Diane Parry, 19 years old and now 96th player in the world, is about to enter directly into the main draw of Roland-Garros thanks to her ranking for the first time in her career.
The former junior world number 1 revealed herself at Porte d'Auteuil three years ago, when she became the youngest French player in ages to pass a round.
The one who won four clay court tournaments in 2021 looks back on her progress and ensures that she does not set limits for the Parisian Grand Slam tournament, which begins on Sunday.
Three years ago, Diane Parry distinguished herself at Roland-Garros by becoming the youngest French player to win a match in the main draw since Alizé Cornet in 2005. Her victory over Belarusian Vera Lapko, at 16, then revealed it to the general public.
After a constant progression which saw him reach the world number 1 position among juniors at the end of 2019, the Niçoise is quietly settling on the circuit.
96th in the WTA at the end of the Lagardère Trophy, she is about to enter directly into the main draw of the Parisian Grand Slam thanks to her ranking for the first time.
A pride for the one who has lived for years a few steps from the site, Porte d'Auteuil.
Is the season on land your favorite time on the circuit?
I don't know if it's my favorite time but usually it's when the good results start to come in, so I'm happy to be there.
My game suits this surface rather well, my lift takes more than on hard in my shots and my serve.
On my second serves, I like topspin, it usually bothers the girls.
My slice can also crash a bit, and that gives me more time to vary my game a lot. I played a lot on clay in junior and in recent years for my debut in pro.
That's a lot of games, and therefore a lot of confidence on this surface.
Has your coach Gonzalo Lopez particularly insisted on clay as a way to progress, especially defensively?
Exactly, we know that it is a surface where there are more exchanges, more strikes, we do not finish the point in two shots.
Inevitably, we must build more, tear ourselves away, and that can lead to long matches.
It's quite formative, tennistically and physically.
Exactly, you said last year that you were “in training” on the circuit.
Is this training completed or still in progress?
No, I'm still in training.
I went to another level, the top 100 is excellence.
All the matches are complicated, all the girls fight hard and play really well.
This is another circuit for me.
I will have to adapt to this level to win matches and continue to climb the rankings.
You played with a two-handed backhand until you were 11-12 years old.
Why switch to one hand?
I changed because I liked to let go in training from time to time, it was quite natural for me, I had a lot of fun.
One day, my coach offered me to try playing with a one-handed backhand in tournaments during the holidays.
I liked it right away, even if at first it was necessarily complicated.
I was played a lot on it, high, and I had to manage to try not to suffer too much.
It formed me and I take a lot of pleasure with this shot.
It allows me to vary a lot more and give the girls a different ball compared to what they are used to having with a two-handed backhand, where we generally play more tense and where it's more complicated to vary the effects.
It allows me to do a lot of things, so I like it!
If you switched, is it also because you had role models like Roger Federer?
Of course, Roger Federer has always been my idol.
I also really liked the acting of Amélie Mauresmo and Justine Hénin.
These are players who inspired me when I was little.
Not so long ago, you were said to be a "too nice" player.
Did you manage to get meaner?
It's not necessarily in my nature, but I try.
When I'm on the field, it's to win.
I was always told that I didn't show it enough.
In any case, I now try to have an attitude where I want it on the court, where I am really motivated to get the match.
I'm not very outgoing, screaming on the court like a lot of other girls, but I try to show it in my own way.
To make the other person feel that we are going to be present throughout the match and that it will be hard for them to win is important.
Being in the top 100 at 19, did you expect it?
I never set myself a specific time to achieve certain rankings or certain goals.
With my game, I know it can take time.
I don't set time goals or pressure on myself.
I did my best to climb the ladder as best I could.
I'm happy, but I don't intend to stop there.
Do you feel pressure with the label of ex-number 1 junior?
Not at all, because it's already far behind me.
The juniors, it's over, I did a very good circuit, I'm very happy with the way I finished.
Now it's a long way off and I'm on a completely different circuit.
Your coach said that to be one of the best, “you have to be passionate about effort”.
But it seems that you don't really like jogging...
I didn't really like jogging, but now I like it a little more.
Running alone is not very funny, but since I have a dog, I'm happy when I go running, he accompanies me.
I've always dreamed of having a dog and being able to run with it, so now it's a pleasure.
Last year, you received a wild card to enter the main draw.
How does it feel to arrive at Roland-Garros “all alone” this year?
Of course, I'm proud.
That was the goal, I wasn't planning on asking Roland for wildcards all my life!
I'm happy to tell myself that I'm entering the Grand Slams with my ranking.
Now it's up to me to have good results, to try to pass laps and still grab places.
For you who live in Boulogne-Billancourt, is Roland-Garros your home?
This is clearly the house.
Especially since I train all year round there, I know the site well.
My school was just across the street.
I passed in front of it every day, I dreamed of being able to set foot there.
It tickled me… Now it does, I train there all year and I play in the tournament, so I'm proud of how far I've come.
This is the Holy Grail for children who dream of this sport.
Having a Grand Slam ten minutes from home is a privilege.
I take full advantage of it.
What would a successful Roland-Garros be for you?
Passing two laps, already, would be good.
Minimum, we are not going to set limits!
Tennis: "For some, success comes first"... How to combat the sometimes harmful behavior of parents?
Roland Garros 2022: Amélie Mauresmo, a not-so-novice director
Roland Garros 2022