Kenny De Schepper: “I Want To Reach The Qualifications Of The Grand Slams Again!”

Kenny de Schepper (photo: Florian Heer)

MATARÓ, May 22, 2024

Kenny de Schepper has been on the tennis tour for many years. The 36-year-old Frenchman has captured five titles on the ATP Challenger Tour, his last at 2016 Como, Italy and reached a career-high ranking of World No. 62 in April 2014. De Schepper competed in the main draw of all four Grand Slam tournaments but due to injuries he had been sidelined from the courts many times.

But the lefty from Bordeaux, currently sitting at World No. 552, wants to come back and is ready to go the extra mile. De Schepper is playing the clay-court swing in Catalonia on the ITF World Tennis Tour these weeks. We met him after reaching the second round of the ITF M25 event in Mataró for an interview.

Tennis TourTalk: Kenny, how was it on court today?

Kenny de Schepper: I feel very good. It’s better than last week, where we had a lot of rain in Vic. It helps me with my game. 

You are a veteran on the tour but still have the right motivation. 

I am very happy to play. I was injured for a long time. I want to come back and still have the motivation to reach the qualifying of the Grand Slams again. It’s important to practice and play without any pain. This was the case when I started the year.  My level is good but the draws at Futures are very strong. It’s tough to win. I am focused on every match and let’s see what’s going to happen.

You have been on the tour for many years. What has changed since you turned pro in 2010?

There are more players at Futures and Challenger level and the level of play has increased. There is a high competition. Everyone is physically strong and you need to stay focused. It’s a big difference. But the organization of the tournaments has also become better. It’s a good club here. 

Which of the top-ranked players do you like to watch?

I still like Djokovic, Monfils, Gasquet, who are the same age as me. From the young players, I like the mentality of Alcaraz. He is a good guy and shows that he is having fun on the court.

You played three times at Roland Garros in the main draw. Do you have any special memories about the tournament?

In 2016, I qualified after three very good matches. I also played against a compatriot and the atmosphere was incredible. 

You play a single-handed backhand. Do you know why you decided to play like this?

I started with a one-handed backhand when I was eight years old. I remember that I changed it two or three years later, as a coach told me that I will have more power in my shots with a double-handed backhand. But I never felt the ball the same way and I still played the passing shots with one hand. So when I was 18, I switched back. I needed one year to get used to it again but then it felt good again.

There are many tournaments in Catalonia during these weeks. What are your impressions about the swing?

I am happy to play on clay. That’s how I grew up. In April in France the weather is not that good. So I was happy to play here in Spain. I live in Toulouse and it’s easy to come here by car. 

What are your plans for the time after your pro career?  

I want to stay involved in tennis and would like to be a coach, giving something back. I like travelling and would like to visit many countries. 

Thank you and all the best.