Cedric Pioline may look as though he has just got out of bed, but his tennis could not be more different. Languid at times, seemingly effortless, perhaps, but when the Frenchman finds his range, he can be irresistible.
With a whiplash single-handed backhand that he finishes with a flourishing follow-through, Pioline built his game on solid foundations from the baseline. But, as he showed in reaching the Wimbledon final in 1997, he boasts an all-court game that often saw him roar into the net and finish points with snappy volleys, delicate drop-shots or clinical overheads.
His tennis and his appearance have hardly changed since that Wimbledon final eight years ago and he still looks at that day as the high-point of his career. âItâs a good business card to carry with you, to say that you reached the Wimbledon final,â said Pioline.
Considering that he also reached the final of the US Open final in 1993 (he lost both of his two Grand Slam finals to Pete Sampras), and also made the final of his home Grand Slam tournament, the French Open, it seems surprising that it took seven years to win his first title. It took him eight attempts before he finally got over the finishing line in Copenhagen in 1996.Other titles quickly followed, including victory at the Masters Series event in Monte Carlo.
Pioline retired at his home tournament in Paris Bercy in 2002, and is now involved in the organisation of that event. Since joining the Champions Tour, he has worked hard to reach a level of fitness that would enable him to compete with some of the best tennis players of all time. Victory at the Novi Classics in Croatia last June was the high point so far - he defeated Goran Ivanisevic in the final, and was also runner up at Deichmann Champions Trophy in Frankfurt at the start of the year.
Book:The Da Vinci Code
Song: Maria Maria - Santana One - U2
Meal: Penne with White Truffle
Luxury:My Gerald Genta Watch
My Ideal Dinner Guests
Martin Luther King
Jean Paul II