Date of birth: 08/01/1993
Rubber: Target Pro GT H47
Blade: Hinotec Off
Vice-champion of France Seniors in mixed doubles
Senior Vice-Champion of France in doubles
Vice-Champion of France Seniors in singles
French Senior Doubles Champion
ITTF World Tour of Spain winner (under 21)
Winner of the Hungarian Open (under 21)
Bronze medal by team world junior championships
European Junior Team Champion
Bronze medal French junior championship
Bronze medal in French double junior championship
Vice-champion of France double senior
Vice-champion of France Junior and Champion of France double Junior
The “Cornilleau Team” Interview
How did you get into ping ?
I must have been around 7 years of age. My parents and my brother were in an amateur club in Yvelines, and I played with them during the holidays. I gradually got into it myself and, a year later, I signed up in the same club as them, in Saint-Arnoult in Yvelines.
And then what path did your career take ?
I stayed in my first club with just a light training rhythm for a few years, then I joined a sport/ study centre at 11 years of age at the nearby CREPS (Centre for Sports Resources, Expertise and Performance) Île-de-France. I stayed there for two years and then joined the Pôle France training cluster in Nantes. At that point, I became a member of the French Team for cadet players and, from then on, things really got serious as I found myself with France’s best players of my age. Next, I joined the INSEP ((National Institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance) where I still train now.
How did you start playing professionally ?
I started playing with the professionals at 16, in Issy-les-Moulineaux, having played for a long time in my native department of Yvelines. It’s a club which really gives youngsters a chance and I was able to snap it up.
You joined the Cornilleau team very early on, how did that go ?
I think that Thomas Le Breton and I were the first to join the team, in 2008. What appealed to me was that Cornilleau was offering genuine support, competitive monitoring, which went way beyond simple assistance with kit.
Can you list some of the particularly striking moments in your career ?
I remember winning a ‘world cadet challenge’ at a fairly young age. It was a great performance as it was against all the best players in my age category and I won the final against Simon Gauzy. Later on, there was one especially memorable moment as a senior player. In 2012, I won my selection in the French Team, beating Christophe Legoût 11 – 9 in the decider. It was at the end of my career but it was still legendary and I’ll remember it for a long time to come. I have one other very good memory, this time in a championship with Caen. We avoided relegation in the last match of the last day, which was a massive relief. The atmosphere during the match was incredible as was the subsequent party.
What type of player are you ?
I’m an attacker and I use my forehand as much as possible. I need to take responsibility for my game. I’m a consistent player, I rely on variations in spin rather than power.
What is your favourite shot ?
My forehand is my favourite weapon, and playing straight down the line in particular. It enables me to catch my rival out.
On a personal level, what has table tennis given you ?
Leaving home at 11 years of age, I quickly had to be self-sufficient. As such, I developed a resourceful side, which is still useful to me today. Ping has also given me a form of discipline, which I might not have had without this sport. It’s also enabled me to travel a lot, especially across Asia, where I particularly enjoyed Japan.
What do you think you’ll do after your career as a player ?
I’ve always had an appetite for business, a field I have a vocational baccalaureat in. I don’t know exactly what my post would be, but it’s a safe bet that I’ll work in business. I might also retrain in ping, but I don’t think that I’m patient enough to train youngsters for example.