A Tennis Natural
Mary Pierce was born on January 15, 1975, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, to an American father and a French mother. Soon after her birth her parents, Jim and Yannick (Adjani) Pierce, married. The following year Pierce's brother, David, was born. The family moved to Florida, where her father, an ex-Marine with a criminal record, made and sold jewelry. In his first attempt at the classic middle-class American life, Pierce's father joined the local country club and took up golf, and Pierce was persuaded to join the club's junior tennis clinic. After just a couple of sessions of watching the already athletic ten-year-old Pierce strike the ball, her father's attention turned from golf to his daughter's future in tennis.
Just two weeks after picking up a racket for the first time, Pierce, who also participated in gymnastics and ballet as a child, defeated the twentieth ranked local player in a 12-and-under division tournament. By the age of 12, Pierce was the No. 2 player in the United States in the 12-and-under division. Although he had no experience in tennis, Pierce's father studied the game until he was ready to take over as his daughter's coach. Everything in the Pierce family began to revolve around Pierce's tennis. They sold their house and replaced two cars with one, and in 1986, when Pierce was in sixth grade, Jim Pierce pulled Pierce and her brother out of school so they would be free to travel the amateur circuit.
The children were taught by their mother, and both children took correspondence courses to complete their high school education.