The newspaper L'Equipe discovered one of the most curious and beautiful stories that have happened in the world of tennis in this period of confinement due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Arthur Reymond, Gallic tennis player of 21 years and 589th in the world, could not take it anymore without being able to take a racket and rally while he was undergoing the obligatory confinement in his family's house, in Villemur-sur-Tarn, near Toulouse. He was killing time running down a hill with his brother, Thomas, fixing one of his bikes, among other things. Until one day, his father, Laurent, remembered that a neighbor had an old tennis court at home. It was in late March. “It had not been used for six or seven years and was impractical,” says Arthur. “We saw her and we were defeated and upset. Until my mother said, 'Come on, rebuild her.'”
The terrain, from the late 1950s, was in very poor condition, full of weeds and brush. “It was very, very difficult, hell. It took us five minutes to fix 50 square centimeters, “recalls Reymond, who had the approval of the neighbor, Francis Imbert, who had been director of the city's tennis club. At first, they expected to take a few days, but the weeks passed and continued having work. “There were a hundred acacia roots, larger than tennis balls, that raised the cement lines about eight inches. The ground had hardened.” Father and son, they scraped everything, without further help due to the forced social distancing and could only work one hour a day. “The authorized sports and under tremendous heat,” says Arthur. “It was like finding the Holy Grail, but very big. That's how I realized that I like tennis. Pure happiness.”
Reconstruction in pictures
Before the start
So was the track when the Raymonds saw it.
Arthur Raymond, in full work.
So was the track of Arthur Reymond's neighbor.
Arthur Reymond, along with his father Laurent in front of 'his' clue.
The Reymonds were flushed. “I got muscle from both digging and filling wheelbarrows.” Then they had to put in clay they bought at a nearby club, paint the lines, and put the finishing touches on it with the help of a family friend. “It is like a pool table, without bad pots, very nice to play”, explains Reymond Jr., who has trained there since they broke up with his father. But before that enjoyment, the rain came. “We had to start over, but there it is.” From this Monday, Arthur can train on other tracks, but he will not stop doing it in the one he built with his own hands. “Not all structures are going to reopen and there are not many outdoor courts ready in the clubs, so I'm going to alternate”, says the young player, who is guaranteed a lifetime entrance to his neighbor's court.