Learning continues for Mathilde Ngijol-Carré, 14, a great hope for French tennis

A dry defeat in 1:05 of play. Mathilde Ngijol-Carré’s race ended on track 6 in the second round of the Roland-Garros junior draw on Tuesday 31 May. LNo. 13 seed Czech Nikola Bartunkova, a year and a half older than her (16 vs. 14), won by a wide margin (6-2, 6-2).

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The Frenchwoman showed almost no signs of frustration, except for this furious right-hander after the announcement of one last free kick. Despite his young age, his entourage assures him: the teenager shows great maturity. “Mathilde is a quiet force. She is calm, composed but knows exactly where she is going. sums up Alexandre Danion, his agent. It can look very quiet on a track. In fact, he has an incredible determination. It’s just that she doesn’t show it like the others are shouting or playing with the audience. “

The words of the person concerned confirm this description. At the end of the game, Mathilde Ngijol-Carré looked to be heading one way when he unexpectedly passed the ball back to. “I played much better than Monday. I let go of my shots more. But I gave her too many free points, without her even pushing me to make mistakes. I have to keep working to find stability and regularity. said the winner of the Petits As tournament in September 2021. This is the first time since 1984 that a French woman has won this unofficial world championship for under-14s. It happens remarkably to champions like Martina Hingis, Kim Clijsters, Jelena Ostapenko and Bianca Andreescu.

Invited by Roland-Garros for the second year in a row, Mathilde Ngijol-Carré won the first round against another. “wildcard”, the Brazilian Olivia Carneiro (6-3, 7-5), her first victory in Porte d’Auteuil. Now it was time for self-criticism. “It was a great pleasure to win here, but I played a very bad game, she regretted it. I left because I think I was better than her. The atmosphere was amazing, the audience gave me a standing ovation, but I was ashamed of my level of play. “

Hope of French tennis, the slender player, niece of comedian Thomas Ngijol, is distinguished by a course that is built away from the federal bosom, unlike many young shoots. Her parents proposed a new system for her daughter after the French Tennis Federation assigned her three different coaches in one year, during her 13th year. Thus, the hopeful tricolor flew to Spain in August 2021 to settle in the BTT, an academy in Barcelona co-founded by Francisco Roig, one of the members of Rafael Nadal’s staff.

“They wondered if it wasn’t time to see something else. The BTT academy may be less sexy than Rafael Nadal or Patrick Mouratoglou, but we also work hard on it, with a real Spanish culture.” remembers Alexander Danion. That experience made him grow and evolve. “

“In France I got a little stuck. The federation is one of the options, but it’s not the only one. I wanted to try the international.”

Mathilde Ngijol-Carré, French tennis player

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“We considered the United States, but it was far from familyFrancilienne recalls. In Spain I can train every day outside, and the conditions are ideal because I like to play on clay ”.

Hosted by a host family, she juggles three languages: French, especially for her distance learning courses, English on the slopes, and Spanish, which she “to understand” but not yet mastered. away from family, Mathilde Ngijol-Carre he says he had won “mature” on a personal level and on a solid level on a physical level, thanks to longer and more intense workouts. “The Spanish mentality is positive. We try to push you, make you strive. There is a lot of repetition. Training outside, I get used to playing whatever the wind or the sun.” she illustrates.

Off the track, the champion has signed new collaborations, and is becoming familiar with the exchanges with the media, an obligation for any player on the circuit. She already shines in this exercise, showing ease in front of a microphone or a camera. “He discovered the media’s requests to Les Petits As. At the end of the week, he even admitted that he was grateful. slide your agent. It was a good test to live before tournaments like Roland-Garros. ”

According to Alexandre Danion, Mathilde Ngijol-Carré is not overtaken by prestigious victories. “He gained confidence and not negative pressure. Thanks to his parents, he has his feet on the ground. He knows very well that he is very far from having arrived.”he says.

With her Little Ace boost, Mathilde Ngijol-Carré also followed up the next month with two titles in level 4 junior tournaments (the weakest), enough to score important points. However, a series of injuries – to the wrist and then to the abs – slowed his progress. “I started serving again in training just a week before Roland-Garros. I didn’t have the preparation of my dreams, so neither was the result of my dreams here.” summed up the 140th player in the junior world rankings.

The teenager now has his eyes fixed on the sequel. If your body allows it, expect to line up in a series of junior tournaments to climb the hierarchy and then knock on the door of the professional circuit. He intends to enter the table of the next Roland-Garros juniors thanks to his classification, and as head of series.

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