Mauresmo motivated for home run

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The Independent Online

Amélie Mauresmo believes she has what it takes to win the French Open title on home soil. The world No 3, who beat Patty Schnyder, of Switzerland, to win the Rome Master Series event last weekend, is seen as the likeliest Frenchwoman to lift the trophy since Mary Pierce in 2000.

Amélie Mauresmo believes she has what it takes to win the French Open title on home soil. The world No 3, who beat Patty Schnyder, of Switzerland, to win the Rome Master Series event last weekend, is seen as the likeliest Frenchwoman to lift the trophy since Mary Pierce in 2000.

However, the 25-year-old has never been able to progress further than the quarter-finals in Paris and has yet to win a Grand Slam event. Nevertheless, the late withdrawal of the American Serena Williams, the fourth seed, because of a recurrent ankle injury could help her.

Mauresmo, who has suffered in the past from the pressure in the French capital, insists that she has never felt better, mentally or physically. She is being motivated by the 1983 French Open winner, Yannick Noah, alongside her regular coach, Loic Courteau.

"My objective at Roland Garros is to play the right way - that's simple," she said. "Tactically I know how to play tennis on clay. I've proved it many times.

"My preparation this year has been slightly different although, like last year, I come to Paris with the Rome title in the bag."

Courteau was absent in Rome and Mauresmo believes the fact that she managed to win the trophy on her own has helped her reach another mental level, which will be important in Paris.

"I was not expecting it [the Rome title] but it turned out very important for me because I managed to cope with everything on my own," she added. "It was good to take more responsibilities and make my own choices. My game in Rome was very aggressive and attacking."

Mauresmo is convinced competition will once again be fierce, with the likes of the Belgian talent Justine Henin-Hardenne, the 2003 champion who has won three clay-court events this season, and Maria Sharapova posing threats.

"Justine was not in Rome but she's been playing extremely well on clay this year," added Mauresmo. "Patty Schnyder has also showed her potential, not to mention Kim [Clijsters].

"The Russians will be present there with especially Sharapova, who is aiming at dethroning Davenport.

"The tournament, I believe, is more open than ever."

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