By Aline Chatel
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With his YouTube channel with 30,000 subscribers and his videos sometimes viewed more than 200,000 times, Jules Mary out of place. Since he staged his life as a professional tennis player, the Caennais has developed a community of fans (almost) worthy of the best players in the world. Only here, he points to the 1156ᵉ place in the ATP ranking. “When my opponent in the first qualifying round of Cherbourg saw me arrive with a videographer, he must have said to himself: who is this painter? “laughs Jules Marie. The man in question, Timofey Skatov, probably didn’t get the expected response. 234ᵉ at the ATP, he was beaten 6-2, 6-1.
Recognized until Dubai
In some ways, Jules Marie is a UFO. “I don’t know any guys who do that,” he says. Despite exclusively national performances, the Norman has created a solid reputation. On vacation in Dubai, he was challenged in the street with “hi, I’m a breaker!”, the name he attributes to members of his community. On the National Circuit of Major Tournaments (CNGT), we know him at least as much for his videos as for his five victories in the general classification.
Recently, I met a 70-year-old gentleman who was so happy to see me. I’m super happy to have an involved community. It’s cool to see this enthusiasm!
Every week, Jules Marie releases two to three vlogs, videos of about fifteen minutes where he shows what the spectators do not see. “I film myself all the time, whether it’s when I arrive at the club, before my match, during dinner or when recuperating. I say what I’m going to do, I talk about my opponent, I debrief…” But most of the videos are made up of match images. “When I arrive on the court, I start by installing my Gopro behind the court. Once the match is over, I review it to select the best exchanges. I then send the images to the editor. It’s work. My tennis friends tell me they could never do that. »
Peaks with Djokovic and the Caen Open
Jules Marie had not imagined himself in this role either. But when his brother, with whom he gave tennis lessons in Paris, launched a YouTube channel during the first confinement, he joined him with pleasure in the adventure. The brothers first offered training. The growing success of the videos offered by Jules Marie prompted him to offer more content. The number of subscribers and views skyrocketed.
The numbers exploded during Roland-Garros where I was Novak Djokovic’s sparring partner. There was a second peak during the Caen Open. We went from 19,000 subscribers to 25,000.
But Jules Marie is not content to win fans on social networks. He mostly wins matches. His victory at the Open de Caen in December 2021 reminded us how much his level of play could stick with the demanding ATP circuit. Yet he had left without regret six years earlier, tired of moving from one airport to another, most often alone, without managing to live from his passion. “When I was 228ᵉ world player, or 29ᵉ French player, I lost 30,000 euros per year”, he confided to us in May 2020.
“People pushed me to resume”
At 30, Jules Marie will however plunge again. “The community is growing, people love it, they pushed me to take over,” he explains. They think I have the level and they are curious to see my progress. “Would he have had the same reflection without the support he receives on YouTube? Probably not. “It worked,” he says. Jules Marie is not at all in the same perspective as when he started out in 2010.
We seek to professionalize ourselves by recruiting a videographer. We want to document the life of a tennis player on the ATP Tour. It’s cool to show behind the scenes.
The tennis player associates his subscribers so much with his approach that he has created a kitty to benefit from crowdfunding. “This responds to the request of the people who follow me. That way, everyone can be part of the project. In addition to crowdfunding, Jules Marie hopes to find private partners. The total budget is estimated between 250,000 and 300,000 euros.
“Show that it’s war”
Jules Marie will resume competition in Futures tournaments, the third ATP division. “I’m going to show people that Futures is war,” he says. He will play every week with one idea in mind: to progress quickly in the standings to, on arrival, be able to participate in the qualifications for the Grand Slams.
You have to be in the top 250. The goal is Roland Garros in 2023.
Currently injured, Jules Marie hopes to return to business in early March. With his racket, his shorts and his camera. “Guys are going to be surprised,” he smiles. They will quickly learn to discover this hungry ghost. A man on whom it will not be good to fall in the first round…
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