Lacoste and Tecnifibre have just launched their program “Petits Crocos”, Les Petits As met 2 members of the Team: Tiago Pires and Antoine Ghibaudo. Duet interview with two of the best French players under 14.
What does Les Petits As represent for you?
Antoine Ghibaudo: It’s the biggest U14 tournament in the world.
Tiago Pires: It revealed so many of the biggest tennis players. Furthermore, it takes place in France. To perform on this tournament is an objective for me.
If you have to describe this tournament in 3 words?
T.P: Competition, worldwide and pleasure.
A.G: Impressive, top level, I dream about it.
You have already participated in this tournament last year, what memories do you keep?
T.P: My participation in 2018 was aimed by gaining experience and evaluating my level against the best players of my age category.
It remains a very positive experience for me. I was able to reach the final of the consolation draw with some wins over very good players. I could measure the work, I had to do to reach the main draw final.
A.G: I did two very good matches in the main draw. I wanted work hard and progress after it.
Did you feel any particular pressure as a French player here?
T.P: As French players, we are very expected on this tournament and it is quite normal. We must use this national interest to take a maximum of pleasure. Pressure is part of our sport. We need to learn how to handle it.
How is Les Petits As different from other tournaments?
A.G: It is different, because this tournament is the best event you can play. You are sure to compete with the best players from all over the world.
T.P: Les Petits As is the major U14 tournament. The best players in the world come to Tarbes to win it. There’s a lot of medias, the matches are broadcasted online and a lot of spectators come throughout the week. You can compare the atmosphere to the biggest professional ATP tournaments.
What is your goal for this edition?
T.P: Les Petits As tournament is one of my goals this season. Of course, winning the tournament is in my mind. It’s going to be very hard, I will have to fight during every match. A good result would be a great season’s start.
A.G: I have only one goal: to win the tournament.
How do you prepare yourself for Les Petits As?
T.P: This kind of competition is prepared in long term. After the first trimester working on my tennis, I had a very positive tour in Sweden (final in Norrkoping and quarter final in Goteborg). Then I did a training camp in Spain before joining my family for the end of the year holidays. A new camp at the CNE (National Tennis Center) in Paris will follow, and then I will play Bolton just before Les Petits As.
A.G: I don’t have any specific preparation. I aim to progress every day.
Who do you think is the favorite of this edition?
T.P: The generation 2005/2006 is very strong in all nationalities, many players can win. It’s hard to name one more than an other!
A.G: I consider myself as one of the favorites this year. When I enter a tournament, I always want to win it.
Does French player have a chance to win this year?
A.G: Of course!
T.P: French players have nothing to envy to other players. We have to be ambitious.
At what age did you start tennis?
T.P: I held my first racket at 18 months with my father and I started in a club at 3.
A.G: I also started at 3.
What is your favorite surface?
T.P: I’m a multi-surface player, but clay is my favorite.
A.G: I like more hard outdoor.
Who is your favorite player, your idol?
T.P: My favorite player is Roger Federer, he has contributed so much to our sport throughout his career. He’s a great competitor, we can only respect and love him.
A.G: Novak Djokovic. I like to think that my gameplay is close to his.
What kind of player are you?
T.P: I’m a modern offensive style. I like to play smart and patient before to finish at the net.
A.G: I’m a back court offensive player.
Where do you think you will be in ten years?
T.P: In ten years, I hope to win Grand Slams and Davis Cup. Wearing the French emblem is an honor and a pride to me. Representing France at the Olympic Games remains one of my sport objectives.
A.G: I hope I would be playing Grand Slams in ten years.
You have joined the program “Petits Crocos” by Lacoste and Tecnifibre, can you tell us more about it?
T.P: Tecnifibre is with me since I have started tennis. Thanks to them, this year I have joined the program “Petits Crocos”. The idea is to create an international team of very talented players between 10 and 15 years old.
Tecnifibre sets up meetings and training camps to help us to progress and reach the highest level.
In addition, we can always get some advices from Arnaud Di Pasquale, our godfather. Being an ambassador of these two prestigious brands is a great privilege for me.
A.G: I’m happy to joing French brands. Tecnifibre and Lacoste are providing a real follow up and an individual support.
Interview recorded on 27/12/2018