Marion Bartoli is set to play Victoria Azarenka in the quarterfinals of the Sony Ericsson Open today, but I bet you didn’t know she likes to oil paint and her best friend on tour is Dominika Cibulkova. I had a chance to chat with the bright, enthusiastic and funny Marion this week about Pierce Brosnan, her most memorable moment on court, snakes, chocolate cake, and being a humanitarian at heart.
What is your most memorable moment on court?
Semifinal Wimbledon 2007 against Justine Henin … before everything. The court … beating the #1 in the world … meeting Pierce Brosnan after the match. (Laughs) I felt like I was on top of the world for 10, 15 minutes after the match.
What is the best part of being a pro tennis player?
Traveling, meeting different people, having the crowd cheering for you, playing in front of a packed house. (Smiles)
If you weren’t a tennis palyer, what would you be and why?
I would probably be a scientist or someone who helps other people. That’s the education I received from my parents – my dad is a doctor, my mom is a nurse. They really have passed that on to me. Both of them were volunteers in some projects for people who didn’t have enough money that had cancer and HIV. They were going there and helping them for free.
Where you able to go with your parents to any of those projects?
Yes, I was going with my dad and my mom, and helping them out. I was a young child, my brother and I did go. It was very important to me.
If you could play against any player in history, who would it be and why?
Pete Sampras. (Laughs) Monica Seles. I met both of them and they were extremely nice people and that would be a dream.
If you’re hosting a party, what three tennis players do you invite and why?
Gael Monfils (Laughs) … because he’s so funny and his dancing level is extremely high. Dominika Cibulkova because she’s my best friend on the tour. And either Rafa or Roger because I just love them. (Smiles)
What are three things you couldn’t live without?
My paints … I love to oil paint outside of tennis. I love to do it every time I have some time off. My iPod… iPhone .. iPad … actually all three of them! (Laughs) And my Louis Vuitton bag.
Is it a purse?
Yes, it’s a purse. But they made is especially for me and I have my initial on the outside of the bag in gold.
What is your biggest indulgence?
When I’m at home, I love to cook. But actually I don’t really eat it. (Smiles) So I love to cook for others, my neighborhood. Anything with chocolate would work for me. (Smiles)
What is your favorite meal to make?
I love to make chocolate cake, of course. (Smiles) I love to make some crepes, spinach-and-ricotta-filling crepes as an appetizer. And then as a main course, l’agneau– it’s like a roasted lamb, but you roll it in paper and cook it in the oven with some potatoes and some French beans. (Smiles)
What is one thing that scares you?
Spiders, snakes – I hate them, oh my gosh! (Smiles) You can’t make me hold a snake in my hand, it’s just impossible.
If they had a player promotion where you had to hold a snake —
Yes, every time in the Sony Ericsson Open they have players hold this huge snake and I’m like, ‘No! I don’t want to do this!’ The dolphin, yes. But the snakes, no! (Laughs)
(Photo courtesy of Neal Trousdale. To check out more photos from the Sony Ericsson Open, check out Neal’s Flickr page.)
A tale of two legends: Recent retiree Monica Seles will join Marlee Matlin, Adam Carolla, Priscilla Presley and Kristi Yamaguchi in the latest season of Dancing With the Stars. Wow, that’s a “Who’s Who” if I ever saw one.
The sixth season of DWTS will premiere March 17 on ABC. On joining the show, the 34-year-old Seles says “I’m a tennis player. I don’t know a tango from a mango.”
Seles’ recent return to the limelight is likely a big push to move her away from “tennis star” to “celebrity”. If you remember, she followed an appearance on the CBS Morning Show earlier this week with the announcement of her retirement. And now, the dancing. She’s well on her way, but has to play catch up to her biggest rival on the court…
Steffi Graf‘s PR machine continues to churn. Graf will have a guest stint on Oprah’s Big Give, a “pay it forward” reality show produced by Oprah Winfrey. (Remember when hubby Andre Agassi whacked her in the face? They were taping a segment for it.)
And page five of this week’s New York magazine has an ad from Louis Vuitton featuring the Narcisse Pump. The uppers on this two-tone three-inch heel are hand-stitched. Below the picture is this copy:
“Walk with me. By Steffi Graf”
I look at my schedule and I just have to laugh. I’d need to be six people to get through it all. It seems I’m still running all over the place – only my footwear has changed.”
That’s deep. Do you think she wrote it herself?
Buy: Narcisse Pump, two-tone hand-stitched calf leather with three-inch heel, $1,120, louisvuitton.com.
(USA Today via Marie; photo from New York)