Date of birth: 24/03/1996
Rubber: Target Pro GT x51
Blade: Hinotec Off
Third place in doubles at the senior French championships
French champion in junior doubles
European Junior Team Champion in 2014
Third place at the French Junior Doubles Championships
Winner of the Pro tour of Czech Republic in juniors
The “Cornilleau Team” Interview
How did you get into ping ?
It was via my brother Simon, who’s two years older, that I discovered ping. When we were young, we played together; we had a table in the garage of the family home. I was seven when I began playing in a club, in Frouzins, in the Toulouse region. I played in several clubs around the region and at 11 years of age I joined the Pôle France training cluster in Nantes where I stayed until I came of age.
And at that point you left France ?
I had the opportunity to join a structure, which was being organised in Denmark, where I could train with some very good players and coaches of various nationalities, and Chinese in particular. I stayed there for 3 years and that was really character-building in terms of table tennis and everything else.
Which points in your career are particularly memorable for you ?
I won a European junior champion title in 2007. As such, I was very young and it was a highly emotional time because of winning the contest against the best players of my age from right across Europe, as well as repeating my brother’s performance two years after him. I also recall a group victory that struck a chord with me. It was the European junior team championship in 2013 and I remember a moment of communion with the rest of the team. It was a very powerful thing.
How did you join Team Cornilleau ?
I’ve been with Team Cornilleau for nearly 10 years already. It was quite a natural course of events. Simon and I both wanted to join Team Cornilleau, who hadn’t been involved in competition for long at the time (editor’s note Simon Gauzy is now solely the recreational ambassador for Cornilleau). With regards equipment, we tested various woods and rubbers and I’ve found my perfect combination.
What type of player are you ?
I have a fairly aggressive game. I apply myself to giving my all in every one of my balls so that the points are short. To do this, I rely on my service and my forehand, which are clearly my strong points. However, I’m also trying to work on my patience as it’s important not to always want to conclude too quickly.
So your favourite shot is your forehand ?
When I began to do a lot of training at the Pôle France training cluster, there was a lot of emphasis on my forehand and my footwork. Thierry Prioux, my then coach, really helped me progress with my forehand, which remains my favourite shot.
Do you have any other interests outside table tennis ?
Ping takes up a lot of my time but I still manage to find time to have some fun. Right now, I’m doing a lot of reading, detective novels in particular. I’ve also started studying podiatry too and that takes up a fair amount of my time as well.
On a personal level, what has ping given you ?
It forced me to be fairly mature very early on. For example, at eleven years of age, I was travelling from Toulouse – Nantes all on my own. I also learnt English quickly because with the overseas competitions it rapidly proved to be a necessity. In Nantes and then in Denmark, I learnt all about rigour, working hard to really improve my game and how to play well and consistently. Ping has also taught me how to manage tension and transform it into something positive. My experience in Denmark also taught me about other cultures, as we were youngsters of many different nationalities. I also developed a certain strength of character there, because outside the mental aspect which we developed in training, it was important to adapt to some tough obstacles like the lack of sunshine. When the sun rises at 10:00hrs and sets at 15:00hrs, you need to be mentally strong when you’re not used to it and you come from Toulouse.
So, do you have a clear idea of what you’ll do after your career as a player ?
I quickly understood that I wouldn’t like to become a coach further down the line. That’s why I started studying. I’m really interested in all the medical side of the sport and the foot is a key element in all sports. As such, I’ve opted for podiatry. I can really see myself working as a podiatrist in the sports domain, and maybe even ping, though it’s not yet very developed in today’s game.