The Musketeers by Michaël Llodra at the Primrose tennis tournament

The poster will have the taste of childhood for him. It was on November 30, 1991 in Lyon. In the Davis Cup final, the double tricolor had beaten the Olympic champions of the specialty, the Americans Ken Flach and Robert Seguso …

The poster will have the taste of childhood for him. It was on November 30, 1991 in Lyon. In the Davis Cup final, the tricolor double had beaten the Olympic champions of the specialty, the Americans Ken Flach and Robert Seguso, winners of three Grand Slams. The next day, Guy Forget brought the final point against Pete Sampras, giving it to Yannick Noah for a farandola to the sound of “Saga Africa”. It had been fifty-nine years since France had raised the silver bowl. The birth of a vocation.

He looks like a football player

Little Michael was 11 years old. The son of a former Paris Saint-Germain midfielder, Michel, he started playing tennis at the age of 6 at the Yvelines in Port-Marly. Ranked 15/5 five years later, he had lived this mythical Saturday with his friends from TC Paris, in the club’s TV room. On Friday, school forced, he had lost the first game, but at the end of the class he had seen the end of the unthinkable feat achieved by Henri Leconte, who had surgery on his back the previous summer, against Pete Sampras (6-4 , 7-5, 6-4). “It hit me hard,” says the 21-year-oldi world in singles and number 3 of the ATP in doubles. It made me want to be a champion. »

Sponsor of the 2022 edition of BNP Paribas Primrose, he and Leconte have several things in common. Left-wingers and supporters of the reverse with one hand, both had in their game a part of the claimed “madness”. Not in vain, there is a blow, in his great, that Llodra puts above all, “his volley of reverse detached”. It was his signature. “Mika” admits that she sometimes tried to imitate him: “On the circuit, as soon as there was a high ball, I jumped and boomed! »

“Emotionally, it’s always been hard for me to play against friends”

The adoptive Bordeaux man and his “youth idol” have found another similarity: “We have a random right. Our outlet is very closed. As a result, these are balls that go very quickly flat. Because they are poorly covered, sometimes when they do not have the right sensations, they tend to come out long. When you like to attack tennis, you forgive everything.

The meaning of friendship

Michaël Llodra also wants to pay tribute to Guy Forget, whom he has always been very close to. “He selected me for ten years in a row in the Davis Cup,” he recalls. Not only did he stay on the team, but he lined up on the court every game. A unique series. He is deeply grateful to you.

Another Davis Cup ex-captain will complete this friendly cast. This is Arnaud Clément, with whom he won Wimbledon in 2007, “the consecration of two friends”. The Aixois had taken over from Fabrice Santoro, who was crowned at his side at the Australian Open in 2003 and 2004. Another statistic tells us about his personality. Llodra has a sense of friendship. In singles, against his two usual partners, the balance of victories is not in his favor. “Emotionally, it’s always been hard for me to play against friends,” he admits.

paper airplanes

If we had to choose one season, it would be 2010, marked, of course, by the defeat in the Davis Cup final in Belgrade against Serbia, but also by his feat in Bercy against Novak Djokovic (then 3).i world), with two solo titles, in Marseille and Eastbourne, with a final in the BNP Paribas Primrose against Richard Gasquet.

Although it was a defeat, another party played an important role. At the age of 20, Michaël Llodra was about to make a sensation in Toronto against Pete Sampras (2i world at the time), who had just won his thirteenth Grand Slam at Wimbledon. Result: 7-5, 2-6, 6-7. Surprised to see how such a young player found his accomplishment in service and volleyball, the American had encouraged him on this path. “It gave me crazy confidence.”

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