Roland Garros

For Nicolas Escudé, “we must shake the coconut tree” if we want French tennis to progress

It’s a tradition, when the last French player is knocked out at Roland-Garros, the National Manager comes in to make the first evaluation. Nicolas Escudé did not cut it and wanted to be optimistic first. “We’re not going to say that the first week was a far cry from that. We’ve seen good things, especially among the girls, and we’ve seen the rebirth of Gilles Simon. »

However, it is difficult to be content with starting a new week without a tricolor representative in both tables. Escudé was inexcusable, he had been waiting for this. “It’s complicated right now. One generation is turning the page and the next generation is marking the time, even if it’s better than that.” And DTN, which evokes Lucas Pouille or Ugo Humbert, “They are in a difficult situation, it is necessary to say what is happening”.

Of course, a volley of reproaches await from all walks of life. But he remembers that DTN can only be prosecuted. “compared to the material at hand. Today, there is no Rune whose progression releases Alcaraz or Gaston. » Is the French reservoir empty for all this? Escude doesn’t believe him. “We have good players, but maybe we should give them a little more time. But it’s up to us to speed it up.”

“Everyone should ask the right questions”

Yes but how. There have been years when the conversations have been similar, with a huge potential promise waiting to emerge. Last year, four Frenchies were in the semi-finals of the junior edition, yes. But what are they doing for a year? Escudé has to accept this” They didn’t blow anything up…” Does connecting round tables change anything? Escudé wants to believe it. In any case, he wants a strong sense of trust. “Everyone from DTN to club coach should understand why we are where we are today. And everybody (he insists) should ask themselves the right questions at all levels.”

“We can no longer be satisfied with people who work ¾ hours, no. High level is full time. »

And above all, get back to work. Because if the generation factor of the equation cannot be set aside, it is clear that at some point the Federation has failed. And Escudé doesn’t run away when we get to the point. “We probably rested on our laurels. We may be wrong due to some sports policies. But it’s hard to formulate a sports policy every four years, especially if it’s about undoing everything that’s left. You need continuity and stability. But that’s what’s been missing in the last 10, 15 years. »

Like many others, the French Tennis Federation has been ennobled, more concerned with spectacle and communication than important business? “Scud” doesn’t go that far, but warns that things will have to change. “We’re going to have to shake the coconut tree. Activate, animate, clean, that’s for sure. Everyone will have to stock up. We can’t be satisfied with ¾ time people anymore, no. High level is full time. »

Speech is done in a harsh voice, directly in the eyes and banging the fist on the table. At DTN we truly feel the desire to break out of a vicious circle where effort is no longer the primary value. “Some have settled into some kind of comfort. It’s easy in France, you just have to see the wild cards we have issued and the prizes in the first round. It’s simple, life in France, knowing that the Federation is there and we will have wild cards, you can have tennis there without having big goals. But that is not our aim. The high level is constantly pushing your limits, and it’s not just about waiting a month and a half before Roland-Garros and putting a boost to appear on the radar. No, it’s a year-round job. »

Young people without real ambition

And this work cannot be done without real ambition, without a project originating from the actor. But that’s where the problem is most of the time. “It’s so easy to hit the frame, Escudé defends himself. Players have their share of responsibility. They need to know where they want to go and how to structure themselves to get there. Because if we put Toni Nadal or Vajda on an actor who doesn’t know what he really wants, what do you think it will give? Everyone should be aware of this. We are not here to socialize. The Federation is not there to help, not to accompany, not to give some money if it is not going to be efficient. You need performance today (it’s still hitting the table). »

Despite being trained by the federation, tennis is still the choice among many for many young Frenchmen. Sure, Alcaraz and Rune, both 19 years old, may look like extraterrestrials, but at least they have a clear ambition that carries them even in moments of doubt. Before we talk about tennis technique, it is absolutely necessary to find this sacred fire in our youngest.

Reinvest in space and strengthen perception

Nicolas Escudé knows this very well. Therefore, he wants to return to the field as close as possible to future nuggets. “Regional Technical Teams (ETRs) have not been on the field as they should be lately. When their primary role was identified, they were no longer doing what they signed for. And they have this ability. When I arrived, in some leagues, for three generations, there were no girls spotted. None! How is this possible? And then we ask ourselves the question of succession… But if we fall behind from the start, it’s impossible. We should stop chasing the train while it is one of our strengths. »

“A lot of people think the wild card has been issued and all you have to do is ask for it. It’s a little more complicated than that.”

Hence the reopening of the national poles, especially in Poitiers, which had been closed by the previous presidency, preferring to let clubs manage the pursuit of their players. “We need to bring together our best players to train together. » And a different policy for wild cards. “We put the racing system in place because too many people think the wild card is a necessity and all you have to do is ask for it. It’s a bit more complicated than that. Now players have the opportunity to go and win the wild card (which was the case for Léolia Jeanjean this year) »

Admittedly, the results are not the brightest after this Roland-Garros, which was a necessary stage in the situation of the French troops. Escudé sums up the situation in one last sentence. “There is still work to be done.”

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