Bartoli wants rest

Last year’s Wimbledon runner-up Marion Bartoli admitted she needs some time away from tennis after crashing out of the French Open in the first round.

The Frenchwoman, seeded ninth at Roland Garros, has endured a miserable 2008 season, failing to replicate the form that took her to the brink of a shock win at SW19 last July, when she lost to Venus Williams in the final.

Bartoli’s best performance since then came with a run to the final four of the Open Gaz de France in February, and yesterday’s 6-7 (4/7) 6-3 6-2 loss to the unseeded Casey Dellacqua appears to have convinced the 23-year-old that it is time for a rest.

“I’m just fed up,” the French number one revealed after the match on Suzanne Lenglen Court. “I’m going to turn off my mobile phone, turn off my TV set, and forget about Roland Garros.

“I’m going to try not to think about it. I’ll go far away, very far away. Why not take a short break, some holidays?”

Bartoli has won successive matches on just two occasions in 2008 and now hopes to regroup in time for the start of the grasscourt season, which will culminate with the third grand slam of the year at Wimbledon at the end of June.

“Since the start of this year I’ve been playing and I felt tired,” Bartoli continued. “I’ll probably start practising for the season on grass, but I first want to think about myself.”

On her defeat to unfancied Australian Dellacqua, Bartoli conceded that she did not have enough in her locker to see out the match despite winning the first set.

“She hit harder than me and took more initiatives,” said Bartoli. “I managed to win the first set, but I wasn’t good enough in the two others. I was making too many errors and double faults and she was playing very well.”

World number one Maria Sharapova was also downbeat after her performance on the Parisian clay yesterday – although she at least emerged with a victory over fellow Russian Evgeniya Rodina.

The 21-year-old was made to work for the win due to her off-key service game and a swirling wind in Paris, but she dug deep when it mattered most to claim an arduous 6-1 3-6 8-6 triumph.

World number 104 Rodina should have been dispatched with consummate ease, however, and Sharapova admitted that her performance was a cause for concern.

“I won the first set pretty comfortably and I kind of went downhill after that,” she said. “I was quite tentative, giving her opportunities to take control of the points.

“I was trying to maybe be somebody that I’m not and that can get you in trouble. When you are out there playing under-14 tennis and pushing balls, you create your own problems.

“Realistically, I don’t know if there’s any way down from here.”

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