Despite a disappointing new edition of Roland-Garros for the French representatives, French tennis was smiling again this Saturday. Winner of the junior final, Gabriel Debru succeeds his compatriot Luca Van Assche, crowned last season. A first since 1975 and the victory of Christophe Roger-Vasselin following that of Christophe Casa. Discover five things to know about the 16-year-old French talent.
Already present at the senior qualifications
Before shining in the junior table, the 16-year-old player had rubbed shoulders with qualifying for the main tournament. The opportunity – already – to make an impression. Opposed in the 1st round to his compatriot Arthur Fils (17 years old, 408th in the world), finalist of the junior tournament last year, on May 16, the licensee of the Grenoble tennis club became the youngest player to win a round of qualification in a Grand Slam tournament since Bernard Tomic at the Australian Open in 2008.
The Isérois had demonstrated his strength of character by overthrowing his opponent after being led by a set and 5-1 in the second set, saving two match points in the process (6-7, 7-5, 5-3 retirement ). Beaten in the second qualifying round by the Slovenian Norbert Gombos, 111th player in the world, in two sets (6-4, 7-6 ), Debru made an appointment for the future.
Ranked at the ATP since he was 15 years old
The young French talent is a regular at precocity records. A few months ago, he had already been talked about on the secondary circuit. On November 9, 2021, then aged 15 years and 10 months, he won against the Italian Andréa Pellegrino, 220th, in three sets (4-6, 6-2, 6-3) in the first round of the Challenger from Roane. A rare performance which made the Iserois the fourth youngest player of the century to complete a round in a tournament of this category.
With this victory, Gabriel Debru does better than certain references on the circuit in terms of earliness. Richard Gasquet had waited until he was 16 before winning a Challenger match. The Spanish nugget Carlos Alcaraz, she was 15 years and 11 months old in Alicante in April 2019.
Leader of the new French generation
A victory which allowed him to integrate the ATP ranking. At 16 years and five months, the right-hander is already in 780th place. But the protege of Stéphane Huet, the former coach of Fiona Ferro, does not skip the stages. He continues to harden most of the time on the junior circuit, reserved for players under 18.
A category where the Frenchman shows his great potential with four titles in 2021 (including two in category 1) and several semi-finals. Ranked 15th, he is the best French representative and therefore the embodiment of the new blue generation.
From beginnings to 5 years
A light ascent for the Isérois. He already has many years of tennis behind him since he hit his first balls at the age of 5 to follow in the footsteps of his big brother Mathis (19), also a tennis player (186th junior in October 2020) . A family environment essential in the balance of the slender player, who rises to more than one meter ninety.
“I put myself in a bubble, you have to know how to protect yourself because if you listen to everything that is said, you can quickly get lost. I am very focused on my training, my tournaments and I know that my family allows me to rest my mind after the matches. »
A powerful and complete style
Invited by the French Tennis Federation (FFT), Gabriel Debru relies on qualities that are already well identifiable. The Frenchman has a cannon service regularly exceeding 200 km / h. A weapon that he associates with an overpowered curved forehand.
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The player of the 2005 generation is also distinguished by a rare game intelligence for his age. Equally comfortable with his two-handed backhand, he doesn’t hesitate to step up to the net to finish the points on the fly. A wide range that offers multiple and promising development prospects.