One day in February, during the Cherbourg Challenger (Manche), the Frenchman Titouan Droguet (171ᵉ in the world ranking) and the Czech Jakub Mensik (206ᵉ) compete for a place in the main draw. The first won the duel in two short sets (6-3, 6-1) and reached his first final – lost – in a tournament of this category a few days later. Six months have passed and the two men have a new appointment, Wednesday August 30, at the end of the evening (Paris time), this time not in the anonymity of the secondary circuit but under the spotlights of the US Open. At stake: a place in the third round of the last Grand Slam of the season.
Both players had to go through the qualifications of the New York tournament. The 22-year-old from Ile-de-France notably beat the Chilean Cristian Garin (90ᵉ), former 17ᵉ in the world, before creating a surprise in the first round of the big picture. He who had never played a Grand Slam match – or on the main circuit for that matter – overthrew the Italian Lorenzo Musetti (18ᵉ) in five sets (6-3, 0-6, 6-7, 6- 3, 6-2). “It’s hard to put into words, I still have trouble realizing, he explained, Monday, after his victory. Today’s match and the whole week are incredible emotions. It’s the first time I’ve seen this. »
Another proof of its sensational entry into the big leagues, the Habs are sure to leave Flushing Meadows with at least 123,000 dollars (about 112,000 euros), more than all of their earnings since their professional debut in 2018, $119,000.
“He’s a warrior on the ground”
Originally from Villeneuve-Saint-Georges (Val-de-Marne), Titouan Droguet grew up in a family that plays tennis. As a child, he hit his first balls at Saint-Germain-lès-Corbeil (Essonne). Since 2021, he has been training at the French Touch Academy, at Cap d’Agde (Hérault), under the guidance of Yannick Jankovits, a former French professional.
“Before coming, Titouan did not necessarily have the professional framework to express himself and there he found it, tells Eurosport Charles Auffray, the director of the academy. We quickly detected that he had tennis potential and significant ambition. » Among his assets: a versatile game that allows him to be as good in attack as in defense, a speed of movement and a big character. “He’s a warrior on the pitch, he doesn’t give up, that’s probably his main quality”he continues.
Upon his arrival in the south of France, when he was around 600ᵉ in the world, the thin but explosive tall dark man (1.91 m) saw his volume of work increase with “very big days” during the offseason. “But these sessions are designed so that the body does not give up on me, to go through matches and tournaments without physical problems, specifies the player in an interview given at the beginning of the year. This was my main problem before. »
Top 100 goal
This year, after his defeat in the first round of Roland-Garros qualifications against the Italian Andrea Vavassori (163ᵉ), Titouan Droguet continues to play on clay, his favorite surface, and continues the performances with four finals – for a title – consecutive.
The Frenchman therefore arrived in New York without a hard-court preparation tournament but with a lot of confidence. There is no question of talking about a ” stroke of luck “, according to Charles Auffray, who sees there rather “a start” of his ascent to the top 100, a “target achievable by early 2024”.
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In the short term, the Ile-de-France resident has another idea of his “post-US Open”. “I haven’t enjoyed the city yet, but when the tournament is over, we’re going to visit Manhattan, it’ll be nice, he anticipates. I will remember this trip…” Tonight he has the opportunity to make it even more unforgettable.