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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Saturday January 22, 2022

If 2022 does, as she has hinted, represent Alizé Cornet's last season of professional tennis, it certainly has kicked off in style. The 32-year-old knocked off No.3-seeded Garbiñe Muguruza in the second round and then rallied from a set and 4-1 down to defeat Tamara Zidansek to book her first trip to the round o 16 at the Australian Open since 2009.

Tennis Express

All that while playing in her 60th consecutive Grand Slam main draw – which is just two shy of the all-time WTA record of 62, held by Japan’s Ai Sugiyama.

It has been a special week one for the Frenchwoman (she celebrated her 32nd birthday on Saturday - even better), and she has been an inspiration to many, both with her play, and with her words.

“I've played so many years and I've faced so many different situations. But it feels very sweet. It still feels amazing,” Cornet said on Saturday after defeating Zidansek, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Cornet says that victories like the ones she has locked down in week one are what keep her motivated to put her body and soul into the sport.

“I think that's why we all keep playing and keep pushing ourselves because we're so addicted to these feelings, this joy right after the match point then you can share it with your box, then with your family. It's really amazing,” she said. “To start the year this way definitely wants to make me play some more tennis.”

Though Cornet hasn’t officially decided to hang up her racquet after the season, it must be noted that she was a precocious talent and has been on the tour since 2005. She has not missed a single Grand Slam draw since the 2007 Australian Open.

That’s a lot of skin in the game, a lot of years spent travelling the globe for tennis. Cornet says it’s a lot easier to make the sacrifices when the wins are coming.

“I'm not going to lie,” she said. “The results will help. I'm having so much fun right now by making the second week of a slam than when I lost first round last week in Adelaide. We're not going to lie, results really help.

Whether Cornet retires or not at the end of the season, she’s promised herself to savor the moments she lives on tour. She’s taking nothing for granted as she prepares to face Simona Halep in the round of 16 on Monday in Melbourne.

“But I think it's to enjoy the process of maybe living my last year on the tour makes me sit a little bit with some kid's eyes,” she said. “I want to enjoy the time I spend on-site, to talk with the players that maybe I will not see any more in the future. It makes everything a little bit more special.”