French wheelchair tennis player Laurent Giammartini says he is looking forward to going to Tokyo next year to take part in the Paralympic Games. In an interview with Sportmag, Giammartini says, "What keeps me going now is to come back to the circuit and see what my results are good.
I thought maybe there was something to do. I resumed competition in 2014. It was from there that I saw, playing progressively, that the results were good. At the end of 2017, at the beginning of 2018, the FFT told me that I had a chance to rejoin the French team and why not go to the Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
Now it's confirmed, I gave my answer. I had to give my answer to the Federation before signing this high-level athlete charter. Because we are also followed by the Ministry of Sports and we have very strict charters to sign.
I still took my time, I thought it through, because I have a family, I am married, I have a child. Everyone gave me the green light. The decision was not made on my own." Giammartini says that since he is married to a Japanese woman, it motivated him, even more, to agree to play in Tokyo where the next Games will be held.
"I am married to a woman who is Japanese. It motivated me and I said to myself why not, for my last Games; they will really be the last because I'm going to be 53 years old. My wife and I will be able to find the whole family, we have a lot of family and friends in Tokyo.
They are only waiting for one thing, to meet me with the French delegation and see me there. I said to myself: you have to go." The 52-year-old Frenchman is currently ranked No. 44 in the ITF rankings but has been a former World No.
1 in 1993. Speaking about qualifying for the Games based on rankings, Giammartini says, "I had to climb up in the world rankings since the International Federation established that we had to be in the World Top 40. If you are below, unfortunately, this is not possible.
I am currently in the '30s so that goes for that side. We play a lot of tournaments to earn points and climb as much as possible in the standings and qualify for the Paralympics. In addition to the International Tennis Federation, there is also the FFT, which also decides to bring 4 players for men and 2 players for women.
The first two are pretty sure to go. And then, it will be played between the 3rd, the 4th and the 5th French. It's pretty tight, I'm 5th French for now, not far from the fourth. Everything will play out there. They also play on the doubles ranking.
We must admit that in singles, it will be very, very hard to win a medal. But we can possibly do something in doubles. The FFT sends four potential medal-winning players, that's why they prefer perhaps a little more, for the last two players to be selected in doubles, to aim for a semi-final, a double bronze medal.
We know very well that the first two French players, who are very strong, will make a medal. It's a certainty. Right now, in the doubles ranking, I'm 19th in the world. I am in the best in doubles and everything will be decided on that.
Then it's up to me too to take a few more points for the singles. The last thing, we know that the deadline will be June 8, 2020. We will know who goes and who does not go."