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Beauty and Baldy
Sally Jenkins
February 06, 1995
Mary Pierce, who shed her cares, and Andre Agassi, who shed his hair, came up big Down Under
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February 06, 1995

Beauty And Baldy

Mary Pierce, who shed her cares, and Andre Agassi, who shed his hair, came up big Down Under

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Pierce, too, has grown, judging by the way she overwhelmed all opposition. She did not lose a set in the tournament or more than six games in any match.

She had reached the finals of four tournaments in the second half of '94 and lost them all; earlier she had fallen in the French Open final to Sanchez Vicario. The difference in Australia may have been provided by a letter she received over Christmas from Bolletieri criticizing her work habits. Among other things Bolletieri was convinced Pierce was sneak-snacking on junk food. "What's under the bed, dear?" he asked. Pierce responded with a grueling six weeks of training and arrived in Melbourne ready to prove she was more than just an attractive contender. "Everybody said, 'Mary can play, but can she play well all the time?' " Pierce said. "This was important for me."

Pierce's victory forestalled Sanchez Vicario's taking over the No. 1 ranking from Steffi Graf (sidelined with injuries) by a week and raised the question, Can Pierce become No. 1? It appears so. She has unquestionably benefited from a more stable home life. She and her mother. Yannick, have settled tranquilly in a rented house in Bradenton. The woman who was previously known as the daughter of Jim Pierce, the most obstreperous of all tennis fathers, has closed that difficult chapter of her past. "Everything is how I want it now," says Pierce, who remains in touch with her father, though the two do not discuss tennis. "I'm happy, and I'm surrounded by good, honest, hardworking people. I don't know what to be ready for next. I just know I have the game."

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