You at the moment are established in Nice in France, the place an expert profession opens up to you …
I’ve simply completed with the juniors part and I should be prepared to face skilled competitions. That’s what I’m engaged on at the second in Nice. It will not be straightforward, however I place confidence in my God and in my skills. The different step in my childhood dream shouldn’t be removed from coming true. That is to say, see Eliakim Coulibaly, the Ivorian in opposition to champions of the caliber of Djokovic, Nadal and others. I’m simply giving myself three years to shake up the world tennis hierarchy. In three years, I should be ready to give all the pieces I’ve, play the grand slams. This is my objective.
It’s a jungle, are you actually ready bodily and psychologically?
I’m there, I’ve seen quite a lot of issues and I do know what I’m speaking about. And then this machine which has been behind me for just a few months shouldn’t be there by probability. They are professionals who observe me. They know what I’m price and I will not disappoint them. And then, I rely not solely on my new employees, but additionally on the tough household state of affairs of my father, who fought for me since I used to be little, on the state of affairs of my nation, Côte d’Ivoire, which has but to produce nice tennis gamers. When I used to be very younger, I learn that President Georges N’Goan dreamed of a nationwide succession with at the finish a future nice champion. I would really like to say thanks for having had this concept of the federal faculties and the coach Ilou Lonfo who guided my first steps. I am additionally considering of the state of affairs in Africa which has only a few high-level gamers, and so forth. For all these folks, I’ve to go all the manner. You perceive that with that we can’t lack motivation.
How did you meet the ex-champion, Mary Pierce, who’s positively altering the course of your life?
It was in Morocco, throughout confinement, that I met Mary Pierce. The High Performance Center the place I used to be a resident had organized zooms. Video calls to permit us to change with skilled gamers, to share their expertise with us. It was on this event that Mary Pierce, who took half on this Zoom, was notably inquisitive about two questions that I had requested her. She mentioned she had heard about me and he or she approached the director of the heart Amine Makhlouf, whom I thank in passing for all his consideration throughout the 5 years I spent in Casablanca. This is how the contact was made and Mary Pierce was clear with me. She is decided to assist me progress.
When was the first time you noticed her?
I used to be going to France as a part of Roland Garros juniors and he or she took the alternative to obtain me in Nice, inside the Mouratoglou academy the place she allowed me to practice. And this, for every week earlier than the begin of the match. Since then, she has not let go of me, for my best happiness.
And how do you are feeling in Mouratoglou?
I am very comfortable to be there. It’s an actual boon for me. In this heart, I rub shoulders with nice gamers. The Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, the American Serena Williams and lots of different champions come there repeatedly. There are quite a lot of younger tennis gamers there who’ve the similar ambitions as me. That is to say, change into an important champion tomorrow. All of this creates a form of emulation in you. In any case, with Mary, Christophe, my new coach, I am very nicely surrounded.
What is the distinction with the Casablanca High Performance Center?
Casa was a springboard. It’s a bit like after I left Abidjan for Dakar, then Casablanca. These are steps on my path to success. I flourished in the Center of Casablanca. But in Nice, it is significantly better; the group, the coaching system, the technical and medical platform, all of that is of a better degree in contrast to Casablanca. And then, in Nice, there are numerous extra alternatives, with many tournaments accessible to you …
JI bear in mind, Roland Garros juniors was a dream for you …
Indeed, it was a dream. It shouldn’t be given to everybody to go away Africa, with so few means and take part on this main competitors. You can’t think about what it seems like to play this match, to see the nice champions, your idols so intently, to share the locker rooms with them … But I’ve change into a daily. Since earlier than 2020, I had already participated in Roland Garros juniors. I used to be sixteenth in the world and that gave rise to this sort of occasion. I even performed in Australia, at Wimbledon, and so forth.
Now which you can get a really shut have a look at your idol, Rafael Nadal, what are some ideas in your thoughts?
When I used to be youthful, I dreamed of doing like Nadal. I fought for this rating and to take part in the grand slams. This permits me to see him and get to know him, Nadal in addition to the different Djokovic and Federer. I understand that I’ve come a great distance. Eliakim crossed a number of levels; it’s now up to him to roll up his sleeves additional. Because there may be nonetheless a great distance to go. Being a tennis champion takes quite a lot of sacrifice.
Have you ever traded with Nadal?
Unfortunately not but. They are so busy, the nice champions …
INTERVIEW DIRECTED BY PAUL BAGNINI