience was hard on me, and saw that I was doing my best." Pierce conceded that she was a mixture of being French and American which is what made her strong and unique.
"You have to accept me as I am. I am not a hundred percent French. I was born in Canada. I grew up in the United States. My dad was American. My mom is French. My father chose for me when I was 13 years old. I left to live in France, when I had never studied French.
English is my mother tongue. Even today, I have an accent and I make mistakes when I speak. The American Federation was ready to help my family, provided that I work with a federal coach, and my father refused. My mom then asked for help from the French federation, which responded positively.
I trained at CNE in Paris, and from there I was loyal to France. I have lived half of my life in the United States and half of my life in France. I am a mixture, and I think that's what makes me strong and makes me unique.
And I managed to mentally manage the pressure well when I approached Roland-Garros, which was not always the case with our best players." Pierce is the last French woman to win the French Open singles title in Paris.