Olympic Heartbreak Fails To Get Cornet Down
Published May 30, 2012 01:42
PARIS, France - When Alizé Cornet arrived in the Bahamas for the Nassau ITF event at the end of February, the Olympics looked a long way off. A disappointing few years had seen the Frenchwoman, once as staple member of the Top 20, slip down the rankings and away from the qualification cut-off for London 2012.
Then something happened: she started to win matches - 21 of them over the next three months to be precise. A quarterfinal here, a semifinal there and last week in Strasbourg Cornet reached her first WTA final in over four years.
Suddenly the impossible seemed possible. Having been as low as No.114 back in February, going into the French Open, Cornet was inside the Top 70 and within touching distance of a place on the plane for London.
However, there was to be no happy ending. An abductor injury suffered in Strasbourg resulted in the 22-year-old being forced to play through the pain barrier in Paris, and contributed to a tight first round defeat to Zheng Jie which all but dashed her Olympic dream.
"Of course I'm hurt. I'm disappointed," Cornet said after the match. "I'm a fighter. I really wanted to go to the Olympic Games to fly the French flag.
"If I had won today I would have qualified. I feel like crying. It's a really tough loss. The Olympics was a big dream but I'm going to have to write that off."
Only players who are ranked No.56 or higher on June 11, and meet the ITF's Fed Cup participation criteria, are assured of a place in London. And, barring a spate of withdrawals prior to the games, Cornet, whose current ranking of No.66 will drop further when the second round points gained at last year's tournament fall off a week on Monday, will now not be making the trip.
However, despite the disappointment of having her dream snatched away at the last, Cornet is trying to put a positive spin on the experience.
"Okay, I'm going to get my act together. I will go in four years' time," she added. "Three months ago I didn't think I could go to the Olympic Games. I came back into the race and just wasn't able to make that one last step."
This upturn in form over the past few months bodes well for the rest of the season, and despite this week's setback Cornet has plenty to look forward to.
"After the good week in Strasbourg I'm optimistic for the rest of the year," she said. "My level of play is good at the moment and I'm taking confidence into the rest of summer.
"After the doubles I'm going to take a few days off and I will start again at Bad Gastein and then get ready for the grass season."