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Tennis: Ugo Humbert, the quiet force

He may have a discreet temperament, that does not prevent him from exploding on the ground. Little known to the general public, Ugo Humbert is however the most fit French player of the moment. The last French competitor in the Masters 1000 at Paris-Bercy, he will play his first quarter-final in such a competition against the Canadian Milos Raonic (17th in the world) in the afternoon.

In recent weeks, the 22-year-old Messin, 34th in the world, has been performing a series of performances and surfing on a series of eight straight victories. At the end of October, in Antwerp, he won the second title of his career after Auckland in January and this week he has had a very good run at Bercy. All complemented by two top 10 victories (Daniil Medvedev, then world No. 5, in Hamburg, then No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas in Bercy on Tuesday evening). “It’s great, but it’s not an end in itself. I do not put pressure on the result, I do not have too many expectations on it. I just try to progress, to look for things in myself ”, he confided on Thursday with his usual humility at a press conference following his victory against Marin Cilic (ex No. 3 worldwide, today 43rd).

A constant progression

Eclipsed by the performances of his friend Hugo Gaston at Roland Garros, the lanky left-hander (he is 1m88 for 73 kg) with a devastating service and impressive quality of strike, does not seek notoriety, on the contrary. Little present on social networks, discreet about his personal life, Ugo Humbert is not a big talker confides Cédric Raynaud who trained him for several years at Insep then at CNE (National Training Center). “Money, notoriety, he doesn’t care. He doesn’t play for that, sweeps away his former coach. He likes to be quiet, alone or with his family. But he deserves to be known, he has very good values. “

“To be wise”, «humble», “rigorous”, “Hard worker», “Possessed by the desire to surpass oneself”… Values ​​instilled by his parents who are very present at his side. The Lorrainer does not hesitate to highlight his father, butcher-pork butcher-caterer in Metz and best worker in France, or his mother who accompanied him on the circuit for a few weeks when he stopped his collaboration. with his coach Cyril Brechbül shortly before the US Open.

“Stubborn, like any champion”, Ugo Humbert is today reaping the fruits of what he has sown for several years. Entered the top 100 in 2018, its progress has been constant. Now 34th in the world, he can boast of being the number three French behind Gaël Monfils and Benoît Paire. Last year he had already made an impression on the circuit by reaching the round of 16 at Wimbledon (his best Grand Slam result). If Novak Djokovic had then sharply stopped his momentum, the world number one was full of praise for him seeing him even as “One of the leaders of the next generation”.

Emotional

To achieve such results, the young Frenchman had to show resilience. Often injured during his adolescence due to rapid growth or poorly managed stress, he never gave up and took refuge in music by playing the piano. “For example, he was injured at Insep because he had bad grades in the white bac and that had strained him, remembers Cédric Raynaud. He is very emotional on and off the pitch, but we tried to make him a force ”. Thanks to the support of a psychologist and a mental trainer, the Frenchman learned to trust himself and tame his emotions. A work that he intends to continue alongside Nicolas Copin, his new coach for two weeks.

The Frenchman proved it at Bercy: he is able to string together difficult matches at a very high level. More mature, he now knows how to make a difference on important points. This statistic attests: nine out of eleven tie-breaks won since mid-September. Ugo Humbert is undeniably confident but his room for improvement is still significant. Perfectible at the net, the Habs must further develop their game and their physique if they want to quickly get into the top 20 and go far in Grand Slam. In the meantime, it remains to be seen whether he will be strong enough to overcome Milos Raonic this Friday afternoon and thus climb for the first time in his career in the semi-final of a Masters 1000.

Julie renson miquel

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