21 Jan 2018

Gaston enjoying 13-match winning streak

News Article

By Sandra Harwitt

Photo: Martin SidorjakHugo Gaston (FRA)

Confidence breeds success as French teen Hugo Gaston is starting to find out.

The 17-year-old from Toulouse, France, improved his winning streak to 13-matches after defeating India's Siddhant Banthia 62 60 in the first round of the junior boys’ singles at the Australian Open on Sunday.

Gaston started his winning streak at the last tournament of 2017, scoring the prestigious Grade A Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships title in South Florida in December.

He began his 2018 season last week, winning the Traralgon International Junior tournament, the tuneup event to the Australian Open junior competition. He captured the final at Traralgon with the loss of only two games - a 61 61 win over Aidan McHugh of Great Britain.

On Sunday, Gaston saved all three break points he faced in his 45 minute match against Banthia, and took advantage of five of 11 break points opportunities that the Indian teen offered. Gaston posted 22 winners to just five for Banthia in the match.

Gaston learned to play tennis at age two at the tennis club where his father was the president. Everyone in the family - mum, dad and older brother, Anthony, work in the business end of Airbus, the company that builds planes.

This is his first time playing at the Australian Open and his win against Banthia marks his first win at a Grand Slam. In 2017, his first year playing junior slams, he lost in the first round at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, and only played the doubles at the US Open. His best previous Junior Grand Slam result came in the doubles when he reached the Wimbledon round-of-16 last year.

Gaston is in Melbourne with his coach, Marc Barbier, and has a second coach at home, Yannick Thivant.

The world according to Hugo Gaston

Tell us why you think you’re playing so well now?

Hugo Gaston: Right now my tennis is very good. I feel happy in the court. I’m very happy to be playing like that. Now it’s all good so I want to continue like that. I’m very happy to win my first match here. It’s not easy to play after just winning a tournament. For sure, the Orange Bowl give me confidence. Before then I lost in many first rounds. And after this tournament, I won some matches, and now I won the Orange Bowl and Traralgon.

Do you have a favorite player that you like?

Hugo Gaston: I like Rafa (Nadal) because he’s lefty and I’m lefty, too. And I like his game.

Tell us the three best things about you?

Hugo Gaston: Really? I don’t know. I’m all the time happy. I love the life so that’s good. After that, I don’t know.

Tell us what you would change about yourself if you could change one thing?

Hugo Gaston: (laughing) Maybe my tall (height). Right now, I’m 1.72m. Just a little bit, like 1.85m.

It’s your first trip to Australia. What do you think of the place? And where else have you visited that you really liked?

Hugo Gaston: Yup, it’s my first time. I like this country because the weather is very good to play tennis. (The heat) It’s okay for me because I like when the weather is very good. I don’t mind if it’s hot. I like Paris, Melbourne is very nice and New York, I like it. I like the food and the people are very, very good. I’ve been to the Eiffel Tower and in New York I like Central Park, it’s very nice, very good.

What are your favorite movies or TV shows?

Hugo Gaston: I like Prison Break. It’s not a movie but it’s a show. I really like action. And I like, Fast and Furious.’ I like it for the same (reason), it’s action.

If you could be any celebrity for a day who would you want to be?

Hugo Gaston: (Actor) Will Smith. I don’t know why but I like him. You know, he’s very funny and this is good.

If you could only eat three foods for the rest of your life what would you eat?

Hugo Gaston: Chicken, pasta and chips or french fries.

Would you rather be the most popular kid or the smartest kid on the junior circuit?

Hugo Gaston: Oh no, not popular. I don’t like when all the guys are around me. I like it, but not all the time. I like to be with my people.

If you could talk to your pet what would you ask your pet?

Hugo Gaston: (laughing)I have a cat Kismo. I would ask him if he ever died because cats have nine lives.