The fall Collegiate season is just around the corner and Alabama Roll Tide is introducing its players to the fans, starting with the 19-year-old Frenchman Thibault Cancel. This will be his sophomore season, making a name for himself in 2017, winning 17 matches and earning the 2017 ITA South Region Rookie of the Year award. Thibault talked for the official site about his experience at Capstone and his hopes for the upcoming season:
What inspired you to start playing tennis?SOURCE: Alabama Men’s Tennis Catching Up with the Crimson: Thibault Cancel ALSO READ: Anett Ferenczi-Bako is the new women's head coach at Wagner College
"It was my brother, he played tennis.
I saw him play and I wanted to be like him, so I just decided to start playing." What made you want to come over to the U.S. to play college tennis?
"I wanted to come to the United States because I had other friends who came to the U.S.
and they always told me that it was a great experience for them. They told me that it's a great opportunity for athletes and I wanted that. It was so exciting coming here to do something more in my life, it was one of my dreams to play here." What is the biggest difference between playing in the United States versus playing in France?
"Everything is different.
In tennis you can feel that there is a different culture, for example, players here are more aggressive and go to the net more and there are more hard courts here. In France, there are more clay courts as you can see in the grand slams and I am also more of a grinder in France.
In the U.S., I am more of a guy that likes to come to the net, so it's nice to learn a different style of tennis and learn from a coach that can teach me different things about the game." How far away is France from Tuscaloosa?
"I believe it's about 8,000 miles away." How different are the universities in France, compared to the U.S.?
"Stadiums here I feel like can hold 100,000 people, but in France it's more of like 100 people, everything is little back home.
It's so different it's like another world. It's like I'm in the future here." Had you ever heard of Alabama growing up in France?
"Yes, I've heard of Alabama because I've seen the movie Forrest Gump, but I knew it was a state, but I didn't know about the 'Roll Tide'.
Here it's very famous, but in France no one knows about it. I have an 'A' sticker on my car, people ask me 'What is that' and I say that it's my university." When did you start getting recruited by Alabama and why did you choose to come here?
"Last summer, it was pretty crazy in the beginning because I didn't know about college tennis.
So I looked up the university ranking, and I got in contact with Coach Husack. I had my visit here and just from the visit of the university, I fell in love with the place. I love this place, it's so big, I had to come here." What are your expectations for this upcoming season?
"I think we can have a great team.
Last year was not amazing, but this year I think we have a great opportunity to do something and improve higher in the rankings. For every player on the team, we want to be higher in the rankings, it will be a challenge that motivates us this season." How is this year different for you coming into your second season?
"I'm more comfortable because I've seen how I need to work, I won't be surprised by anything because I've already seen what I need to do.
Last year I was surprised by everything, but this year I know what to do, I know what to expect and now I am anticipating so that's a good thing for me." How have these first couple of weeks back at Alabama been for you?
"It's been busy with everything that we have to do with classes.
I speak another language, so all summer I was speaking French, but now I need to speak English all the time, so it's not easy and it's different. But yeah it's a good transition, I like it here."