Gilles Moretton: “City of Agde invested in tennis and they were right!”

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The president of the French Tennis Federation, a former professional player, was in Agde on Tuesday (March 15th) as part of the club tour of France. He appreciated CIT’s new infrastructures.

After years of wandering around the international tennis center (CIT) in Cap d’Agde, a new dynamic has prevailed. You came to see this.

I came here to play with Pierre Barthes, but also for the National Tennis Cup. For any tennis player, this is a symbolic place. It has a past, but above all, it has a bright future. The city invested in tennis and it was right to do so!

This is an opportunity for you to enjoy ideal or near-ideal preparation conditions…

Thirty tennis courts by the sea, it must be said that this is not common. There’s everything here, especially the geographic location, which means you can play outside in good conditions most of the year. Pierre Barthes, who left his mark on the history of tennis in France, won this bet. The story continues and develops with a new model, Charles Auffray’s French Touch Academy and the federation’s will to make an agreement with the city of Agde. That’s the reward for everything done here in the name of tennis.

Is this partnership between public players like the city of Agde or the French Tennis Federation and private players like the French Touch Academy the future?

As the head of the FFT, on the contrary, it does not bother me at all. Money should no longer be a taboo like it used to be. We need the private sector, academies, projects. Together we will sign an agreement at all levels here (at Cap d’Agde in April, perhaps with a second media signature during Roland-Garros, editor’s note): training of managers, training of young people, the important tournament of the future.

The practice of tennis has experienced some blowholes in recent years. What about today?

I came to the federation presidency a little over a year ago with a complicated situation. We were losing licenses since 2010, our financial health was not very good with covid, sports results were also very positive, but I was very positive about the future. I see a resurgence of interest in tennis, and that includes pancake padel and beach tennis. We have been “one product” for a long time, we have managed to diversify our offer. We survived the covid crisis with +15% of licensees (they number around a million, editor’s note), which is rare compared to other sports federations, we put 600,000 tickets on sale at Roland-Garros, passed 450 000 in a few days gap.

“Encouraging about our action”

As Agde mayor Gilles D’Ettore pulled back with a long-scheduled meeting at the DDTM, it was Yannick Hivin, Agde city services general manager, who greeted Gilles Moretton with Yannick Martinez on Tuesday morning. The director of the CIT is with him. This sports enthusiast clearly appreciated the visit of the head of the FFT.

“Our action is encouraging in terms of the investments we are making and what we want to do in the future.” According to him, the deal that would also link City to the federation through the Occitanie league and department committee would allow. “To position CIT as one of the key partners of “Fédé” in the context of its development.”

On the occasion of Gilles Moretton’s visit, we learned that the FFT bought the National Tennis Cup, which is finalized in Cap d’Agde every autumn.