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Meet The Court Cutup
Franz Lidz
June 01, 1987
With his antic joie de vivre, France's Henri Leconte is as fun to play as he is to watch
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June 01, 1987

Meet The Court Cutup

With his antic joie de vivre, France's Henri Leconte is as fun to play as he is to watch

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The French press also tends to regard Leconte as a vrai na�f, which means "true innocent." After beating Noah for the first time in the quarterfinals of the 1985 French Open, Leconte held a press conference at which he announced he was about to sign a major endorsement contract.

"Who's the sponsor?" a reporter asked.

"I can't say right now," said Leconte. "It's too early. You'll find out in a few days."

"How?"

"You can read about it in the newspapers," Leconte replied. Nobody thought he was being disingenuous.

Leconte is a tough interview. It's not that he resists. He just won't sit still. You have to practically ambush him while he's pinned down on the massage table, and even there his attention span is no longer than a three-shot rally.

Do you find it difficult to concentrate on the court, Henri?

"Yes, sometimes very," he answers. "In fact. . . ." Then he glances at a newspaper, picks at the adhesive tape on his thumb, calls out to a friend across the room, peeks at his watch and sings a little French ditty. A few minutes later he asks, "What was the question again?"

Coaches seem to bore him just as quickly. He discards them one after the other, much the way Louis XIV dumped mistresses. His current coach, Patrice Dominguez, is already on his second tour of duty. "If Becker needs a coach for 20 weeks a year," Tiriac says, "Leconte needs one for 30. He could beat anyone in the Top 3 tomorrow morning, but he's got to find a balance between his strokes and his brain."

Leconte claims he reached that equilibrium when he got married. "It made me more mature, more responsible," he says. "Now I play with more consistency, more aggressivity."

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