“Having a colony of supporters is amazing!”

Aurélien CANOT, Media365, published on Thursday 26 May 2022 at 08:53

For the second time in his life at Roland-Garros, basketball player Evan Fournier had the honor of hosting the first evening session of the We Are Tennis Fan Academy, a fan academy established by BNP Paribas in 2015, which celebrates its impressive return to the Porte d’Auteuil stands after two years of absence. . The French Knicks full-back brings us back to that experience and what the fans are to him. The France international, the silver medalist with the Blues in Tokyo, also talks about the looming Euro and looks back on his team’s lost season in the NBA.

Yvan Fournier, Monday evening you had the honor of opening the wonderful return of the We Are Tennis Fan Academy’s evening sessions as the first player of the week. How did you live this experience?At first, the fans made me a little uncomfortable chanting my name (laughs…). And most seriously, it’s full of humor and it’s really cool to see people again in the stands! In France, we lack a bit of enthusiasm, and it’s good to see people who are very invested. When you’re on the playing field, the more energy on the ballpark, the more you push yourself to perform. You exercise for it: to experience the wonderful moments and to experience the beautiful feelings.

Especially since tennis is a somewhat sterile sport. So it’s better to have a group of fans refreshing the stadium?This is ! Especially since tennis is very interesting from a mental point of view, as long as the other one did not score the match point, you can always win. In that, it differs from many other sports. To have an academy of fans like We Are Tennis Fan Academy that keeps the match live until the last point is incredible. Being with them in the stands was a great experience.

Especially since in this first session, I had the pleasure of attending the match of world number one Novak Djokovic (against Japan’s Nishioka). What inspires you about this player?
He’s my favorite player. I started watching tennis with my grandfather when I was young, he was a big fan of Federer. But when Djokovic got into the ring, I immediately liked his Serbian mentality… He’s a fighter and a warrior. As an athlete, I like this type of player with personality. I don’t know him personally, and I’ve never met him either, but when you see him on TV, you feel that he has desire and determination. He is a great professional who deserves a lot of respect.

Have you been to Roland-Garros?
This is the second time I’ve come. I came when I was 14 years old. At that time, the women’s final match was with the Russian Sharapova. I was there to meet some basketball agents. I stayed ten minutes, it’s not a very great memory.

Are you a tennis fan?
Loved. After that, it is difficult to continue. Like everyone else, I follow the Grand Slam tournaments from afar. And like everyone else, when there’s a big game, I sit in front of the TV and enjoy the show.

“Olympiacos has the best fans in Europe”

WATFA is always there for Joe pic.twitter.com/dC1i4whTxa

WeAreTennisFR May 24, 2022

What do you particularly like about this sport?
I really like the psychological aspect of tennis. The fact that it never ends and that you still have a chance as long as you don’t lose. It is an individual sport, but without physical contact. It’s really very mental.

Monday evening you took your place in the hearts of supporters. Do instinctive fans come up with memories?
Yes, I remember a match in Lille in 2015 with the France national team, for the Euros in France. The football field has been moved to a basketball hall. The atmosphere was really exceptional and seeing the whole room in blue, white and red was great.

Are NBA fans special fans?
It all depends on the team they support. I play today in New York. New York fans are known to be very strong and that it is growing very hard. Personally, I am an audience that I adore because they are knowledgeable and loyal fans of their team. If you play well, they encourage you, and if you play poorly, on the contrary, they will let you know. I think they are fair in their judgment.

Are there rooms in which you prefer to play, and vice versa, where you are afraid to go?
I love playing in New York, and I also love playing in San Francisco where you play in Golden State. I don’t really like going into rooms as there is a little less atmosphere. This depends on the current form of the franchise.

You said recently that if you were to go back to Europe, you would be at Olympiacos. Mainly for the audience?
Yes, that is clearly why. I was in the Euroleague 4 final in Belgrade recently. They were 12,000 in the room. Their team lost in the semi-finals and they are still energizing the stands in the final. This is what makes me say that this club is legendary and has the best fans in Europe.

“New York is better than I imagined!”

Have supporters managed to destabilize you before?
No, never, honestly. I’ve never been one to notice that. I’ve always been focused on my performance. Then, sometimes they have an effect because he’s pushing so hard into the room that you don’t even hear your teammates talking to you. And it’s true that it can be a little destabilizing because you’re not on the same wavelength. After that, there was no real intimidation of mine.

This season, with New York, she started very strong, without being able to qualify. Is this absence in play a huge disappointment in your eyes?
Yes, of course, it is a huge disappointment. Now he is behind us. We will have to make the right choices this summer on the free agency, sign players and improve above all else. Because I’m still convinced that we can do something very powerful with this team. We’ll see how the summer goes.

You dream of living and playing in New York. Was life up to your expectations?
Yes, life in New York is truly exceptional! To be honest, it’s better than I could have imagined. I would really like to play there for as long as possible.

You find yourself in the role of a bowler at the end of the line, and it is not at all easy to understand who you like the ball. Are you still satisfied with your season from a personal point of view?
I am not disappointed. It took me a long time to really understand how to play the best with what is entrusted to me. And once I found the rhythm, I had a really interesting part of the season. In the end, it turned out well for me. Plus, I managed to break some records on the way, so that was pretty cool. I will have to continue to advance in the role assigned to me. I don’t regret at all because I put my bags in New York. It’s part of the sporting challenge, not everything can always go the way you want it to. We will have to be persistent and keep working.

Do you feel like you are becoming a more complete player, with a different profile than the one you had before you came to New York?
Yes exactly. It’s really about doing something I’ve never done before and discovering something new. Inevitably, that allowed me to improve as a player because it brings something new to my game, and then, in the France team, I will have a different role. I have to do the transfer hoping it will be effective. I have no doubts about it, this new role should help me this summer as I become more complete as a player.

“I look forward to seeing us again to lift the trophy”

You are a new player, are you also a mentally stronger player than before?
I don’t know if I passed a course mentally. It’s really hard to quantify. I can only say that the new challenges presented themselves and that I had to find a solution to respond to them. I would say it was a new experience and you necessarily learn from any new experience.

Already this summer, the euro is waiting for you. The Blues must now compose without Nando de Colo and Nicolas Batum. Do you still feel that this team is armed to do great things?
Yes sure. We have a team with a lot of very talented and talented players, so we have all the weapons on hand so we can have a very big competition. I am very confident in our group and we will try to keep moving forward together.

Is Tokyo’s disappointment digested?
(Close) Yes, of course. It was a year ago, it’s late.

Once again, you missed the title in these games. The Euro will be a chance for you to finally reach the top. This should be close to your heart, maybe more than ever?
Yes, that’s it, that’s the point. The defeat to the United States in the final of the Games motivated us all, and we are all looking forward to seeing each other again so we can finally lift the trophy together.

Victor Wimpanyama, the polished diamond of the new generation, could be there. What inspires you to appear?
I haven’t actually seen him play, I’ve only seen the highlights on the internet, so this question is hard to answer. But I think it will be called this summer. I don’t know if he will be in the final set but I think we will have a chance to see him and rub shoulders with him. We’ll see what comes of it.

The world’s first school for tennis fans, We Are Tennis Fan Academy, founded in 2015 by BNP Paribas and directed by John McEnroe, returns this year in Roland-Garros after a two-year absence due to the pandemic. from Covid-19. Aiming to inject new energy into the heart of the stands by making the audience more passionate, enthusiastic and united, this academy invites more than 500 fans in two weeks, and is responsible for hosting ten evening sessions of the tournament. But that’s not all: To add to the drunken moment of the moment, various characters known for their ability to set the mood will join their respective fans and share these nightly sessions. Evan Fournier, promoted to the first Ambien for one night, started the week on Monday. He will be followed by Koh Lanta’s Claude Dartua (Wednesday), Lekimar (Saturday), Cartmann (Sunday), Chloe Joinet (Monday, May 30th), Nino Ariel, Jerome Neil (Tuesday, May 31st) and finally Estelle Denis on Wednesday, June 1st. In addition, every evening a group of ten DJs with international influence will join the party by taking their places on turntables to set fire to the main court before the players arrive.

Leave a Comment