Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rusedski Is Ready to Reap His Reward

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rusedski Is Ready to Reap His Reward

Article excerpt

Byline: BARRY NEWCOMBE

GREG RUSEDSKI has been given a confidence boost for his Centre Court appearance in the French Open Championships today by a man with plenty of local knowledge.

Patrice Hagelauer is the performance director for the Lawn Tennis Association and he knows the Stade Roland Garros courts better than anywhere else. His assessment is that Rusedski is ready for a demanding second round test against another Frenchman, Fabrice Santoro.

Hagelauer said: "Greg spent two months in Barcelona working with a lot of Spanish players and it is his reward that he deserves to play well in Paris.

This is a good example to a lot of players, to have a real commitment to play well here.

"We all remember how Greg was when he lost in the first round last year and he was talking of not coming to Roland Garros again. I am so happy not only to see him back but to see him playing well.

"Greg will find that it is always difficult to play against Fabrice because he does not give you any rhythm. He can play with a lot of slice, drop shots and high balls. He also passes very well. He is very experienced on these courts, knows them well and will not be nervous.

"But if Greg is going to beat him it will be by playing good tennis. He is serving well and he will have to stay as focused as he was in his first match against Alberto Portas."

Rusedski is being driven by the crowds and atmosphere and has every reason to be enjoying Paris this time. He speaks French as often as possible, he is popular with the fans because he has won an indoor title here and his game has come together at the right time for the European summer season.

The British No 2 said: "Santoro is starting to find some form so he will be difficult. The partisan French crowd will get behind him but I have a chance to win. It would be good to get towards Marat Safin, who is the seed in my section of the draw."

Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras, a five-set first round winner over qualifier Cedric Kaufmann, also continues on Centre Court against Spain's Galo Blanco after admitting that he struggled to survive. …

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