Before Kournikova, Sharapova, Kirilenko, Ivanovic or Wozniacki, there was Mary Pierce. Due to her sophisticated manners, her moodiness and her fashion statements, the gracious Frenchwoman was quick in taking charge of the Diva status just upon joining the tour. She will always be referred to as the game's maiden Modern Diva.
The Canadian born Frenchwoman joined the WTA tour in 1989, quickly making an impression by winning her first title in 1991 in Palermo. At the beginning of the 90s, she undertook a major transformation from the strange looking geekish teenager into a stylish young lady. She was soon offered an important sponsorship deal with Nike, for which she was the leading spokesperson for several years.
It is hard to identify a general pattern in Mary's fashion style, at least in the beginning. She always followed her guts, her range varying from simple garments to more elaborated, colour rich outfits. The dresses that stand out are definitely the black-white one she wore when collecting the Roland Garros title in 2000 or the stripped apparels she showcased at the 1997 French Open and at the 2000 Australian Open.
early 90s: a geekish looking Mary was making her debut on the WTA tour as an ambassador for Ellesse.
Australian Open 1994 marked the beginning of a fruitful relation with Nike.
French Open 1994: in her breakthrough year she stunned world no.1 Steffi Graf to reach her maiden Grand Slam final. The home pressure took its toll though, and an inexperienced Mary lost to Arantxa Sanchez Vicario of Spain.
1995: her first Grand Slam title in Australia, defeating Arantxa Sanchez in the final.
Australian Open 1996: Mary fails to defend her title.
1996 Wimbledon & Olympic Games
Australian Open 1997: Mary returns to the final, but loses to new teen sensation, the Swiss Miss Martina Hingis.
French Open 1997
US Open 1997
Chase Championships 1997: Mary reaches the final, having disposes of world number 1 Hingis in the quarterfinals. She succumbs to Czech Jana Novotna.
Australian Open 1998
Australian Open 1999
French Open 1999
US Open 1999
Australian Open 2000
Roland Garros 2000: not sure how fair it would be to accuse Julia Roberts of inspiring her 2001 Oscar winning Valentino look from Mary's outfit, but there are definitely similarities between the two. It was a fairytale fortnight for a royal looking Pierce, who went on to capture her second Grand Slam title, to the delight of a partisan French crowd.
Proud Mary kept on rolling
After winning her second Grand Slam trophy, Mary's career went through a lot of ups and downs. Her years on the tour were marred by numerous injuries, the Frenchwoman becoming a sort of a part-time player. However, she was always able to rebound every time, managing to achieve some spectacular results.
Due to her efforts to increase the power of her shots and to cope better with the Williams sisters, Davenport or other killer players, Mary's once fragile figure started to deteriorate. She gained some extra kilos and began losing her agility on the court.
Along with her recently acquired silhouette came a toning down of her fashion style. With a few examples, Mary became one of the Nike block. During this span, she took some very unfortunate decisions, which made her look ridiculous (i.e. the extremely tight pink geometrical garment she showcased in 2001 or the mega dull piece she chose to wear in 2003). In spite of everything, proud Mary kept on rolling. With a limited schedule, the Frenchwoman managed to get back to top form in 2005 when she experienced a fairytale end to the season. She put fashion second and decided to focus on her game. It paid off for a period, but in the end it was again the injuries that took their toll. This time, the 31 years old Frenchwoman throw in the tower. She ended her career after failing to recover from a knee injury she sustained in 2006 at Linz.
Australian Open 2002
2002 Roland Garros & Wimbledon
2003 Australian Open & Roland Garros
US Open 2003
Roland Garros 2004
Australian Open 2005
Roland Garros & US Open 2005, Melbourne 2006: an excellent period comprising of 5 finals in 6 tournaments. For the first time in her career she reached two Grand Slam finals (i.e. Roland Garros and US Open), plus the final of the Masters in the same year. Unfortunately for her, she lost then all.
US Open 2006
photos: taken from the official Mary Pierce fan page