Belgium, bête noire and potential Top 5: Here is Fiona Ferro

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She was born in Belgium

Fiona Ferro is French, but she was born in Belgium to a Belgian mother and a Franco-Italian father. The four children of Catherine and Fabrizio Ferro also have first names that smell good La Botte: Fiona, therefore, and her three brothers, Paolo, Flavio and Gianni. It was born on March 14, 1997 in Libramont-Chevigny, near Bastogne, land well known to cycling enthusiasts. His parents then ran a restaurant in Belgium before opening a trattoria in the south of France, in Valbonnes, which they have never left.

She devastated everything among the young

Fiona Ferro started tennis at age 7 to follow in the footsteps of her two older brothers. A good choice. Very quickly, the young girl emerges among the best of her age category and, from pre-adolescence, she becomes the number one tricolor: crowned champion of France of 12-13, she repeats in cadets (15-16 years) then among the juniors (17-18 years old). This domination earned him his debut on the main circuit in 2014, during the Strasbourg tournament, before discovering a much bigger scene a week later …

She started at Roland-Garros at 17

Spring 2014. Fiona Ferro has just celebrated her 17th birthday when she receives a Christmas present before (or after) the hour: the FFT offers her a wild-card for Roland-Garros. Not for the qualifications but in the big picture. She was then 417th in the WTA ranking and had to face the German Sabine Lisicki, 17th in the world in the first round. The 17 is the lucky number of the young Frenchwoman, but it will not be enough. It tilts logically in two sets, but without demerit: 6-1, 7-5. She will still have an invitation the next two years, bowing again on entry.

Fiona Ferro with Roland-Garros in 2014.

Credit: Getty Images

She had a big period of stagnation

After this early emergence, it has generally progressed fairly steadily, until it entered the Top 100 in 2019 and then the Top 50 this year. But it was not all so linear. In 2017, the year of her 20th birthday, she experienced a big period of doubt. Total failure of results, stagnation in the game, it will even fall in the standings, to finish the season beyond 300th place, lower than in 2015. The real growth crisis.

A bad period which, by his own admission, forged his character. She then made a radical decision by leaving the cocoon of Valbonne and the coach of her years of training, Pierre Bouteyre, to join the National Training Center based at Roland-Garros where Georges Goven and Stéphane Huet take care of her. . In 2018, she moved forward and ended the year at the gates of the Top 100 (102nd).

Don’t tell him about Wang Qiang

Rather improbably, the Frenchwoman was beaten three times by the same player in Grand Slam in the space of a year.

– January 2019: In the 1st round of the Australian Open, Fiona lost against Chinese Wang Qiang.
– August 2019: She reached for the first time the 3rd round of a Grand Slam, at the US Open. There, she finds Wang Qiang and gives in again.
– January 2020: Never two without three. In Melbourne again, but in the second round in order to vary the pleasures, and another setback against the Chinese.

On these three matches, she did not take a set. In total, the two players crossed swords six times for only one victory for the Frenchwoman. A real pet peeve.

The earth, his favorite surface

Fiona Ferro is a real earthling. She grew up on it and, even today, it’s still her favorite surface. It is no coincidence that she won her first round of 16 in a Grand Slam here at Roland Garros. It is also on ocher that she won the first two WTA titles of her career, in Lausanne and Palermo. Want one last proof? It was on clay that she signed her only victory against Wang Qiang! In Strasbourg, in 2019.

Her trainer thinks big for her

Former coach and Lucas Pouille and Corentin Moutet, Emmanuel Planque was preparing to leave the federation at the end of last year when a collaboration with Fiona Ferro was offered to him. Under her leadership, the Frenchwoman has clearly taken a step forward in 2020, securing her best ranking in August (44th). “Since I worked with him, she confides, I got professionalized on a lot of points, be it food, recovery, the way of playing, lots of little things like that. “Planque believes in his new protégé, to the point of aiming very, very high for her. Last month, in a daily interview The team, this is what he said: “Fiona has the potential to be in the top 5 in the world, because she is a hard worker.”

She remains on a series of 18 victories

It’s simple, Fiona Ferro has still not lost since the return of tennis to competition this summer after the long break imposed by the Covid-19. She first won the two preparation tournaments organized by the French Tennis Federation in July, in Nice and Cannes, won the title in Palermo in August, the second of her career after that acquired in Lausanne in 2019, and finally her first three laps passed Porte d’Auteuil. Or a series of 18 successes. Although not all of these matches are on his official record, they do a great deal of good in terms of confidence.

She will become the new French N ° 1

It is now a certainty after the loss of Caroline Garcia Sunday against Elina Svitolina: whatever happens, Fiona Ferro will be after Roland-Garros the best ranked French player in the WTA, just ahead of Garcia, whom she is ahead of. two small points now. For the first time in her career, she will therefore find herself with the status of leader of French women’s tennis. Even if she falls to Sofia Kenin in the round of 16 on Monday, she is expected to flirt with the Top 40 and arguably land her new top ranking.

Fiona Ferro and Alizé Cornet after the final of the WTA Lausanne 2019 tournament

Credit: Getty Images

She has no equipment supplier

It’s quite unusual for a Top 50 player, and even quite appalling, but Emmanuel Planque’s player does not have an appointed equipment supplier. She provides herself with outfits to appear on the court. The person concerned however relativizes what sounds like an anomaly: “I’m just thinking it’s a matter of time before I get one, that I need to play even better maybe to get brands interested in me. Afterwards, I don’t necessarily see it badly, I have something to dress. “It would still be surprising if the situation continued after his career at Roland Garros …

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