“Gio the Giant” is growing fast on the Challenger Tour | ATP Tour

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Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard is a tennis junkie. Not only is the 19-year-old celebrating early success on the ATP Challenger Tour, he also manages to keep watch on his close friends, such as: Arthur Filson Challenger TV.

In all his matches, training sessions, workouts, travels and the smallest details that make up the life of a professional tennis player, the Frenchman is a true supporter of his friends.

This week at the Helsinki Challenger, he didn’t have to go online to watch fils. He was over the net for a first round qualifier.

“I try to watch every single Arthur game on Challenger TV,” Mpetshi Perricard told ATPTour.com.

In 2021, “Gio” got his first break when he teamed up with Fils to win the Roland Garros Boys doubles title. That same week, Fils beat him in the boys’ singles semifinals en route to second place (l. Van Assche). In Finland, the roles were reversed as Mpetshi Perricard qualified for the Helsinki Challenger peloton. The #NextGenATP French hope to join their country’s next generation of top professionals.

“It was nice to win the boys’ doubles title with my friend at home,” said Mpetshi Perricard. “Now when I see the results of Arthur and other people Gabriel Debru, we push each other in a good way. When we’re back in training [French Tennis] Federation, there is a good atmosphere together.”

The Lyon native, who has competed in only eight Challenger events in his career, is already learning valuable lessons through the ups and downs of the professional circuit. A major learning curve came after a tough loss in May.

“I lost qualifying at the Bordeaux Challenger Salvatore Caruso after two match points,” said Mpetshi Perricard. “After the match I said to myself: ‘Giovanni, you had two match points against a very good player, so you can go higher!’

“The start of the season was very complicated for me. I had a shoulder injury and I was sick. Now I’m really happy to play at 100 percent.”

That summer, ‘Gio’ came through qualifiers en route to his first Challenger semi-final at the Liberec Challenger, where he lost to the eventual champion Jiri Lehecka. The Frenchman continued to play well on clay courts, including the Lima-2 Challenger where he was a quarterfinalist (l. Coria).

The youngster is 1.80 m tall and has an aggressive style of play. With a strong delivery, a solid forehand and a one-handed backhand, ‘Gio’ rushes to close the net at any opportunity.

Giovanni Meptshi Perricard in action at the Lima-2 Challenger 2022.
Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard in action at the Lima-2 Challenger 2022. Photo credit: @igmachallengers

Coached by Emmanuel Planque who has previously worked with former top 25 players Michael Llodra, Luke Pouilleand Fabrice Santorothe number 382 in the world has made it his mission to follow in the footsteps of his French tennis idols Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils to realize a childhood dream.

“Growing up, you see Roland Garros on TV and I was like, ‘I want to be there!’” said Mpetshi Perricard.

The Frenchman isn’t the only tennis player in his family with a bright future. His 13-year-old sister Daphnee won the J3 Saint Cyprien ITF event last month. Giovanni burst out laughing as he told her he would never allow her to hit him.

Whether he’s watching his friends on Challenger TV, celebrating his own accomplishments, or taking part in a sibling rivalry against his younger sister, “Gio” has tennis in his blood.

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