Quick Chat With Marion Bartoli Who says ‘Hi’ and ‘Bye’ to Istanbul.

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Updated: October 29, 2011

After infamously going four years without a clothing sponsor, Marion Bartoli, riding the wave of success from her Wimbledon run to the final, debuted her new Lotto attire and sponsor in Istanbul today.

When the tennis did begin, the heads continued to turn as the frenchwoman stormed to a 4-0 lead over Victoria Azarenka – the same number of games that both Li Na and Sam Stosur managed to combine for in their two earlier ties against the world number four.

Azarenka was able to fight back in the first, however, storming through 6 games in a row from 3-5 down to take a set and a break lead. Azarenka at times looked torn between trying to advance to the semifinals with all three wins under her belt and trying to conserve energy for her semifinal match against Zvonareva. Her play continued to bounce around before being out gunned by the one and done Bartoli who took the next two sets and the match 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.

After the match, we had a quick word with the former Wimbledon finalist.

On The Baseline.  So you’re in a new outfit today.  Are you in a new deal with Lotto?
Marion Bartoli:  Absolutely.  I just signed my contract two days ago.

OTB:  Congratulations.
MB:  Thank you. (Smiling.)

OTB:  Also, you said you haven’t been hitting.  What have you been doing in Istanbul?
MB:  No, I say I haven’t been hitting on the center court.  That doesn’t mean I didn’t practice for a week.  (Laughing.)
I think that would be very lazy for me.  But I have been practicing hard every day, but just not in here.  In the practice courts.  But, you know, I knew I still need to stay focused, because I had one more tournament to be ready for, which was Bali, for sure. Obviously I wanted to play one match here, and it was great to play two hours?plus here, and hopefully next year I will be able to play more matches in here.

OTB.  It’s nice to see you here after the Moscow Kremlin Cup.  I know you intended to paint the Red Square.  Did you, or maybe you will paint something in Istanbul?
MB:  I started, but as you know, I get a virus in Moscow, was not feeling extremely well, so I had to put my paint on the side.  That’s something I will finish when I will come back from Bali, for sure. I love to paint.  That’s really my main hobby outside of the tennis court.  That really helps me to release the stress and really think about something else. And that’s something I’m not too bad at, so I will definitely make sure I will finish this one.

Even including her eccentric on-court mannerisms and her bizzare training methods orchestrated by father Dr. Walter Bartoli, by far the most striking part of Marion Bartoli is her behaviour off the court. Even in her second language, the 27 year-old comes across eloquently, intelligent and down-to-earth that any tournament – even one including the top eight players – is immediately better off with her around.

 

Tumaini Carayol is a contributing writer at On The Baseline, and writes about professional tennis at his site Foot Fault.