Joachim Gérard, worthy successor to the Belgian yellow ball
At 32, chair tennis player Joachim Gérard has just won his first Grand Slam tournament in Australia. A consecration for the player who has to do with very different means of stars of his sport.
Ten years ago, Belgium won its last Grand Slam title. It had come from Kim Clijsters’ racquet. A decade later, the flat country has recovered. The Limbourgeoise has left her place this time to Joachim Gérard. After a first final lost at the same tournament in 2016 and another second place at Roland Garros last year, the consecration was always closer for the Brabançon. By erasing the Englishman Hewett after a few cold sweats, the player has just passed an important milestone in his career.
After a quick glance at his record, however, the final victory is not so surprising. In his chair, the Belgian handles the racket admirably. Currently fourth in the world, he has four Masters trophies and a Bronze medal, gleaned in Rio in 2016, on his chimney. Joachim Gérard also manages quite well as a team. In doubles, he has already lifted the cup at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the Australian Open.
“I am somewhat in the same financial situation as able-bodied players, but ranked after the top 100 places in the ATP rankings.”
Far from valid stars
If the recognition of years of work is prestigious at the sporting level, on the financial side on the other hand, it will be necessary to come back. The Echo had met the champion just two years ago. At the time when the player was already shining on the courts, he explained, however, that he was far from Nadal and his competitors. “I’m in a bit of the same situation as able-bodied players, but ranked after the first 100 places in the ATP ranking,” he explained. At the time, however, between his expenses of all kinds and the salaries of his coach, his manager and his physiotherapist, he assessed his needs at 50,000 euros per year.
On the income side, the player can only count on his contract as a high-level athlete with the Adeps and a few sponsors. The supports are mainly logistical and allow him, for example, to obtain an adapted car or a chair for his competitions. A not insignificant contribution, but ages past what the tennis greats are garnering. His partner Head only provided him with snowshoes and equipment, but no income. “To sum up, if you are not the Red Devils, you do not interest the sponsors. Equipment manufacturers know that by sponsoring Nadal, they will see the results directly in sales. We cannot offer that “, launched Joachim Gérard at the time.
Prize-money low cost
Obviously, there are the prize-moneys. The Australian Open does not indicate the exact amount that will go to the Belgian. The site indicates that A total of $ 77,000 is planned, to be distributed among the participants in the final draw. The player will therefore not even leave with half. For comparison, the valid winner will pocket a prize-money of $ 2.75 million. No need for a calculator for the comparison. But not enough to discourage him and even less to make him give up his sport. 2021 promises to be strong. In addition to the three other Grand Slam tournaments still to be played, Joachim Gérard will go in search of his second Paralympic medal at the Tokyo Games.
2006: Joachim Gérard becomes junior world champion.
2015: He won his first Masters.
August 2016: The tennis player wins bronze at the Rio Games.
December 5, 2016: Joachim Gérard becomes world leader.
February 2021: He won his first Grand Slam at the Australian Open.
Polio at nine months
Joachim Gérard owes his disability to polio he contracted at the age of 9 months. The disease completely paralyzed his right leg.
All is relative
The covid crisis was not easy for the player. In March, however, he preferred to put things into perspective. “I’m not complaining. My partner is an intensive care nurse and is going through a much more stressful situation than I am.”