Thierry Champion

Thierry Champion bigraphy, stories - French tennis player

Thierry Champion : biography

31 August 1966 –

Thierry Champion (born 31 August 1966, in Bagnols-sur-Cèze, Gard) is a former professional tennis player from France.

Tennis career

During his career, Champion reached the quarter-finals at the French Open in 1990 and at Wimbledon in 1991.

A clay court specialist, Champion gained notoriety on the men’s ATP tour as a wild card player with the ability to inflict defeat on seeded players well above his ranking. His play style was characterised by fast court coverage and strong baseline play with measured heavily spun passing shots, particularly from an unorthodox backhand stroke.

His successful run at the 1991 Wimbledon Championships was surprising not only because of his moderate ranking at the time, but due to the relative ease with which he adapted to a grass surface. Few professional players reared on the clay courts of Spain and France could boast similar performances on grass at this time.

Reaching a career-high singles ranking of World No. 44 on the men’s ATP rankings in 1991, subsequent years saw a dwindling career riddled with injury.

Champion is also remembered for being triple bageled in the 2nd round of the 1993 French Open by eventual winner Sergi Bruguera. That was two years after he double breadsticked himself against Pete Sampras.

Champion was the coach of French tennis player Gaël Monfils since September 2004 but they parted company in September 2006. He was also the coach of Hicham Arazi, Nicolas Escudé and Paul-Henri Mathieu. At the 2008 Wimbledon Championships he was seen to be coaching the previous year’s semi-finalist and number 8 seed Richard Gasquet.