Her Childhood Dream: Marion Hits With Pete
Published July 13, 2012 12:00
STANFORD, CA, USA - Saying afterwards it was her biggest childhood dream, Marion Bartoli hit with ATP World Tour legend Pete Sampras at the Bank Of The West Classic, warming him up for his exhibition match at the event.
"Today when I arrived on site and got out of my car, Pete was just arriving. I told him it was perfect timing," Bartoli said. "It was really cool to play with him. I come from a small village of 1,000 people back in France and it was always my childhood dream to hit some tennis balls with Pete Sampras. I had no idea it would happen 21 years later here in Stanford, but life can be like that.
"I was so stressed at the beginning I could barely hold my racquet. It was just incredible - an extreme pleasure and honor. I was like a kid. I never dreamed about winning a Grand Slam, just about playing with Pete. I had posters of him all over my bedroom. He was my all-time hero. I'm just so, so, so happy.
"My mom was always a huge fan of Andre Agassi, so whenever they were playing against each other we were cheering for different sides, obviously. And whenever Pete would lose I'd be depressed for a week, crying in my bedroom!
"He would never overact on court. He was very much the same person on and off the court. The way he was loyal to his family and his coaches, the way he cried on court against Jim Courier at the Australian Open, that's the kind of person I like. He was the greatest champion. I just liked him and no one else!"