Photo: Stuart BarracloughMathilde and Marie-Eve Hoarau (FRA)
The Italian women’s doubles players may have gone through the ITF Beach Tennis World Team Championship feeling invincible, but they would be the first to admit that the pairing which gave them the most trouble were France’s Hoarau twins, Mathilde and Marie-Eve, in the second round.
Even losing to such accomplished players as Federica Bacchetta and Sofia Cimatti did not sit comfortably with the sisters from Reunion Island. They came off the court knowing that they could have done better, even though their 61 76(5) defeat was certainly no disgrace.
Afterwards, they stood side by side for several minutes, adopting identical poses, as each re-ran in their mind where they thought they had gone wrong. Such a competitive spirit augurs well for France in beach tennis.
“The Italian pair played very good, but I think we can do another resolution because we are strong, we are twins and we can progress and we can win,” said Marie-Eve. “Here, here”, one could almost hear the Bryan twins saying.
Being twins, their understanding, of course, is instinctive and when they come together between points for the usual brief tete-a-tete it’s invariably shorter than other pairs; it is as though each knows what the other is thinking before a word is spoken.
Being twins, one would expect that they discovered beach tennis at exactly the same time but in fact Mathilde was the first to play the sport. “I think it’s four years ago, I tried first because one of my friends said, ‘Come on, it’s a very good sport, you must try’ and I said to my sister ‘Come on, let’s try and have fun with beach tennis’ and we tried and we liked it a lot,” said Mathilde.
Both were decent tennis players but now beach tennis has their full attention. “I love the sand,” said Marie-Eve, “I want to fall in it, I like it, I like it."