TENNISINSIDEOUT.COM PLAYER PROFILE
Name: Lucas Pouille
Val has named him: “Pookie”
Birthday: February 23, 1994
In a nutshell: We first noticed Lucas Pouille way back when he skillfully took out America’s competitive wildcard winner Alex Kuznetsov in the first round of the 2013 French Open, 6-1, 7-6(2), 6-2. Pouille went down in straights the next round to then-ranked #28 Grigor Dimitrov, but pushed one set to a TB.
The soft-spoken French player has substantially improved his game since then, and we can’t help feeling excited about a Frenchie that has a combination of strengths rarer than a unicorn in his country: flair, power, AND a steady on-court temperament. When watching young players, we’ll often say things like “He has potential.” The fun of Pouille has been that when we’re watching him, we’re more likely to be shouting, “Holy $%^#!! What. A. Shot!!!”
Pouille had a breakthrough performance at Wimbledon 2016, reaching his first Slam quarterfinal with impressive wins over Juan Martin del Potro (who had taken out #4 seed Stan Wawrinka in the previous round) and Bernard Tomic. At the USO 2016, Lucas won three consecutive 5-setters, concluding with a stunning 6-1, 2-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 victory over Slam champ Rafael Nadal in the Round of 16.
In 2017, Pouille nabbed three titles, each on a different surface: Vienna (Indoor/Hard), Stuttgart (Outdoor/Grass), and Budapest (Outdoor/Clay). He reached a career high ranking of #13 in the spring of that year. Despite these good results, Pouille seems to have stalled slightly in his quest to be at the top of his game. Some bad luck with injuries and a tendency to get passive on court have led to some erratic results, though he’s mostly kept himself inside the Top 20.
So far, 2018 is a continuation of the roller coaster, with an early exit at the Australian Open followed by a title in Montpelier, followed by a loss in the first round of Rotterdam to Next Gen-er Andrey Rublev. Pookie fans will be hoping this year to see lots more of his peak level of play, when he serves big and gets into an elegant rhythm of line-clipping rallies and explosive winners from every part of the court.
Get to Know Lucas Through the Eyes of TennisInsideOut.com:
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Anyone who loves pretty French boys has got to be excited by Pookie, as Val was when she first saw this photo posted by Hugo Winogradsky:
Here are some action shots…
Lucas posts mostly in French on social media, but even if you don’t speak the language, he’s worth a follow for all the news, links, and pictures–it’s quite nicely done as a fandom resource.
Super content de remporter mon 5e titre ici à l’@opensuddefrance de Montpellier !!! Merci à Seb Grosjean pour la WC sans quoi cette belle semaine n’aurait pas été possible. Je voudrais profiter de ce post pour rendre hommage à Patrice Dominguez qui m’a donné ma première invitation ici quand je n’avais que 18 ans… Je suis fier d’avoir gagné aujourd’hui sur le court qui porte son nom Merci à tous pour votre soutien, maintenant direction Rotterdam ! #TeamPouille #PremierTitreDeLaSaison #NextIsHere #HereToCreate
— Clara PABAN (@pabanclara) October 30, 2016
— Lucas Pouille (@la_pouille) November 1, 2016
— chloe paquet (@ChloePaquet) February 23, 2015
With our limited French skills and the help of Google
Mangle Translate, we can tell you that our Pookie’s timeline is full of positivity. He acknowledges fan support, bestows compliments readily, jokes around with his friends, and RTs good news and fun posts from fellow players. He also does sweet things like refer to Benoit Paire as “my Ben,” which moves him high up on Val’s list of “Good People.”
He’s also had a long-term relationship with Clemence Bertrand, who is so marvelously French she still appears to be frowning even when smiling, which you can witness for yourself on the many occasions she travels to be with Pouille and attend his matches.
Clemence’s boyfriend nearly broke tennis twitter when this photo was posted in early 2017…our Pookie is all grown-up now…!
Lucas Pouile at the practice in Tokyo ( photo via FFT/ Antoine Couvercelle ) pic.twitter.com/0FdGiIz9vP
— Rena (@_irenka23_) January 31, 2017
And finally, some awesome videos to give you a sense of the man in motion: