Marc Barbier is a happy trainer. And proud. It is even this last term that comes up the most in his mouth when taking stock of this Roland Garros for his protégé Hugo Gaston. The craziest thing, for him, is to think that he feels a little bit of regret after the defeat in five sets against Dominic Thiem. That he might not have imagined.
“It’s a bit strange to say that for us, who arrived at the start of the tournament with modest ambitions, and found ourselves a week later, having almost a little regret having lost this match against Dominic Thiem, number 3 world, recent winner of the US Open“, smiles the coach of the great tricolor revelation.
A final testimony, not the most trivial, of the extraordinary tournament delivered by his foal. Seen from the outside, it’s hard not to be amazed by this course, but Marc Barbier is not so surprised by what he saw. “In terms of level of play, I am very confident about Hugo, he said. I know he is capable of playing at a high level. Then he made a big preparation in terms of volume and quality. He put a lot of meaning into what he did, a lot of involvement in what he was offered. So at the end of the preparation I could tell those who were close to us that the preparation was successful. “Even so, he admits it himself,”between a successful preparation and the results, there is a world“.
Nishioka, the click
So why there, at Roland Garros? Maybe, precisely, because it was a Grand Slam. We meet the best there, on the biggest stage. It could be frightening, sometimes it is, but it is also a way of demystifying the highest level. We realize that, ultimately, these people do not belong to an inaccessible world, and that we can have our place there.
In this sense, the most important match was the one against Yoshihito Nishioka, explains Marc Barbier: “The click occurred there, on the second round. Beating Nishioka made him realize that ultimately he had a solid level on clay. He arrived on Stan Wawrinka, not with disproportionate confidence, but by saying to himself: ‘I’m going to be able to produce good tennis and then what will happen will happen’.”
Back to the challengers
Whether against Wawrinka, or Thiem, it went pretty well. Now, it’s time to put the memories behind and capitalize on them. For Hugo Gaston, Monday is the first day of the rest of his tennis life. Came into full light by reaching the round of 16 at Roland Garros, he further broadened his horizon as his audience against Dominic Thiem, despite his defeat in five sets. His charming tennis, his formidable hand but also his fighter mind seduced. Now it all starts for him. Including the hardest part.
His unexpected Parisian career will propel him to the ATP ranking, with a jump of around 80 places to come next Monday. But by sailing around the 160th place, the French hope will not yet have access to the tables of the tournaments of the main circuit. Hence the first objective set in the short or medium term, the Top 100 bar. He should find some wild cards, but in the short term, his future will come back to the challengers, far from the highlights of the Philippe-Chatrier court. “Yes it’s gonna be different for sure, he admitted Sunday evening. We will go back to the challengers, it’s my circuit.”
We have a way, we will stay on this way
The return to earth could be violent if Hugo Gaston did not have both feet firmly anchored to the ground. “I don’t really have any concerns, because we have our objectives, our course, still assures his trainer. We have a way. And so we’re gonna stay on this path, and keep staying the course. “The rest, the attention paid to his foal, the media turmoil, the technician wants his player to be protected. Here too, he does not worry too much:
We imagine that for a while, there will be a lot of commotion, and that things will stir up quite a bit around Hugo. In any case, we expect that. We are not used to it, but we expect it. We will try to live it as quietly as possible, to set up a program. Then, the expectations that there may be, it does not really concern us, and we cannot control it. We just try to focus on what we can control, namely our plan, our programming, our training, areas for improvement. That, for us, is the most important.
This Roland Garros must serve as a springboard, and above all not constitute a brake, even if the danger still exists. Hugo Gaston, he still very much want to relive it all. What could be more exhilarating than being involved in a match as strong as Sunday’s against Thiem, at the Roland-Garros Central? “I will not lie, he slips. Since I was little, I have wanted to live these moments. Today, I had the chance to live this moment. It was a dream, these are goals to set. I will work hard to be ready. “He wants to taste it again. And we will see him again.
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