Courageous Razzano Falls To Gajdosova
Published May 24, 2011 12:00
PARIS, France - Last Monday, Virginie Razzano's coach and fiancé, Stéphane Vidal, passed away after a prolonged battle with a brain tumor. One of his last wishes was that despite the situation, the 28-year-old Frenchwoman would play Roland Garros this year. Despite the circumstances she did just that, and although she fell to No.24 seed Jarmila Gajdosova in straight sets, she won the hearts and admiration of fans and fellow players alike.
Razzano held an emotional press conference afterwards.
"Me playing here was a decision from my fiancé. He wanted me to continue my life. He wanted me to play here and keep fighting on the court. With my family and friends here and the public, I tried my best to keep my emotions and play for him. It took me a lot of courage to go on Court Philippe Chatrier. It was difficult for me to be here. It was painful, it was hard, but I did it for Stéphane.
"He had faith in me. He knew I had this strength he also had, and this is why we worked so well together. We had courage. We fought together day after day.
"I used all my courage today. I don't have much. I'm very fragile. I feel lonely, and even though there are many people around me supporting me, I still have strength in me that keeps me standing up and moving on step by step.
"It's difficult, especially when you lose someone who was - and who will forever be - the man of my life, whom I love and will always love. I have beautiful memories in good times and not so good times. It's a history that's alive, that we built together for 11 years. And I'll continue to build it through my sport, through my passion, tennis, which gives me courage and mental strength.
"He was my other half."
Razzano wore a necklace in press. "It's Stéphane's necklace. I gave it to him a few years ago for Valentine's Day in Antwerp, and he wore it all the time, because it was as if I was around his neck. He was wearing it until his last breath. I got it back now and will always wear it. Of course I can't play with it because it's a very heavy chain, but it's comforting to feel he's with me.
"I worked on my schedule with Stéphane all the way to Wimbledon. I said I'll play Birmingham, then I would come back home to be with him, and he said, 'We'll see.' He was already feeling things might turn out differently.
"But he said I have to play Roland Garros and Wimbledon. These were two important tournaments for him. Then afterwards, I have no schedule yet. I don't know. I'll try to recover fast, because I've lost a lot of weight because of stress and many other things. I want to take time to mourn, then get back on court."
Gajdosova, who next plays Anabel Medina Garrigues, shared her thoughts: "She stood on the court, held her head up high and tried her best."