Émeline Dartron, ranked number 393 in the world by the WTA, is a promising young tennis player from France who is constantly improving. At 23 years old, she discovered her passion for tennis at the age of 6 and quickly excelled in the sport. She was quickly noticed by the French tennis federation and represented France at the Summer Cup in the under-17 category. In 2022, she participated in her first Grand Slam tournament, Roland Garros.
Despite being introverted in her personal life, she fully expresses herself through tennis and was pleased to give an exclusive interview to AceandPlay.
Exclusive Interview With Top 400 WTA
Can you introduce yourself?
« My name is Emeline Dartron and I am a 22 years old professional tennis player. I started playing tennis when I was 6 years old because I wanted to follow in my brother’s footsteps.
Little by little, I started playing more and more with my father and I immediately fell in love with the sport. When you are young, you mostly think about having fun, but my passion for tennis grew over time, by traveling and discovering the world through tennis. I started to feel the passion grow only as I got older. »
How many times do you train per week?
« I train around 5 to 7 days a week. My typical day has evolved over time, and I have now found my balance by playing two hours of tennis and two physical sessions per day, each lasting 1.5 hours, where we work on integrated fitness, prevention, strengthening, cardio, and everything to stay in shape on the court.
Before, I used to train more hours a day by doing two tennis sessions and two physical sessions, but this routine changed with my needs.
Nowadays, I am more in tune with myself — I enjoy my tennis more by maybe doing a little bit less each day, BUT with more investment and efficiency. Over the past months, I have been practicing for a total of 5 to 6 hours per day and this fits me. »
How do you manage your diet?
« I don’t pay particular attention to it, as I am not naturally a foodie. However, I did gain some weight during adolescence, so I paid a little more attention to my diet during that time. That led me to try a few diets, but that did not necessarily help me.
At one point, I got injured and it automatically reduced my appetite. I found a varied rhythm of eating again, but without restricting myself. »
How would you describe your game?
« I have quite an offensive game, relying heavily on my serve to hit to the right side. I am a physical player who uses a lot of variations with slices and takes shots early. I have a fairly multi-skilled game, and the most difficult thing sometimes is using the right shots at the right time. »
How many tournaments do you participate in per year?
« Generally, I play between 25 and 30 tournaments, but it varies a lot depending on my physical strength, mental freshness, and especially injuries. Before, I used to play a lot of tournaments like a robot, because I had to go away for so many weeks and play so many tournaments. But now, I have found my balance by playing tournaments because I really want to, and not because I have to. That’s how I keep the pleasure on the court as much as possible. »
There are a lot of different tournaments for women ITF and WTA, what is your opinion on the structure of these tournaments?
« Tournaments are improving more and more, especially in France, whether it is for women or men, although it often depends on the partners involved. Since the beginning of 2023, there has been a noticeable improvement in the planning, communication, and facilities within the club, including designated areas for players, dining options, and an increasing presence of ball boys/girls even in smaller tournaments starting at the 25k level. »
How do you prepare before a match?
« Before a match, I have my little routine. I play for 30 minutes a few hours before my match, and I warm up physically for 30 minutes just before the match. If I have a coach with me on tour, I talk to him the day before to prepare for the next match.
I also watch videos of my opponent on YouTube to prepare my tactics. This allows me to go into the match with confidence. »
What do you do after a loss to move on?
« I think the most important thing is to learn from each defeat. A loss should not be taken lightly. The most important thing after a match is to identify what went well and what didn’t, and to talk about it and analyze it.
It’s also important not to let it linger for days, but to take the time to reflect on the match and perhaps even the entire tournament to readjust your objectives for the next match, tournament, or training week.
You need to take a step back, reflect, talk about what happened, and express your emotions as honestly as possible, so you can set clear objectives for the upcoming weeks. »
Do you think a loss is necessarily negative?
« No, as long as the attitude and mindset are good, you can take many positive things from it to work on. However, the mind is not there, it is more difficult to find positive takeaways. Adopting a competitive and warrior attitude is the main thing, the rest will follow. »
Sport at a high level requires a lot of sacrifices, does it impact you?
« No, for me these sacrifices are part of the life I have chosen and love. If tomorrow I no longer want to have this life, I will not do it. I do it because I love it, because I am passionate.
For me, it is not really sacrifices, it is part of the game. As long as we are passionate and having fun on the court, it is all positive. »
Have you been through mental issues and what did you do to handle them?
« Yes, of course, several times. To help me work on my more difficult phases, I worked with a mental coach for about ten years, which helped me get through tough periods.
I started this sport at a young age, and at first, I wasn’t sure what was going on, but through different experiences, I was able to learn from my mistakes and avoid repeating the same patterns.
Working with a mental coach was helpful, but the experience really helped me grow and become stronger. This sport makes you stronger when you persevere, find solutions, face things, even if sometimes it’s harder than usual.
It’s about facing reality in order to move forward! »
According to you, what is the key to good mental health in this sport?
« I don’t know if there is one key, but it’s important to have a good support system and people you trust around you in your inner circle. Having people who support what you do is crucial because it’s not an easy sport, and there is a lot of self-doubt and questioning involved.
Having caring people around us helps. Additionally, it’s about having a certain strength of character. If you can pick yourself up, you will become stronger, but if you can’t, things can get complicated quickly.
You need to have your head on your shoulders, strength of character, and people you can rely on. »
What is your best advice for people who want to play tennis at any competition level so they can have the best spirit to prepare for a match?
« My advice would be more on the mental side of the game because I know that tennis is very challenging mentally. You need to condition yourself before entering the court by saying to yourself, “I have the right to miss a shot or make a mistake, but I need to quickly recondition myself to stay as positive as possible and be as clear-headed as possible throughout the match.”
You need to accept what can happen because you are not alone on the court, there is an opponent as well. Don’t be too focused on yourself, but also look at what’s happening on the other side of the net in order to find solutions, because there are always solutions.
My second piece of advice would be to fight for every point, a match is never over until the last point is played. »