Determined Mathieu starting ‘new career’
Originally published on: 16/04/12 00:00
Paul-Henri Mathieu admits there were moments when he had doubts about whether he could come back after suffering a serious groin injury but the former world No.12 has been proving his determination to succeed in what he calls his “new career”.
Mathieu had not played for 14 months when he reappeared in January, but the 30-year-old Frenchman has competed in five ATP events this year and enjoyed one of his best wins yet when he beat Donald Young, the world No.50, 6-0, 6-1 in the first round of the Monte Carlo Masters 1000 tournament. It was his first win in a Masters Series tournament for nearly two years.
Currently at No.352, Mathieu should start climbing the world rankings rapidly, though he is taking nothing for granted. “I'm starting a new career now,” he said. “I don't know if it’s going to be a long one or a short one, but when you stop for so long it takes considerable effort to come back. It’s a totally new career that is starting for me. I will try to go as far as I can, but it’s extremely difficult.”
Mathieu pointed out after his victory over Young that he had not played on clay for two years. “I need to get used to the special strategy you need on this surface,” he said. “Of course I don't have the knees of a 20-year-old, but I'm able to play 100 per cent without any problems.”
He believes the experience of coming back from injury has made him mentally tougher. “It took a lot of patience and perseverance to come back,” he said. “I had periods where I had many doubts. I was asking myself many questions every day. This is how I can have this detached view. Those who have suffered from no injuries can’t have this. I realise now that we are living a fabulous life and we are very lucky to be able to do that.”