Vacant since the departure of Sébastien Grosjean on October 23, the position of Davis Cup captain was quick to find a taker. Very popular with former players due, in particular, to a stimulating Olympic mission, the function was finally entrusted to Paul-Henri Mathieu, Friday November 17.
The old 12e world player (ranking reached in April 2008) was one of the fourteen former players approached by Gilles Moretton, president of the French tennis federation (FFT), to succeed Sébastien Grosjean. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gilles Simon, Marion Bartoli, Yannick Noah and Amélie Mauresmo had also been contacted. This recruitment procedure was unprecedented, because it is usually the national technical director who proposes the name of the new captain.
What does it matter for Paul-Henri Mathieu, who is therefore the one who most convinced Gilles Moretton. In addition to this Davis Cup captaincy, the 41-year-old former tennis player will have the difficult task of leading the men’s delegation to the Paris Olympic Games (from July 26 to August 11, 2024). For this dual mission, he should, according to information from The Teamreceive 200,000 euros per year from the FFT.
“It wasn’t a goal when I retired in 2017, but it became one afterward, explained Paul-Henri Mathieu at a press conference. I am proud to have been chosen over all these candidates who had applied. I have been working within the federation for two years and I have a lot of links with French tennis players on the circuit. There is talent. I really hope that we will get a medal in Paris 2024. I think I have the abilities to occupy this position, otherwise I would never have accepted it. »
The Davis Cup has lost a lot of attractiveness
The Strasbourg resident recovers a position that has become less prestigious in recent years. Since the International Federation changed the formula and format of the historic event in 2018, the Davis Cup has lost a lot of attractiveness, among players and supporters alike. They particularly regret that these meetings are no longer played in one of the two countries facing each other, with an often heated atmosphere. The high ticket prices for the new Davis Cup did not help fill the stands in recent editions either.
Sébastien Grosjean, at the helm of the French men’s team since 2019, left his post to coach the young Frenchman Arthur Fils (19 years old), 36e world player. Furthermore, since July, Grosjean had been at odds with the FFT and could no longer select his players himself due to “identified conflicts of interest”,The former world No. 4 being co-founder and shareholder of a management agency which notably represents the interests of Richard Gasquet and Arthur Fils.