Date of birth: 19/01/2000
Rubber: Target Pro GT X51
Blade: Aero Off+
Bronze medal in doubles at the French championship.
Bronze medal at the French junior championship in singles and silver medal in doubles
Cadet: finalist at the Slovakian Open in singles and team win 2015
8th in the European top 10 cadet
The “Cornilleau Team” Interview
How did you get into ping ?
I come from a family, which is more geared around rugby so I started out with that sport. At the rugby club, there were tables so I played ping with some of my teammates. I must have been seven or eight years old and I really enjoyed it. My grandad bought a table shortly after that and I signed up for a club. When I went to register, the club refused me initially due to my size, but I insisted and showed them how driven I was so they kept me on.
And then what path did your career take ?
I started out at the club in Sorgues, near where I live. I continued playing rugby at the same time, but fairly quickly I chose to focus on table tennis. I trained more and more, so much so that at ten years of age my schedules were reorganised so I could reconcile lessons and ping. Next, I joined the Pôle France training cluster in Nantes at thirteen. It was quite complicated to start with, as I was a long way from home and it took me a while to acclimatise to the new environment. I stayed there for three years before going to INSEP (National Institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance). In terms of a club, I’ve defended the colours of Metz for three years now.
What have been the key moments in your career ?
Rather than a specific memory, it’s a period spanning a few months, which I feel was a key moment in my career. In 2017, at the French senior championships in Marseille, I won the bronze medal in the doubles competition with Léo De Nodrest. I have excellent memories of that, especially as I was kind of on home turf there as I come from the region. Two months later, I followed that up with a bronze medal in the individual competition and silver in the doubles. It was a positive sequence of events over a short period and needless to say it was a fantastic feeling.
After that you endured a difficult episode due to an incident. Can you tell us about that ?
In 2018, just before I took my A’ levels, everything was going well. I went into a bar with a few friends and then promptly passed out. It seems that an asthma attack caused me to black out. Fortunately, there was a physio and a doctor in the bar, who immediately had the right reflexes. The emergency services arrived on the scene pretty quickly to rescue me, but I still suffered a double pneumothorax and spent several days intubated in intensive care. I was forced to stop sport completely for nearly five months. Regaining my former physical and respiratory fitness levels was a very long process and it was complicated at times mentally. I went through some periods of doubt but I had very good support from my family. The club at Metz also helped me a lot and gave me the time to come back to it. I never had any intention of giving up, I’d have resented it too much.
What type of ping player are you ?
I’m fairly aggressive. I need to be the first to take the initiative and I like to finish quickly. I’m a bit of a bag of nerves, which has its positives and negatives. The advantage is that you have a lot of energy and you’re flat out all the time. The disadvantage is that I can lose my cool a bit sometimes.
What’s your favourite shot ?
I try to perform as best I can in the first three or four balls. Therefore, my service and my forehand are my two main weapons.
How did you join Team Cornilleau ?
On arrival at the Pôle France in Nantes, I didn’t have a sponsor. The coach, Thierry Prioux, hooked me up with Cornilleau and I was in contact with the team to speak about my project and define the equipment that best suits my game. It was a fluid process and our collaboration has now lasted around eight years.
On a personal level, what has table tennis given you ?
Everything I’ve experienced thanks to ping has been a great help in overcoming the ordeal I went through. This requirement with regards myself and the patience you need for top-level sport in order to achieve your goals, has enabled me to approach rehabilitation with a very positive mentality and I think that gave me a real bonus in relation to another patient. Table tennis has also greatly contributed to my personal development and given me real strength of character in my daily life.
What do you think you’ll do after your career as a player ?
For now, I can’t see myself moving into a domain outside ping, it’s my passion. Maybe that’ll change, but I can’t envisage anything else. As such, I think I’ll follow this up with a career as a coach to start with.