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Pierre-Hugues Herbert has an 11-4 tour-level record in doubles final with fellow Frenchman Nicolas Mahut.

ATP Firsts: Pierre-Hugues Herbert

Frenchman reveals his first pinch-me moment, travelling abroad and his celebrity idols

France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert, who competes on the ATP World Tour as both a singles and doubles player, gives ATPWorldTour.com an insight into his life off the court...

First moment I realised I loved tennis
Actually, it was the first time I had a racquet in my hand. Since I was a kid, I loved it from the very first time. When I was a kid, it’s amazing the pleasure I got from hitting the ball against the wall. I was born with a racquet in my hand and I loved it from the first time. My parents were both tennis coaches. As soon as I could walk, I had the racquet in my hand.

First coach and most important lesson he/she taught me
My first coach was my father, and one of the first lessons he taught me is that tennis is a game. You have to enjoy it. After the second lesson, it was if you work hard, it’s going to pay off one day.

First pinch-me moment on the ATP World Tour
My first pinch-me moment was my breakthrough in Paris-Bercy. It was 2013 or 2014, I don’t remember, but I was playing Benoit Paire on Court Centrale and then playing against Novak Djokovic. Beating Benoit Paire and then losing against Djokovic in a tight match, I think that was my first big moment on the ATP.

First time I was recognised
I have no answer to this. It would be sometime recently. I think it was the past two years that I started to be recognised. Not that much. Not like Rafa or Roger. Mostly in France, in my hometown.

First time I travelled abroad
Really, really soon. I remember one trip when I went alone to Latvia (for tennis), I was maybe 14 or 15. This was a big trip to go alone, at 14 or 15, to a country where you can’t speak the language.

First thing I bought with prize money
I don’t really know what I bought with prize money. I know I bought a computer, an [Apple] Mac, when I was 19 or 20. But I didn’t make that much money, so I don’t think it was the prize money that bought it!

First autograph/photo I got
One of the first pictures I took was with Arnaud Clement when I was a young guy. I was maybe 10, he played team matches in my region and I was lucky enough to get a picture with him. He had actually a sandwich almost in his mouth, so it was a funny picture. I still have it. I showed it to him.

First celebrity idols
I have a lot of actors that I like. Roman Joules, he’s playing in French movies. After this, I love Denzel Washington. In sport, I think we are lucky enough to have Roger Federer in tennis. I was a big fan growing up. I have a lot of people to look to for examples.

First album I bought
I didn’t buy that many albums, but I’m a big Coldplay fan. The first one, I didn’t buy it, I got it as a present, was a Michael Jackson album. It was one of his last ones.

First pet
In my family we had three cats. The first one died at age 18. I grew up with Mimi. Then there were two others, but they were not as lucky as Mimi. They died younger.

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