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Alizé Cornet will continue playing through "at least Roland Garros" after seeing Grand Slam level in 2022
The Frenchwoman, who is in the semifinals of the WTA event in Cleveland, has drawn defending US Open champ Emma Raducanu in her record-breaking 63rd successive major appearance.
Published Aug 26, 2022
It's a good thing Alizé Cornet likes the big occasion. The WTA veteran has drawn defending champ Emma Raducanu in the first round of the US Open.
Cornet heard who she's playing while competing at this week's WTA event in Cleveland, where she has reached the semifinals.
“It's not an easy draw,” Cornet told TENNIS.com from Cleveland.
But the 32-year-old Frenchwoman knows about tough Grand Slam draws. This season, she ousted Garbiñe Muguruza and Simona Halep at the Australian Open to reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal. She later halted Iga Swiatek's 37-match win streak at Wimbledon.
Having considered retirement coming into the year, her success against big-name players now has her wanting to keep playing longer.
“I was thinking about retirement. I was thinking about it, tired from the tour, but now I know I'm going to play till at least Roland Garros,” Cornet said. “I know I still have the level to compete with these players. That's not why I would stop. I would stop because I'm a bit tired. Even though I still love the game, it is a lot discipline, a lot of travel. I don't want to drop in the ranking, and be forced to retire that way.”
That hasn't been an issue this season—having reached as high as No. 11 in 2009 and won six titles during her career, she's currently No. 37, going deep at a lot of tournaments.
“I think my game improved and my attitude improved, and I'm more consistent than I used to be—I've been working a lot to improve the mental, and I'm very lucky that physically I can still be on this top level. My game is based on my legs, and I'm lucky my body can hold on,” Cornet said.
She has also adjusted the way she plays to keep up with the competition and the tour.
“I’m very comfortable on every surface. I like grass a lot now, compared to the start of my career,” she said. “When I was younger, I was more a clay-court player, but now I think I'm more like a hard-court player. My game changed, trying to be more aggressive, and I would rather play on hard courts.
“I am very patient, I like the rallies. But I had to change, because we play on hardcourts 70 percent of the season.”
Though she's played more than 900 tour matches in her career since she started in 2005, Cornet says she still likes to play a full schedule.
"I am playing a lot, and I'm not injured very often," she said. "I'm lucky, but I am working a lot, spending a lot of time in the gym, doing a lot of prevention. I've always been very disciplined with my preparation.”
Even the traveling isn't that bad, she admits.
“I’m not bored, because I have a lot of other things. It keeps me busy. And when I'm travelling, I visit the city I'm in,” she said.
I was thinking about retirement. I was thinking about it, tired from the tour, but now I know I'm going to play till at least Roland Garros. Alizé Cornet
Among those things is writing, which Cornet likes to do when she's finished her training for the day or while going from tournament to tournament. She's written an autobiography, Sans Compromis, and a fictional work.
"It's a much more relaxing job," she said. “I like to do it, and I think I'm pretty good at it."
But, she adds, "It can be challenging, frustrating, having [the] words as good as you want them."
Cornet is known for showing what she's feeling on the court, too. It's something she's worked on and improved during her career.
“I’m doing my best, handling my frustration, emotions, but it's not easy," she said. "Tennis is a very hard sport.”
The fellow players she picks as her favorites are all massive competitors.
“For the guys, it's Rafael Nadal," she said. "And for the girls, Simona Halep and Swiatek. Simona, we grew up together on the tour. But from the new generation, Iga is definitely my favorite.”
Another member of the new generation is now lined up for the first round at Flushing Meadows. It is the first meeting between Cornet and Raducanu.