During her glory days a decade ago, Aravane Rezai was considered one of the most dangerous, most beautiful and most interesting WTA players. However, the former world No.15 has been far from the spotlight for too long as her tennis results declined. What is the Frenchwoman up to? Is she reviving her career?
Rezai’s résumé includes victories over big names such as Justine Henin, Venus Williams, Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sharapova, Dinara Safina, Francesca Schiavone, Caroline Wozniacki, Marion Bartoli, Flavia Pennetta, and Jelena Jankovic.
The French player of Iranian descent has won four WTA titles: Strasbourg and Bali in 2009 and Madrid and Bastad in 2010. Her best Grand Slam showings are fourth-round finishes at Roland Garros and the US Open.
After ending the 2010 season ranked No.19, Rezai fell out of the Top 100 the following year. As time went by, her ranking only got worse. From a player in the spotlight during her peak, the Frenchwoman has almost disappeared from international media.
Her last win over a Top 100 player happened at the Madrid Open in May 2013, when she defeated world No.82 Anna Tatishvili in qualifying. Her last main-draw appearance at a Grand Slam was at the 2013 French Open.
Now 34 years old and ranked No.1249 in singles, Rezai is playing on the ITF circuit. She participated in the recent $80,000 Le Neubourg event in France, where she managed to qualify, but lost in the first round. “I think I am the oldest player at the tournament,” Rezai remarked.
Rezai had major family issues, most notably with her father, Araslan Rezai. They became estranged in 2012. The problems started being evident to general public in February 2011, when her father was banned to follow her at all WTA tournaments.
According to Tennis Majors, Aravane has reconnected with her family both on a personal and professional level. Her father again serves as her coach.
If, in 2019, I had been told that a year later, I was going to reconnect with my family and train with my father, for me, it would be impossible, but I needed to find my family, to see my father, my sister, my mother… I took the first step, I found a peaceful and calm father. Little by little we got back on the ground.
Araslan said that he had to become less authoritarian to be able to improve the relationship with his daughter, and it’s something that he still struggles with:
It’s not the same relationship. Before, I was a father like in the army. If I told her “you jump from the second floor”, she would jump. Today it is not the same Aravane. She decides when to go to work. For me it’s difficult but we adapt.
The older generation of players is doing great on the WTA Tour. Let’s hope that Rezai will once again experience at least a portion of stardom from her glory days.