Identity

Date of birth: 12/10/1994
Right-handed

Equipment

Rubber: Target Pro GT X51
Blade: Hinotec Off

Awards

2014

Third place at the senior French doubles championships

2008

Third place at the French Cadet Championships
Cadet European Team Champion

2007

Vice champion of France minimal in singles and doubles
Cadet double French champion
Vice European Junior Champion

2006

Vice champion of France minimal in singles and doubles

2005

Vice champion of France Benjamin
Junior French champion in doubles

The “Cornilleau Team” Interview

How did you get into ping ?

My mother, who played for the French team, was a coach at the club in Luneville, a club my grandmother was also a member of. I played there with her when I small. I was four years old and immediately liked it, quickly getting into a routine of training every evening.

And then what path did your career take ?

I was spotted by the France Détection group (French talent spotting group) who I stayed with between the age of 8 to 11 and then it was one thing after another: CREPS (Centre for Sports Resources, Expertise and Performance) in Nancy, Pôle France training cluster in Nantes and INSEP (National Institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance). At that point, I suffered a severe injury to both knees and could no longer play. I lost my place at INSEP and was forced to go back to Nancy, where I returned to CREPS and college. Back to square one.

How did you get yourself back on track ?

During that year, I had the opportunity to really think about what I wanted to do. I took my A’ levels and signed up for the DUT (a two-year qualification taken at a technical college) but I missed playing ping and I couldn’t get my head around doing anything else. I then took a coaching diploma and became a coach / pro player in Metz. That worked well and I switched club for Mont-de-Marsan, which was geared up for the rise in pro B at the time. Subsequently though, it was in Nice that I really became aware that I had the necessary qualities for the top level, thanks notably to my then coach Olivier Maero, who is still my coach now and believed in me. From that point, I gave myself 3 or 4 years to get my career off the ground. So, that’s where I’m at workwise.

Do you remember a particularly striking moment in your career ?

Thinking back, there was a very powerful moment that I experienced with fellow players of my generation. It was in 2008, we won the European team cadet championships. That same day, the juniors also secured victory. I still remember the Marseillaise ringing out that day and how we celebrated our title all together. There were other great moments too like my bronze medal at the French senior doubles championships, but that remained the most striking moment, perhaps because I was young.

How did you join Team Cornilleau ?

At the French championships in 2019, I was sponsored by a specialist retailer from Luxembourg, who got me playing in Cornilleau. That enabled me to meet the brand’s teams, who were attending the championships. After that, we got chatting and it seemed like a natural progression to join Team Cornilleau. In terms of equipment, I had the chance to test different woods and rubbers before finding the winning combination for me.

Dorian Nicolle france championnat 2020

Do you have any hobbies outside ping?

I may have some very good friends in table tennis, like Grégoire Jean for example, who’s also a member of the team, but I often need to take a break by hooking up with people who don’t have anything to do with the domain. That gives me a chance to discuss other things. I also follow general sport at lot and tennis, basketball and F1 in particular. I go to the cinema and to gigs too. For some time, I’ve been listening to a fair bit of classical music.

What type of player are you?

I love playing 1.5m or even two metres away from the table. I put away a lot of balls and even though I know how to finish off points, my game is aimed at wearing my rivals out. That’s sure to be down to my nature. I’m a fighter and I give my all in what I do.

What is your favourite shot?

I don’t have a shot I play all the time, but in Pro B one day, I returned a shot with my left hand, which won me the point. That feat did the rounds in ping circles and people regularly talk to me about it.

On a personal level, what has ping given you?

Ping has enabled me to meet a lot of people and travel to different continents: China, Africa and eastern Europe. Table tennis has also taught me about sacrifice, working hard to get what you want. I like winning, I need to win. And to win, you have to work very hard, so I’ve had to push the envelope and continue to do so on a daily basis.

What do you think you’ll do after your career as a player?

One thing for sure is that I’ll stay in the sports domain, maybe ping, but sport for definite. Maybe I’ll become a coach, as that’s another string to my bow, and why not travel and work in another country, discover another setting. And I think I’ll play ping as long as my body allows, till I can no longer walk.