Hugo Lloris on his choice between tennis and football: “I had to make a choice at the age of 10.”

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Between France’s two friendly matches in this international break, Hugo Lloris, captain and goalkeeper of the team, spoke to French radio station Europe 1, in a interview broadcast last night. A section of the interview covered his childhood in the south of France and his choice to pursue football over tennis.

“Well, to give you a little story, I started with tennis,” explained the 35-year-old. “And it was in the tennis club that I started to dive around. Don’t ask me why, but I wanted to go in goal and to get in amongst my friends’ feet, to go and block balls head first. The boss of the restaurant, who was also an amateur goalkeeper, said to me instantly, ‘you have to go and play football’ and that’s how things started.”

He explained, however, that tennis was a significant part of his upbringing and moving away from it was a difficult choice. “I started with the little yellow ball. But from there to imagining a career, I was a long way off but I had to make a choice at the age of 10. The constraints of training, especially football, where they were asking me to train four or five times a week, plus weekend matches, so it made things difficult after school. And I chose this path.”

“But there’s still some tennis in me,” he continued, explaining his love for the game. “I grew up watching my dad play it. My grandma played tennis for a long time too. And then when I started to walk, with my very first steps, I had a racket in my hand. My main idol is Pete Sampras. He’s the only sportsperson I had a poster of and I was a huge fan. I try to play once a year when I’m on holiday.”

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