There were only 2,600 in the stands of a somewhat scattered Palais de Sports de Pau this Friday afternoon… but not one will tell you that they did not enjoy themselves. Not even the two-three Ecuadorian supporters crossed, despite the defeats of their players against the French during this first day of the Davis Cup play-off. The important thing was elsewhere. That of rediscovering the true atmosphere of this historic competition. “Frankly, it’s just a great pleasure to be there,” says Thierry with his Euro 2000 football shirt. And he’s not the only one to have brought out the colors of his country.
It must be said that the last time was more than three years ago in November 2018.
“We were waiting for this with such impatience, admits Véronique in blue, white, red from head to toe. Even if it is not yet ideal, it is already better. We see tennis, we see the France team. In addition, there we are a bit in the historic version of the Davis Cup and which we liked a lot more. »
With her sister Isabelle and her friend Anne, she has been following Les Bleus for more than ten years within Aseft (the supporters’ club of the French Davis Cup and Fed Cup Tennis teams). And to put it politely, they don’t like Gérard Piqué and his company Kosmos very much, the new owners.
“Have you seen the atmosphere compared to what we have seen since 2019? »
“We are so sad to see what the Davis Cup has become. It’s really a pity. It’s all the more unfortunate that even their new format, they are in the process of adapting it and they are coming back more and more to what was done before. So having destroyed something that worked for something very ugly like that, it’s a shame, ”Isabelle gets annoyed. For Anne, it is “very annoying to see that it is money and interest that have prevailed” in this story. Precisely, a check for three billion euros to afford the Davis Cup for the next 25 years. Moreover, like other sports competitions today, we say the Davis Cup by Rakuten, from the name of the Japanese brand.
“Me, it annoys me, outbids Thomas, barely 18 years old. Have you seen the atmosphere compared to what we’ve seen since 2019? There are ten worlds apart! And yet, it’s not the meeting of the century against Ecuador and without the big names in French tennis apart from perhaps Mannarino. Despite everything, we saw two good matches and the difference in ranking was not that much felt because it’s the real Davis Cup, it’s sublime. The French number 1 even had to fight three sets against the 381st in the world. Yes because we must not push the plug too far, if this barrage is disputed over two days in the best of five matches, the return of the matches in five sets is not for tomorrow.
A moment always apart for the players
But as Jean-Luc would say, coming from Limoges to see this France-Ecuador, “we are not going to ask too much”. “The atmosphere is there. We are super happy and I think the players too. They are watching us and it is surely important for them that we are there”, insists Isabelle. So what do the main stakeholders think about it?
“It was just awesome. Me, I loved it. It’s all I love. When you see the flags, all the people dressed in blue, white and red, it’s really amazing. Again I didn’t play my best tennis, it wasn’t perfect. But such an atmosphere makes you want to give it your all,” says Arthur Rinderknech.
Adrian Mannarino has already experienced a few others but “it’s still special because there are a lot of noises in the stands, in terms of concentration it’s not always easy to manage, especially since we want to do well make “. This pressure, Sébastien Grosjean may have felt it a little less from his chair, he who “sees only positives” in this and who admits: “We like this atmosphere! No one will come to contradict him.