|MLADENOVIC AND THIEM, NOW OFFICIALLY A COUPLE, HOPING TO GAIN MOMENTUM
Mladenovic and Thiem are no longer hiding their relationship. (AP)
France's Kristina Mladenovic and Austria's Dominic Thiem had their first public appearance as a couple at the Madrid Open player party, appearing together in photographs from the event.
A year ago at Madrid, the two warmed up together before some of their matches and both went on to reach the final before also making a run at the French Open. Now, they are coming in looking for momentum, both having had some injury problems and lack of consistency since the second half of 2017. The tournament could again help them get back on track.
Mladenovic started by beating CoCo Vandeweghe in the first round.
“Madrid was cool," she told the Sydney International during the Australian hard-court tournament. "We could warm up with each other many times and it brought us good luck. When we practice without movement, if we play just crosscourt, he likes it because I can really handle his pace, no problem. Of course if we open up the court and I have to run and play a rally with him, there is absolutely no chance for me.
"But it’s obviously very nice.”
The Frenchwoman said that the two began dating "pretty much beginning of 2017," but it took a little while for others to notice because they are often both at the same events.
"When I was next to him in London at the ATP Finals, it was obvious then that a WTA player shouldn’t be there," she said jokingly.
Mladenovic added that it helps that they are both tennis players. "We understand each other perfectly, we know what the other is going through, we know the way the other one can feel. Also on tour for travelling it also makes it easier," she said.
Mladenovic next plays Shuai Zhang.