improbable run through the first week of the U.S. Open began with a bet. The
19-year-old Frenchwoman, born to Iranian immigrants, had hoped to bring along
her coach and father, Arsalan. But he couldn't get a U.S. work visa because of
his Iranian citizenship, so her brother and hitting partner, Anauch, stepped
in. Aravane, who reached the third round of the French Open in May, bet her old
man she could go even further in Flushing with her brother by her side.
Her gamble paid
off. The 96th-ranked Reza� upset top 25 players Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Maria
Kirilenko to make the fourth round of the Open, where she lost to No. 5 Elena
Dementieva. "I try to impose my game," says Reza�, whose 5'5" frame
belies her punishing ground strokes and abundant confidence.
went into debt to support her career, and her father's clashes with the French
Tennis Federation kept her from receiving funding. Aravane even slept in a
camper to save money at satellite tournaments. Her win over Kirilenko, however,
guaranteed her a $72,000 payday. Reza� imagines she'd have enjoyed this sooner
had she only been better funded. Still, she says, "if I had grown up in the
bourgeoisie, I probably wouldn't play with the same rage."