After a tour on clay in Challengers, the Stadiste, 106th in the world, chose Balma, in the doubles event this Friday, to prepare for the end of the season on hard.
“Yes, it feels good to come home for a bit. »Austria (final lost), Poland (1st round), Portugal (two halves), Spain (final lost) and Italy (1st round). This was Hugo Gaston’s European “road trip” (21), which began on September 6, on the Challenger circuit (2nd division of pro tennis). A tour exclusively on clay punctuated with a 106th place in the world since Monday (he was 118th on September 13), so far his best ranking.
This week, his presence only in doubles at the Toulouse-Balma International (ITF circuit, or the 3rd division) could surprise some. But for the Stade Toulousain player, the choice is well thought out. “The tour on earth was intense. I am satisfied with the progress of my game and on the physical level all the lights are green. Of course, it’s a shame to have lost these two finals in particular. Still, I know my game is up. In view of the end of the season on hard indoors, I decided to line up with Balma to start my preparation on this surface. The double serves me as training. And above all, I know the Balma League Center by heart because I have been training for a very long time, ”explains Marc Barbier’s protégé.
“We are first and foremost friends”
In singles, Hugo has never gone beyond the first round of the Haut-Garonnais tournament (defeat in the “qualifiers” in 2016, then in the main draw during the following two years). But today, associated with his club partner Axel Garcian (19, beneficiary of an invitation in singles and expected this Friday noon in quarters), he could win a place in the final. For this, in a 100% tricolor poster, the stadist pair will have to get rid of the Arthur Fils / Giovanni Mpetshi-Perricard duo. “This is the first time that I have teamed up with Axel on the international circuit. We are first and foremost friends. Obviously, in our first match, we had to take our marks. But the fact of getting along well off the field makes it a bit easier to be complementary in this event, ”said Hugo.
Whatever his result just now, his program is practically recorded by the end of the year: “Next week, I challenge the Brest Challenger. For the rest, I made a request for an invitation to the Masters 1000 de Bercy. Then, I’ll move on with the Bratislava Challenger. The objective is to integrate the top 100 to enter the final table of the Australian Open. “Let’s keep our fingers crossed.