While the coaches Pablo Ayma, Robin Haziza and Benjamin Tison work to constitute the list of eight players and eight players who will represent the French team in 2024, the former French number 1 shares his thoughts on the selection process. It addresses the essential criteria, highlights the importance of commitment and professionalism, and discusses its essentials.

The essentials for the French team

There are essentials for both men and women. I'm not going to lie: Alix Collombon, apart from injury, is certain to be in the French team. It would be lying to people not to say it. We are transparent with the players, today, after the French team training course, everyone knows who has a good chance of being there, who has a less chance of being there and who is still in the game because it's not over, there are tournaments left and we have to give the list to the FIP only on June 25. We still have time and not all places have been assigned. The players are aware of this.

Alix COLLOMBON

Léa Godallier, unless she's out of shape given her motherhood, and I don't think that's the case because I saw her at the training and she was already at an interesting level, even if she was far from his level that we know, which is exceptional. We're talking about a top player. Of course one Carla Toully, which has just entered the top 100, should be part of the list for the European Championships excluding major earthquakes. Jess Ginier, who has experience, who plays well and is more invested than in the past in tournaments, also leaves with a head start.

Among men, there is Thomas Leygue et Bastien Blanqué, who are reigning French Champions, who are ahead in the rankings. Thomas is 103rd today, he was top 100 not long ago and is young. Thomas, apart from an accident, will be in the French team. He is one of our leaders, like Bastien. We saw him at the French team training camp, everyone praises his leadership qualities.

Thomas Leygue

But I want to tell you, look Thomas Vanbauce et Maxime Joris, four months ago, you would have asked me the question, I would have told you, that they cannot be in the French team, they are too far away. Today and in four months, they have had results which make us think of integrating them into the French team. The truth is that the terrain decides all the time. I want to tell you that it is the results that always dictate our decisions. We have no positive or negative a priori.

Adrien Maigret cannot be considered essential, he knows it. He doesn't have the project today to be sure of coming, nor the involvement in terms of tournaments, even if he did 3 or 4 FIPs with Julien Seurin. Max Moreau, for me, he is French number 2, he is almost essential to the French team because he has been in the group for a long time. It would be a big surprise if Max wasn't present. 

Johan Bergeron has experience, he stopped for a year, but he got back in shape, he lost weight, he is sharp as they say, he is back at a very interesting level. I follow his results, he leaves with a head start. Afterwards, the truth on the ground is always important. Today, I want to say that a Dylan Guichard also starts ahead because he is young, because he plays well, because he is paired with Bastien Blanqué at international level. It's a bit like the 100% French pair that works best in terms of pure results. So all this means they are ahead.

Once again, you would have asked me the question four months ago, I would have told you, Thomas, Vanbauce, Maxime, Joris, they are a lot behind, they have potential, they are interesting, but we have to prove . Today they are proving it. Afterwards, I am a very demanding person, they know that they must continue to prove and not just have proven.

The importance of the French team internship

The French team training course is part of the reflection. The results since January are part of the reflection, like the project or the level. There is also a team spirit to find, a balance and we try to take all these parameters into account. What is certain is that we will carry out a complete reflection a little beforehand. We have already started, but to be completely honest, we have not decided on all the places, whether for the men or for the women. 

For me, it's complicated when you don't participate in the course, excluding injury of course, or family problems, or anything last minute. I assume and they know it that for example an Alix Collombon, if tomorrow she tells me that she is not doing the internship when she has no valid reason, however strong she may be, for me, she cannot not be in the French team. Even if it would be shooting us in the foot in the sense that of course without Alix we will be less strong. But I find that it brings professionalism. And Alix is ​​warned, Léa is warned, the guys are warned, there is no free pass on this. That's why everyone was present among the men and women, apart from Tiffany who I spoke to on the phone: we were able to explain and she knows what's going on.

We want to bring more and more professionalism. For the first time in this French team camp, there were training sessions in the morning. It is also to tend precisely towards that. It is an honor for the players to be selected.

The choices are tough. As for the girls, there are no big changes compared to last year, there were no retirements or big stops; but among the men, we still lost Jérémy Scatena who was French number 2 and me, for that matter, French number one. It's a big change.

The parameters taken into account for the selection of players

We are very clear with the players on the investment we expect, on the project. There is also necessarily experience which is taken into account. Today, at the same level as Adrien Maigret, his project will not speak for him, compared to a young person who will arrive with a project, but on the other hand, he has the experience, the fact of having responded, to have won a bronze medal with the French team. All that plays a role, that's why there are all the parameters that come into account and it's not just the state of form over the last two months.

Adrien Maigret

It's great that young people like Thomas Vanbauce and Maxime Joris are pushing and achieving great results, but three months of good results don't erase everything either. Everything comes into account and we were talking earlier about being present at the training courses. Once again, nothing is eliminatory, it is not because a player misses a training course that he or she will no longer be selected for the French team. On the other hand, we can say that they are shooting themselves in the foot to be selected for the competition which arrives just behind the course, that's for sure.

We try to bring rules, professionalism and those who were able to attend the course were able to see the involvement of the players. It’s a guarantee that the message gets across and that it’s important.

There is competition, we must not lie to ourselves, the choices are difficult whether for women or for men. It's up to us to build the best possible team to try to meet the objectives that we have set ourselves which are high and the level is only increasing among the Swedes, Belgians, Italians, Dutch and the Portuguese are still there, so it It's getting harder and harder.

Dorian Massy

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