In the second half of August, three young graduates of the Tennis Club of Pont-l’Abbé will resume their studies in the United States. In France, even if they are excellent in tournaments and are well ranked, the Pont-l’Abbistes dream bigger.
Among them, Grégoire Barety, 21, is leaving for a third year at Philadelphia Temple University, in Pennsylvania. “We are strong, but not good enough. If we want to continue playing at a high level, we have to go to the United States, ”says the sportsman.
“A rhythm to take”
A student at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Léa Karren, 21, in her third year, has been able to adapt to her new environment. “There, they are very competitive. You have to find your place in this world, have character and show your level,” she explains.
At 18, Romain Galès will do his first year at Virginia Commonwealth University. Faced with the statements of his two colleagues, he remains calm. “On the aspect of tennis, I already know the level of the players I will be with. As for the lessons, it will be a rhythm to take, ”he explains.
To reach the American continent, the majority of sports students call on agents, who take care of convincing universities to recruit them. If the two boys went through this, Léa Karren made the negotiations herself, with the help of contacts.
Another view of the yellow ball
It is common to find yourself in university teams, with only foreign players. “There are no Americans on my team,” says Grégoire Barety. “But some teams, conversely, only want American players.” Different country, different method. College tennis is a very competitive sport there, everything works according to the coach. “In many universities, it is the coach who manages the players, you are a pawn”, specifies the tennis player.
For the two students who have already left for the past two years, the pandemic has upset their course. “When I left in August 2020, I only had one girlfriend to play with. The other players stayed home. We lived through the covid semester, ”says Léa Karren. On the side of Grégoire Barety, the period was even more difficult. “I left later, in January 2021. I was quarantined. But once out, from my first training, I injured myself and had to return to France, ”he says.
The player needs an adjustment following his injury and will be able to do an additional year, if he wishes, although he is still hesitant. Currently at a master’s level in business management, she has two years of study left, just like Léa Karren, who sees her future differently. “I like it in the country, I’m in digital communication. I would like to work in sport, ”explains the player.
For Romain Galès who has not yet set foot in his university, he is waiting to see the common core courses available to him to decide.