Roland Garros. Léolia Jeanjean, an extraordinary career in French tennis

What is a career like? Lots of things, of course. Lots of little things, with a touch of luck, that make some find their way to glory, while others are doomed at night. Léolia Jeanjean should have been part of the shining caste. I was destined for that when I was 12 years old Tennis Magazine he saw in her the “Mozart of tennis.”

So much so that the French Tennis Federation (FFT) decided to cover it up and bet on it. “It was amazing … As soon as we went to a place, it was a fair phenomenon. We had never seen this potential in France. Everyone said it was the future number 1 world »recalls Nicolas Pietrowski, his federal coach at the time.

Classification from -4/6 to 12 years

And here is the rewind of his former protégé’s youth film: “She was ranked – 4/6 at 12! We were in the passing times of a Martina Hingis (who was number 1 in the world at 15). He was born in 1995 and played in an age group where there were Gavrilova, Keys, Svitolina, Putintseva, Robson … A crazy level and he won them! »

READ ALSO. At Roland Garros, a look back on a Tuesday of pure madness

“She smelled like tennis, complete Guillaume Herbach, his sparring partner when he was 12 years old. Tactically, she was super advanced, she understood that very quickly. » Unfortunately, an injury (triple dislocation of the left patella) at the age of 15 stops his death. Two years later, when she can resume, the FFT no longer believes in her and lets her go. “It was pretty complicated, blows the main stakeholder. After this serious injury, my parents told me that it was probably best for me to study. »

Sociology, criminal justice, finance … Jeanjean has touched everything

What he is doing is taking the lead in the United States. There, he follows several courses: “I have done many things that have nothing to do … A degree in sociology, another in criminal justice and a master’s degree in finance. But it’s like my life: it goes a little bit in all directions (River). » Between 2014 and 2019, tennis is on hold, although he played (and won) at the universities he attended.

Then, in 2020, the click. The return to France with the ambition of returning to the WTA circuit. “It simply came to our notice then (return to top level), says Guillaume Herbach, who takes him as coach on his return to France. It was not easy financially for her (played RSA) but it was his ambition. Honestly, I’m not surprised by her career … When you meet her, she plays in the top 100 every day. »

“I have always clung to this hope of playing at the highest level, recounts the 26-year-old player. I took a different path at 18 years old. When I finished my studies I said to myself: get back on track and so much the better if it works, otherwise it’s not too serious, at least I would have done what I wanted. »

Goal of the top 100

So she seriously resumed training in January 2021. Léolia Jeanjean enrolled at the Stade Tolousain, where she was surrounded by a fitness trainer and a coach. “Getting back to fitness was the hardest part because I was very fat in the United States and I didn’t train much.”, slide “Leo”. At the same time, Thomas Delgado, founder of the Smash It academy in Paris, follows her to tournaments.

The investment is offset by the fact that a year and a half later, thanks to his results in French tournaments (final on the Future of Croissy-Beaubourg, title on that of Calvi), he won his invitation to Roland-Garros through the system of meritocracy implemented by the Federation. A meteoric rise that does not surprise Thomas Delgado excessively: “When we started working together, did we think we would reach that level? Yes. He had it in his racket but what he did, in such a short time, is monstrous. »

READ ALSO. Gilles Simon: “It’s an incredible victory, my most unexpected here”

At the dawn of the friction with Karolina Pliskova, number 8 in the world, Léolia Jeanjean has at least set a date for the future. With this second round, a minimum profit of € 86,000 and € 170 is also ensuredi global site. What to think about next. “The ultimate goal is to enter the top 100” Judge Thomas Delgado. Léolia Jeanjean, has no plans to leave the circuit soon, which took so long to join.

“It’s just my second year, even though I’m 26, she asks. Mentally, it’s like he’s 19 years old. I have less experience than an Elsa Jacquemot (19 years old) who played three times with Roland. I am brand new. I see myself doing this for a while longer. »

Roland Garros. Léolia Jeanjean, an extraordinary career in French tennis

Leave a Comment