The president of the French Tennis Federation got here to go to Les Petits As, “a tournament that has become a world reference”. interview.
President, we left you in September in Bagnères for the centenary of the membership and the ITF match, we discover you at this time for the fortieth anniversary of the Tarbais World Cup. Was it necessary for you to be right here at this time?
Yes, it is necessary for the Federation to be alongside this occasion, because it has at all times been. Now, the info has modified a little bit bit, for the reason that Knaebel family needed to assure that the match stays in Tarbes, after which that we might help and help them. They will clearly keep within the match, it is their match and it is up to them. We are there to help them, and if we might help them with the experience now we have when it comes to communication, when it comes to advertising, we are going to assist them understanding that the work has been finished remarkably properly. I communicate knowingly as a result of I organized a match for nearly 25 years, and I see the standard of the group, the professionalism, there is nothing to say. And then this match has change into a world reference. It is due to this fact good that we preserve this occasion on French territory after which that we preserve it in Tarbes. I’m very attached to the departments, to the areas, and it is true that typically we have a tendency to see tournaments disappear or be offered overseas. These are issues that exist, so we’re delighted as a Federation to be right here, in this very lovely area, after Bagnères-de-Bigorre. I’m a mountain fanatic and whenever you see the Pyrenees like at this time, with magnificent climate, it is nothing however happiness.
You had been speaking about help. Last June there was a signing between the Petits As and the FFT at Roland Garros.
Yes, after which Richard Gasquet, and Nicolas Escudé, who got here right here and are attached. The entire tennis family is attached to this match. Many have performed it, not me sadly, I’m from a technology the place it didn’t but exist, however we’re all very attached to this match, and I imagine that it is not solely on nationwide territory, however internationally. We signed this settlement which we’re delighted to honor throughout the framework outlined by the Knaebel family. They are those who maintain the deal with, and we put ourselves within the place they needed us to take and due to this fact, in relation with the departmental committee and the League, with Yves Piette and Philippe Belou, we’re down to the native degree. It is not the Federation, on the degree of Paris, which comes to pilot the match. I do not assume we are going to see any change. If we will carry our experience in sure small areas, and once I say that the match is properly organized, the necessary factor is to perpetuate, and to be certain that, within the needs of the Knaebel family, the match going properly right here.
Last night time, you had been on the court docket to greet all of the delegations, but additionally the volunteers who’re necessary to this World Cup.
It’s important, and after we’ve managed to unite like that round a metropolis of a membership, tennis fanatics 40 years of voluntary dedication like that, it is actually the least you are able to do to come, in as president of the FFT, to greet, thank and accompany such occasions. I’m very delicate to it, I used to be a volunteer, I went by means of a League, a committee, I do know the dedication that is that of volunteers and the enjoyment they’ve, or the disappointment they’ve been in a position to to have in September when there was no life right here within the village the place it was a bit unhappy. Glad that the Little As are again to their regular rhythm, and I hope that sooner or later, we will nonetheless depend on these volunteers, on the dedication, and the perfect gamers.
You had been speaking concerning the French who handed by means of Tarbes. Is it a mandatory passage to the highest degree?
I’m at all times a bit cautious. This match is a reference, it is good to be there, it is good to win, however it’s not the tip of issues. The highway is lengthy behind, all of the longer because it is very aggressive, there is a wrestle from an early age to be the perfect, however many put on out in a short time. the circuit has change into demanding, as now we have seen with the Covid disaster. Psychologically, the covid disaster and a circuit that is arduous, it is difficult. So it is a should, it is good to be there, it is good to play, to evaluate your self to the perfect gamers on the planet in the identical class and of the identical technology, and behind that, the work has to be finished. . The hardest half has been finished to come right here as a result of they’re the perfect, however the hardest half is nonetheless to be finished whenever you get out of right here as a result of it is on the junior stage that you just actually make a profession behind, and that you just handle to adapt to the skilled degree.
It’s a bit like Alizé Cornet, who is 32 and is enjoying his first quarter of a Grand Slam.
It’s a bit like present tennis the place we in a short time have a tendency to go definitive judgments on younger or outdated. Nadal is not completed, possibly Federer will come again. Let’s watch out about gamers who’ve the character, we’re speaking about Alyzé Cornet and the temperament, and even Gaël Monfils who already demonstrated a yr in the past the hassle that wants to be made by altering his fashion of play, by hurting, questioning themselves. And someplace, it is virtually a yr later that it pays off, and at this time I feel he is going to have a great season, he is a unprecedented participant, I’m a fan of this participant who provides all the things on the bottom. He delighted me at this Australian Open, together with his profession.
Michel Pedeloup and Danielle Vignes maintain feeding the Petits As web site. Michel has been a volunteer on the match for 40 years and Danielle for 17, however she has been with the Petits As for longer since her husband was a referee there. “We start in the morning, we sit down and we do not leave our armchair, we seize without stopping”, testifies Michel. “We are on the screen, we monitor, as soon as a match is over, we enter the results, and as soon as the photographer brings me the photos from the day before, I enter the galleries, so all day we are on the ‘screen,” provides Danielle.
Small match turned massive
Michel, who has been current on the match since its creation, has seen the match develop over time, and in all respects. “The beginning was extraordinary, we started from nothing, we became very important thanks to Hervé Siméon who really had the fiber to develop, and then after we followed revolutions in the regulations, etc. Then it evolved towards the professional, when we were a big family at the start, who did something fantastic,” he mentioned. “For it to still exist today, it took an extraordinary management team,” he concludes.
Rafael Nadal, most scoring participant
For Danielle and Michel, there is no picture, the participant who marked them probably the most is a sure Majorcan. “Me it is Rafael Nadal who marked me the most”, confides Michel. “Me too, continues Danielle. He is a very nice boy, very well brought up, very polite, moreover he returned to exhibition, he was always so charming”. But she doesn’t neglect the ladies who’ve handed by means of the match. “Me as a woman, I’m going to talk about players anyway, (Martina) Hingis, she came here three years, it was a little piece of cabbage, she lifted all the balls and the two years after, so there, it was a phenomenon (she won the tournament in 1991 and 1992)”.