The comeback: Mary Pierce works for eventual WTA Tour return

Mary Pierce and Yutaka Nakamura

Mary Pierce and Yutaka Nakamura

Mary Pierce has always bristled at any mention of the “R” word.

Despite nearly three full years away from the WTA Tour due to ACL surgery (and rare surgical reaction-caused setbacks), Pierce still wouldn’t dare utter anything even resembling the word “retirement.”

“Playing professionally is something I still want to do and something that I think I still can do,” Pierce said. “I just love competing at the highest level.”

At 34 years old, Pierce still holds out hope of making a comeback, with grueling on- and off-court workouts a daily routine. Monitored by IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy’s Director of Tennis Performance, Yutaka Nakamura, Pierce still struggles agilitiy-wise at times with her surgically repaired left knee. Her tennis stroke, though, is still as pure as ever.

“I feel like I’m hitting it as well as I ever have,” she said.

Yutaka has seen the progress first hand. With years of training stars like Tommy Haas, Maria Sharapova and Nicole Vaidisova, Yutaka still ranks Pierce near the top of natural athletes he has ever worked with.

Mary Pierce and Yutaka Nakamura

Mary Pierce and Yutaka Nakamura

“She’s almost a perfect student,” he said. “She never skips a workout. To make this kind of comeback, it’s going to be about heart, but she has it.”

Pierce’s talent was undeniable from the start. She picked up a racket at 10 years old and won a junior national championship two years later. She’s won four Grand Slams (two singles, one doubles and one mixed doubles) and rose as high as No. 3 worldwide.

At October 2006 at a tournament in Austria, Pierce chased down a ball and planted her feet, when her left knee buckled. She fell to the court, screaming in agony.

“The first thing I thought was that I don’t want to die” she said, able to laugh about it now. “I was in so much pain.”

Her body had a negative reaction to the surgery, which set her back even more. But her desire to get back to the WTA Tour never wavered.

Yutaka Nakamura and Mary Pierce

Yutaka Nakamura and Mary Pierce

And now she wants to get back to the top level of tennis. Not for the prestige — she casually states that she doesn’t miss the tennis “lifestyle” and watches very little tennis on television. No, she wants to return for herself and her fans.

“I’ve had people come up to me and tell me that I’ve inspired them, which is hard for me to comprehend, but hopefully I’ve made some kind of difference,” she said. “To me, that’s the greatest accomplishment I could have done.”

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~ by Nick's Picks on August 11, 2009.

32 Responses to “The comeback: Mary Pierce works for eventual WTA Tour return”

  1. [...] comeback. Evidently, Mary Pierce hasn’t given up on the idea of returning to tennis either. (Clickey) And Martina Hingis? Well the whispers about her has never really [...]

  2. Come back now, Mary!

    You are the legend!

  3. Thats so good to hear! All the very best to you Mary! and yes, you really have made a difference in our lives! You have inspired lots of people.. and we are all hoping for a successful comeback. Whatever happened was aweful but like you always say .. everything happens for a reason! Really happy to see that you’re still working hard. ALL THE VERY BEST! ALLEZ!!

  4. I started my Tennis watching in 2005 and I loved her during US Open 2005..and I wanna see her again..that video of hers..I saw on YouTube..its HORRIFYING..!!!

  5. [...] WTA Tour: “retirement.” The two-time slam winner Pierce, now 34, is actively working on a comeback of her own with coaches and trainers. The Frenchwoman impressed us with her golden year in 2005 (two slam [...]

  6. Hey, Nick. Thanks again for all of your updates, I love reading them. Hopefully Mary has a successful return to the tour. :)

    I was wondering if you had heard from Tatiana Golovin at all? Her fans haven’t been given much info since she was diagnosed with a genetic spinal disorder and a comeback is seeming less and less likely. We thought maybe she had contacted you at some point. Thanks for any info!

  7. Great to know that Mary’s working again. I was close to cry when i read this article, because her return on court would be sort of a “dream come true”. I saw her live a couple of times, and i can’t wait to see her once (or twice, or more !) again … She’s so nice with everybody, she’s very strong, able to deal with lots of hard moments and she’s definitely an exemple for everyone on Earth living great or bad moments.
    Her return would mean many things to lots of people, and the first one would probably be : never give up, keep the faith, and if you give all your best, you can !
    And i know lots of people who would be just so glad to see Mary back with her pure strokes.
    Actually, I cant wait to see Mary blowing on her hands, touching her hair, and smiling all over the tournaments !

    Mary, tes fans t’attendent avec impatience, car Roland Garros sans toi, ce n’est pas vraiment Roland Garros.

  8. That’ nice, go Mary!

  9. You go Mary! Along with Steffi Graf, Justine Henin and Amelie Mauresmo, you were always the player i wanted to watch playing. So it is extremely exiting knowing you may come back to the tour. You are such a great champion and one of the most attractive personalities the WTA ever had (not to mention you were also one of the most beautiful and chic ones).
    Allez Mary, nous t’aimons au retour!

  10. [...] Time « ARod for President Comebacks: The New Thing To Do August 16, 2009 Word is Mary Pierce is working hard to get in shape for her comeback to professional tennis.  Clijsters, [...]

  11. Hi nick do you have some news about Mary? Will she make her comeback next year?

  12. Hi nick how is Mary’s preparation doing? We can’t wait for her comeback…Hope to see you soon Mary. If you have the same level as 2005, 2010 will be yours!!
    Oliver

  13. Hello .I am biggest Fan of Mary Pierce.I like her love her and desperate to see Mary Playing in tennis court and beat all these new Players .Now a days i dont watch Tennis Bcz of Mary Pierce.
    I Know u are very strong women and u will come back to Rennis court and Become world No-1 Tennis Player.I pray 4 u Mary Pierce.
    GOOD BYE

  14. Hi nick, any news? Will we see her in Australia?

  15. Come on Mary! You can do it! Your fans are with you!

  16. hi, nick no more news about Mary? Will she return in 2010 in Australia?

  17. COME BACK MARY!!!

  18. Hi Nick! Mary was in Maurice Island last week. Is she still there or has she come back in your academy?

  19. i love love mary pierce! i hope she come back! always route for he!

  20. why don’t we have any news?

  21. any news about mary ?? please nick, a littel news … thanks !

  22. any news about Mary?

  23. Hi Nick..Can we still hope that she’s playing? please keep us posted..u’re the only source we have now

  24. ????

  25. Hi Nick I am big big fan of Mary Pierce.
    Kindly upload new pics of Mary
    Plz tell me there is any chance that she return to Tennis court

  26. Hick, Nick! I’m sure Mary is in Florida!
    Please, give us some news about her! We have no news since december!
    Will she come back soon? I hope and I think so!

  27. Any news???

  28. ???????????
    Do you have some news?

  29. I hope that my favourite Player Mary Pierce to comeback. Good Luck, Mary!

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