“Sunday evening, you won the EVO, the supreme title for any player of versus fighting. You are the third Frenchman to achieve this feat, the first since 2014. Do you realize what you have accomplished a few days later?
The same day, I hadn’t really understood that I had just won the biggest tournament in the world… There, after a few days, I realized a lot more. I’m really happy with my win. Because EVO was really kind of a dream for a very long time. I watched the event long before I played fighting games, because my dad played regularly. When Dragon Ball FighterZ came out, the game broke the record for EVO attendees (2575 players, in 2018), but I couldn’t go because I wasn’t sponsored and France was a bit late. But watching this tournament gave me an incredible fire, a desire to compete even more. I had the chance to participate for the first time then, in 2019, but I was quite unlucky and finished 13th. This revenge means a lot to me.
Let’s go back a bit to this victorious day at EVO. After a good start to the tournament, you lost sharply (2-0) against your compatriot “Yasha” in the semi-finals. How do you analyze this defeat?
My feeling is that I made small mistakes during the match that cost me. He had played well and I could have finished the game at times and I didn’t. After that, I settled down a bit, put on some music, tried to calm down. You have to know that I was really tired, it was really very late, the competition had fallen behind.
“Against the French, I was in a relaxed state of mind, because I thought that one of us would win in any case”
Eventually, you manage to reassemble the lose bracketby eliminating two Frenchmen in quick succession: Mohamed “Kayne” Sobti, then Yasha, against whom you take your revenge.
Against Kayne, as I didn’t feel very comfortable with my base team, the one I kept at each tournament and with which I usually won, I changed the composition for one with which I was more comfortable, mainly because I wanted to. It allowed me to change my mindset and approach the game differently. Against the French, I was in a relaxed state of mind, because I thought that one of us would win anyway. I had no pressure, we already play a lot between us, it was just up to whoever passed between the three of us to do the job.
It was a special tournament for the Dragon Ball FighterZ French, since three of you ended up in the top 4. Was this emulation beneficial for you?
Yes, totally. We were only three French people and all three of us made the top 4, it’s really huge. Especially since there are French people who did not come and who could easily have made the top 8… It carries me. Because beyond being players, we are really friends, we do things together outside.
In the final, you find Shamar “Nitro” Hinds, a player you know well since you beat him in the final of the world championships a few weeks earlier. Were you confident about facing him?
Not really, because the fatigue was really important at that time. Besides, he played very loud and he had the American public with him, who kept chanting “USA, USA! ». In my head, I was not very sure of my chances of winning. But when I found myself trailing 2-0 I kind of had a boost, I remembered that I had beaten Kayne and Yasha and that I must not have done it for nothing, I wanted to do them honor.
“I had to give my best for the other French people, I couldn’t lose 3-0 sec. So I really tried to give it my all”
You actually find your back against the wall very quickly in this final… What happened? How do you manage to get back into your game?
Even if I was at the end, I had to give my best for the other French people, I couldn’t lose on a 3-0 sec. So I really tried to give it my all. I also think that being one round away from winning affected a lot. He was under pressure to win one of the biggest tournaments, especially against me, whom he hadn’t beaten in a very long time. The click came after the start of the third game, when I was already down 2-0. It had started badly, Nitro had an opportunity to kill me that he missed and then it woke me up, I think.
Going up from 0-2 to 3-2, you get to reset the bracket. At that time, did you feel that Nitro’s time had passed?
During the game, I said to myself that if I managed to reset, it was almost over for him. It was impossible to come back after that, after being one victory away from winning. I was not at my level at the start and then suddenly I had three new chances, I was no longer back to the wall, trailing 2-0. Mentally, it helped me a lot, it put me in the head that I really could win.
How much did fatigue play in this EVO ?
Holding a day like this is really hard. Because I hadn’t gotten much basic sleep, due to jet lag. I tried not to eat too much, so as not to go into digestion. I drank water, I refreshed my face to stay awake. I was still really very tired at the end, I don’t think I was the least tired of the top 8. It was easier for Nitro in particular, since he lives there. It’s not on that that I win, more on my choices.
“As a competitor, I’m really accomplished. I think what follows is to win again. But it will never be as good as the first time”
When you land your last combo, which allows you to win the Grand Final 3-1 and win the title, how do you feel?
Of course, I was very happy to have won. Because I was able to win for the French. A lot of them stayed up at our house until 8am to watch us play and I was happy to give them the win.
This is an exceptional year for you: world champion (July 17) then EVO winner (August 6). How do you envision the future now?
Honestly, as a competitor, it’s the climax. My goal was to win the EVO, so having the world championships on top of that was unthinkable. As a competitor, I’m really accomplished. I think what follows is to win again. But it will never be as good as the first time…”
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