Australian Open news: In conversation with Alizé Lim on Djokovic, Raducanu and TV presenting

Alizé Lim has not entirely given up on her dream of resuming her tennis career, but the 31-year-old French star who played Serena Williams at the French Open back in 2014 is also looking towards a new future.

Lim has been lighting up the Eurosport screens throughout the French Open, as she has been the face of the network’s comprehensive coverage of the Australian Open.

Working in the studio with eight-time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander and former British No.1 Tim Henman, Lim admits the transition from the court to the TV studio has been challenging, as she sat down for an exclusive interview with Tennis365 that touched on all the hot tennis topics at the top of the current agenda.

The Novak Djokovic is still one of the most talked-about topics in tennis so how do you reflect on the story?

It was amazing. Maybe some people who don’t usually talk about tennis or want to watch the Australian Open might start thinking about it. It’s sad that the attention is drawing on that situation because we all want to focus on the tennis.

Do you feel the story has damaged Djokovic’s legacy?

For me, he’s still a great champion in what he’s achieved and when this turns it around and starts winning, people will move on. This story is so big. I even unfollowed some people on Twitter because it was too much. It’s making me anxious because I cannot help still but have empathy because I’m a tennis player myself. And situation I read in the news about a tennis player I’m going to think how would it feel if I was there, like I picture myself being in that situation immediately and I’m thinking I would have a rash everywhere and not sleep at all. It makes me anxious just thinking about it. 

Alizé Lim Eurosport
Alizé Lim in the Eurosport Cube with Tim Henman and Mats Wilander

How do you reflect on Emma Raducanu’s breakthrough in tennis?

In the long term for sure she’s going to have big moments again and I’m sure of that but right now at the Australian Open I don’t know her very well so I don’t know what she’s thinking or how she’s feeling. No-one knows apart from her team and family what she’s going through, we don’t know what is going on with her coach, how she is mentally. Sometimes you’re practising really well and it just doesn’t happen but you know you’re going in the right direction. And that’s tennis, sometimes it pays off but sometimes you’re completely off track.

What Emma did at the US Open was amazing last year and like the Djokovic story in Australia, a lot of people who usually don’t talk about tennis started suddenly talking about tennis, so that has to be positive.

Do you miss tennis? Do you still play a lot?

Alizé Lim after playing Serena Williams
Alizé Lim after playing Serena Williams

I still play a lot yeah, but compared to before it’s not a lot but yeah I still practice three to four times a week. Obviously these three weeks I can’t play as I am working for Eurosport, so that’s a lot for me. It was weird to say to my coach, the week before we were practising I had to say oh yeah so we’re practising, but it’s weird because I’m going to destroy everything in the next three weeks because I’m going away and I’m not going to be able to play. But it’s like I have an anxiety of losing my level in case I ever want to come back or play a tournament because I do miss the adrenalin, I do miss the competition and I thought I would play more tournaments but last year I was injured, but I still want to play some tournaments maybe. In a way I’m finished because I don’t think I will be able to go through a whole season travelling like before but I will play some tournaments here and there for sure.

How have you found the transition into TV work?

It is very different for sure, I mean I don’t think anything compares to tennis but in a way there is some stuff that I find not similar but sometimes some experience that I have from tennis I can use for that. I’m just really grateful at the moment that I can do that but I never decided on it and I don’t take it for granted. I am really excited aboy this opportunity with Eurosport.

In part two of our interview with Alizé Lim, we will look at her experiences of dealing with pressure on the tennis tour and what it has been like working on the Australian Open.

The Australian Open will be live on discovery+ and Eurosport through to the finals this weekend.