Aravane Rezaï (French: [aʁavan ʁɛza.i]; Persian: ارغوان رضایی Arghavān-e Rezāyi pronounced [æɾɣævɒːn(-e) ɾezɒːjiː], born 14 March 1987) is a former Iranian–French tennis player. She defeated many top players on the WTA Tour, such as Justine Henin, Venus Williams, Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sharapova, Dinara Safina, Francesca Schiavone, Caroline Wozniacki, Marion Bartoli, Flavia Pennetta, Jelena Janković and Ai Sugiyama. Her career-high ranking was No. 15, achieved on 11 October 2010.
|Country (sports)|| Iran (2001–2005)|
|Born||14 March 1987|
|Height||1.65 m (5 ft 5 in)|
|Turned pro||January 2005|
|Plays||Right-handed (double-handed backhand)|
|Career titles||4 WTA, 8 ITF|
|Highest ranking||No. 15 (11 October 2010)|
|Grand Slam Singles results|
|Australian Open||3R (2008)|
|French Open||4R (2009)|
|US Open||4R (2006)|
|Highest ranking||No. 118 (9 March 2009)|
|Women's Islamic Games|
2001 & 2005Edit
Rezaï started playing for France. For the second year in a row, she lost in the qualifying rounds of the Australian Open. However, her French Open run was more successful. She struggled through to the third round of the tournament, defeating Ai Sugiyama of Japan along the way. She fell to Nicole Vaidišová, in a hard-fought three-setter. Her Wimbledon dreams were also put on hold as she fell in the first round of qualifying. At the US Open, she reached the fourth round, her career best Grand Slam singles result.
She also competed on the ITF Circuit throughout the year, reaching the final of two tournaments, as well as winning one in the later part of the year on the hard courts of France.
Her year started poorly, reaching the second round only twice in her first thirteen tournaments on tour, including a first-round loss at the Australian Open. At the International clay tournament of Istanbul, Rezaï reached the final by beating world No. 29 Venus Williams in the second round (6–4, 6–4) and world No. 2 Maria Sharapova in the semifinal (6–2, 6–4). In the final she lost to Elena Dementieva due to retiring, trailing 6–7, 0–3.
In spite of her good performance in the İstanbul, she lost the week after 6–2, 6–4 to countrywoman Marion Bartoli in the first round of the French Open. In her first appearance in Wimbledon she defeated Shenay Perry from the U.S. 6–2, 7–6, and Francesca Schiavone, the 29th seed, in the second round, 6–4, 2–6, 6–4. However, in the third round she was defeated by Ana Ivanovic 6–3, 6–2. At the US Open in the second round, she once again lost to Ivanovic.
Rezaï reached the final of the ASB Classic in Auckland despite being unseeded. She lost to Lindsay Davenport 2–6, 2–6. Her year stagnated with early losses in the first and second rounds of tournaments, however, and her only other grand success of the year came on the clay of Morocco in mid-spring, where she reached the semifinals before falling to Gisela Dulko.
At the Australian Open, Rezaï reached the third round, beating 13th seed Tatiana Golovin in the second round 6–3, 3–6, 6–3 before losing to Hsieh Su-wei 2–6, 7–6, 4–6. Her Grand Slam results for the rest of the year were disappointing. At the French Open, she fell to Nadia Petrova in the first round. At Wimbledon, she faced Gisela Dulko. She pushed Dulko to three sets, but eventually fell 6–1, 0–6, 2–6. The US Open started well as she defeated American Asia Muhammad 6–2, 6–4. However, she fell in the second round to Sybille Bammer, 1–6, 5–7.
Rezaï won the first WTA title of her career in Strasbourg, beating Lucie Hradecká 7–6, 6–1 in the final. Despite a first-round loss at the Australian Open, she flew to the fourth round of the French Open after defeating Michelle Larcher de Brito 7–6, 6–2, but lost to world No. 1 Dinara Safina 1–6, 0–6, effectively putting an end to her participation in Roland-Garros. At Wimbledon, she beat Ayumi Morita 6–2, 6–2 but then lost to fourth seed Elena Dementieva 1–6, 3–6.
In the first round of Rogers Cup, she defeated Alizé Cornet 6–4, 7–5. In the second round, she made the biggest upset of the tournament by defeating world No. 1, Dinara Safina, 3–6, 6–2, 6–4. In the third round, she was defeated by Alisa Kleybanova in two sets 6–3, 6–4. Rezaï then lost at the US Open to Sabine Lisicki in the first round, her earliest loss ever at Flushing Meadows. At the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, Rezaï won her opening match in straight sets, defeating Sara Errani 6–2, 6–2. In the second round she lost to Marion Bartoli 4–6, 2–6.
Seeded tenth at the Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions, Rezaï won her first round-robin match against fourth seed Sabine Lisicki 6–1, 3–6, 4–6, then beat Melinda Czink in her second match 6–3, 7–5 to make her the first player to advance to the semifinals of the inaugural event. She then went on to the semifinals, where she beat María José Martínez Sánchez 6–2, 6–3. In the final she faced Marion Bartoli and won the first set 7–5 before Bartoli retired. Because of her performance Rezaï reached a new career high of world No. 26.
Her first tournament of the year was the ASB Classic, where she was seeded No. 7. In the first round she beat fellow countrywoman Julie Coin 6–4, 6–3. At match point the lights in the stadium went out, but they were fixed shortly after and Rezaï closed out the match. In the second round she was defeated by Dominika Cibulková 6–3, 6–4.
Her next tournament was the Medibank International Sydney. Rezaï won her first-round match against Anna-Lena Grönefeld 6–7, 6–2, 6–2, then faced Ágnes Szávay, whom she defeated 6–3, 7–6. In the quarterfinals she beat Flavia Pennetta 6–3, 6–0; in the semifinal she faced world No. 1, Serena Williams. She began strong, leading in the match by 6–3, 5–2, and was two points away from victory, but ended up losing 6–3, 5–7, 4–6.
Rezaï was seeded No. 26 for the Australian Open. She won her first-round match against Sania Mirza 6–4, 6–2, but was then defeated in the second round by Angelique Kerber 6–2, 6–3. In the doubles draw she partnered with Sabine Lisicki, but they lost in the first round.
Her next tournament was the Open GDF Suez, where she was seeded No. 5. She won her first round match against qualifier Evgeniya Rodina 6–4, 6–4. In the second round she faced Andrea Petkovic, getting upset 6–3, 3–6, 6–3 and spoiling her chance to play Elena Dementieva in the quarterfinals. She lost in the next round.
At the Mutua Madrileña Madrid Open, Rezaï caused a huge upset in the first round, defeating the former world No. 1 and four-time French Open champion Justine Henin 4–6, 7–5, 6–0. In the second round, she won her match against Klára Zakopalová 6–3, 7–5, then defeated Andrea Petkovic in two sets 6–4, 7–6 (10–8). Rezaï pulled off a major fourth-round upset by defeating Jelena Janković in two straight sets 7–5, 6–4. In the semifinal she won against Lucie Šafářová (6–1, ret.) reaching the most important final in her career. She defeated Venus Williams in the final 6–2, 7–5, coming back from a 2–5 deficit and overcoming numerous set points to win. She then to the French Open with improved odds. Because of her performance at Mutua Madrileña, Rezaï reached a new high career ranking as No. 16. Seeded 15th at the French Open, Rezaï fell to No. 19 Nadia Petrova in the third round in three sets.
On grass Rezaï played at the Aegon Classic, cruising through the semifinals without dropping a set, but fell to eventual champion Li Na 1–6, 6–3, 3–6. She then played at the Aegon International, where she upset top seed Caroline Wozniacki 6–4, 1–6, 6–3 in the first round before retiring against María José Martínez Sánchez in the second round, down 6–2, 3–0. At the Wimbledon Championships, as the 18th seed, she was upset by Klára Zakopalová 5–7, 6–3, 6–3 in the second round.
At the Swedish Open Rezaï cruised through the finals with wins over Arantxa Parra Santonja and Lucie Šafářová, finally facing Gisela Dulko. Rezaï won 6–3, 4–6, 6–4, despite giving up a 4–0 lead in the third set.
Her disappointing level of play continued right up until the end of her season, as she lost in the first round of the Tournament of Champions. She won the title in 2009 but lost to Alisa Kleybanova in the first round 1–6, 2–6.
Rezaï obtained an invite from the Hong Kong Tennis Patrons' Association to play in the Hong Kong Tennis Classic with Caroline Wozniacki and Stefan Edberg for Team Europe, but they lost to Team Russia (including Vera Zvonareva, Maria Kirilenko and Yevgeny Kafelnikov) in the final of Gold Group.
She started off the year with a win over world No. 8 Jelena Janković 7–5, 2–6, 6–3 but lost in the second round to Bojana Jovanovski 6–7, 6–7.
Rezaï lost in the first round of the Monterrey Open to Alla Kudryavtseva 2–6, 1–6. At the BNP Paribas Open, she reached the third round before being defeated by Maria Sharapova in straight sets, losing 2–6, 2–6.
She lost in the first round of the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami to Peng Shuai 0–6, 4–6.
She returned to form at Dallas WTA tournament, where she reached the final.
Rezaï started her year playing in Auckland, where she lost in the first round to Peng Shuai. In Sydney, she was forced to retire in the qualifying draw. She would also go on to falling in round one of the Australian Open.
She lost in the first qualifying round of the Australian Open to Alla Kudryavtseva 4–6, 2–6.
2015: Return to professional tennisEdit
Rezaï announced her return to professional tennis after more than one-year absence, by taking a wildcard into the qualifying draw of the French Open, losing to compatriot Julie Coin in the first round.
In October, she played her last match on the ITF Circuit in Poitiers, France.
Tournament of ChampionsEdit
Singles: 1 (1 title)Edit
|Winner||2009||Bali||Hard||Marion Bartoli||7–5, ret.|
Premier Mandatory/Premier 5 tournamentsEdit
Singles: 1 (1 title)Edit
|Winner||2010||Mutua Madrid Open||Clay||Venus Williams||6–2, 7–5|
WTA career finalsEdit
Singles: 7 (4-3)Edit
|Loss||0–1||May 2007||İstanbul Cup, Turkey||Clay||Elena Dementieva||6–7(5-7), 0–3 ret.|
|Loss||0–2||Jan 2008||Auckland Open, New Zealand||Hard||Lindsay Davenport||2–6, 2–6|
|Win||1–2||May 2009||Internationaux de Strasbourg, France||Clay||Lucie Hradecká||7–6(7–2), 6–1|
|Win||2–2||Nov 2009||WTA Tournament of Champions, Bali||Hard (i)||Marion Bartoli||7–5, ret.|
|Win||3–2||May 2010||Mutua Madrid Open, Spain||Clay||Venus Williams||6–2, 7–5|
|Win||4–2||Jul 2010||Swedish Open, Båstad||Clay||Gisela Dulko||6–3, 4–6, 6–4|
|Loss||4–3||Aug 2011||Texas Tennis Open, Dallas||Hard||Sabine Lisicki||2–6, 1–6|
ITF career finalsEdit
Singles: 12 (8-4)Edit
|Runner-up||1.||19 January 2004||Grenoble||Hard||Martina Müller||5–7, 1–6|
|Winner||1.||17 October 2004||Castel Gandolfo||Clay||Anna Floris||3–6, 6–2, 7–5|
|Winner||2.||24 October 2004||Settimo San Pietro||Clay||Liana Ungur||6–3, 6–4|
|Winner||3.||20 March 2005||Rome||Clay||Maria Penkova||6–2, 6–3|
|Winner||4.||15 May 2005||Saint-Gaudens||Clay||Stephanie Gehrlein||6–4, 2–6, 6–2|
|Runner-up||2.||21 August 2005||Coimbra||Hard||Monica Niculescu||3–6, 1–6|
|Winner||5.||11 March 2006||Telde||Clay||Magüi Serna||6–4, 6–1|
|Runner-up||3.||18 March 2006||Fuerteventura||Hard||Elise Tamaëla||3–6, 6–3, 3–6|
|Winner||6.||26 November 2006||Poitiers||Hard||Ivana Lisjak||7–6(9–7), 6–1|
|Winner||7.||18 November 2007||Deauville||Clay||Kirsten Flipkens||6–4, 6–3|
|Runner-up||4.||8 July 2012||Middelburg||Clay||Kirsten Flipkens||1–6, 0–6|
|Winner||8.||22 July 2012||Contrexéville||Clay||Yvonne Meusburger||6–3, 2–6, 6–3|
|Australian Open||1R||3R||1R||2R||1R||1R||A||LQ||0 / 6||3–6|
|French Open||2R||3R||1R||1R||4R||3R||1R||1R||1R||0 / 9||8–9|
|Wimbledon||3R||1R||2R||2R||1R||LQ||LQ||0 / 5||4–5|
|US Open||4R||2R||2R||1R||2R||1R||LQ||A||0 / 6||6–6|
|Win–Loss||1–1||5–2||3–4||3–4||4–4||5–4||0–4||0–2||0–1||0–0||0 / 26||21–26|
|WTA Tour Championships||0 / 0||0–0|
|WTA Premier Mandatory tournaments|
|Indian Wells||1R||2R||LQ||4R||3R||LQ||A||0 / 3||3–3|
|Miami||1R||1R||1R||2R||2R||LQ||A||0 / 4||0–4|
|Madrid||Not Held||2R||W||1R||A||LQ||1 / 2||7–1|
|Beijing||Not Tier I||1R||1R||A||A||A||0 / 2||0–2|
|WTA Premier 5 tournaments|
|Dubai||Not Tier I||2R||A||0 / 1||1–1|
|Rome||1R||2R||2R||A||A||A||0 / 3||2–3|
|Cincinnati||Not Tier I||1R||1R||A||LQ||A||0 / 2||0–2|
|Montreal / Toronto||1R||1R||3R||2R||LQ||1R||A||0 / 5||3–5|
|Tokyo||1R||2R||2R||LQ||A||A||0 / 3||2–3|
Rezaï told the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting that she supported Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. When the reporter asked her "Do you like Mr. Ahmadinejad?" and "why?", she responded that "Yes, I do a lot. Because he has shown Iran's power to the whole world and I am really proud of him."
In this interview, she also affirmed having presented two of her tennis rackets as a gift to Ahmadinejad. The footage of Rezaï presenting her tennis rackets to Ahmadinejad was used in his official campaign advertisement video during his 2009 presidential election campaign.
Rezaï's father, Arsalan Rezaï, who was a member of her coaching team, has repeatedly been the focus of controversial allegations of violence and abuse. In one interview, Aravane said, "I had really difficult moments, lots of sacrifices. I remember playing outside in the rain and snow." Her father mentioned the concern neighbours had about his training methods: "I had lots of problems to train this girl: lack of money and lack of courts. There were neighbours who bothered us. They accused me, saying that this man was killing this child. But today she's not dead. She's happy."
At one point, the French Tennis Federation was forced to employ bodyguards to prevent Arsalan from attacking other competitors' fathers.[why?] In one 2006 incident, Arsalan attacked Sergey Vesnin, the father of Elena Vesnina, and then accidentally hit his own daughter with a racquet. Aravane was denied training funds that are typically available to all French players, and she was also banned in 2007 from training with other players at Roland Garros because of her father's dispute with the French Fed Cup captain.
Just prior to her loss in the first round of the 2011 Australian Open, Arsalan was violent to his daughter and threatened her boyfriend. After losing the match, Aravane said, "I do not want to look for excuses but I had a lot of trouble on the morning of the match." The WTA banned Arsalan from the tour indefinitely, pending investigation. The incident was also investigated by the Victoria police.
Aravane Rezaï is well known for her hard hitting games and hits the ball with immense power; players often cite her as finishing the point a lot quicker. Jelena Janković stated after her quarterfinal against Rezaï in Madrid. "Aravane hits every ball hard, no matter if it is a high or low ball you don't know where she is going to hit it. I have played players who hits the ball hard but not like Aravane. Even if I hit the ball high she is so aggressive." Venus Williams also said "Wow, what can I say? Aravane is a very hard hitter; obviously she was brought up playing on clay courts but I can not get over how hard she hits that tennis ball. She is a player to watch out for in the future. I do have warnings to other top players: watch out for her."
- Participants The 3rd Muslim Women Games
- Participants The 4th Muslim Women Games
- http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/news/story?id=5449638 Jelena Janković, Kim Clijsters tune up], 9 August 2010, sports.espn.go.com, Retrieved 24 August 2010.
- Ahmadinejad and tennis champion Aravane Rezaï. With English and French subtitle 
- Clarey, Christopher. "Carrying Hopes of France Can Become a Heavy Load" The New York Times 21 May 2010
- Flatman, Barry. "Little phases Aravane Rezai on her path to victory" The Times 23 May 2010
- Walsh, Courtney. "The father of French player Aravane Rezai has been banned indefinitely by WTA" The Australian 25 January 2011
- "Rezai reconciles with dad". Retrieved 1 October 2013.
- Dickson, Mike. "Father is banned over fears for French tennis star's 'safety'" The Daily Mail 25 January 2011
- Downsley, Anthony. "Victoria Police investigate tennis star's family" The Herald Sun 24 January 2011