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“I don’t have any other option” – Moutet explains switch to one-handed backhand against Cazaux

Corentin Moutet was forced to adapt in his first-round victory over Arthur Cazaux, successfully switching to a one-handed backhand

Corentin Moutet Corentin Moutet during singles round of 128 match against Yosuke Watanuki on the ATP tour Masters 1000 in Madrid (AF/Panoramic)

Corentin Moutet impressed on day one of Roland-Garros, recording a four-set victory over countryman Arthur Cazaux.

While the scoreline (6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4) and a fourth career appearance in the second round is impressive on its own, it was Moutet’s ability to adapt that stood out in particular in this first-round encounter.

Nursing a right-hand injury, the 26-year-old was forced to adopt a one-handed backhand for the duration of the match.

“When you don’t have any other option, you do what you can”

Corentin Moutet

When queried in the press conference after his match, Moutet was honest about the shift in strategy.

“I’m not thinking about it. I just do a one-handed backhand as if I had never played a two-handed backhand in my life. That’s just what I try to do. When you don’t have any other option, you do what you can.”

The world No 61 explained that it was impossible to use his right hand because of how badly it hurt. At one stage, Moutet attempted to return to his usual two-handed approach, but quickly realised it was not possible.

“Well, I’ve done that [return to two-handed] three times, and I really try not to use that right hand. Otherwise, I’m really scared that it goes bad again and that things go wrong with that hand.”

The Frenchman will be hoping his hand recovers quickly, as a second-round encounter with No 7 seed Andrey Rublev awaits.

Underarm serve not winning Moutet any friends in Paris

Despite being a local, Moutet certainly did not have the crowd on his side against fellow French player Cazaux.

The one-sided crowd surprised Moutet, who believes it’s down to the spectators’ interpretation of his underarm serves.

“You know, I use the underarm serve, and that’s something that made the audience support Arthur,” Moutet explained.

“It was really surprising. I’ve seen that when I was playing abroad. It’s not something disrespectful. It’s just something that I do. I have a lot of respect for my opponents, but a lot of people don’t think it’s something disrespectful abroad, but in France they do.”

With Rublev an increasing crowd favourite on the European clay, Moutet will be hoping the Paris fans have a change of heart this week.

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