At the Adidas Arena in Paris

Ronan Labar and Lucas Corvée are exultant. The French pair, 36th in the world, have just put aside the Indonesians Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan, 13th in the world, in the first round of the French Open (19-21, 21-17, 21-19).

Arnaud Merklé (46th in the world in men’s singles) and Tom Gicquel (13th in the world in mixed doubles) approach their two compatriots with a smile to come and congratulate them. And there is something, since the two French people, 34 (for Ronan Labar) and 30 (for Lucas Corvée) have just created a small feat against very experienced players, who had beaten them twice (at the championships). 2022 World Cup and at the English Open in March 2023).

A victory which allows them to score valuable points in the race for the Olympic Games. A race in which they fight at a distance with the tricolor pair composed of the two brothers Christo and Toma Junior Popov, number one and two French in singles, but behind by a little more than 3000 points in the doubles ranking. “I train with them every day,” began Ronan Labar. “We train together despite the fact that we have tough competition for Olympic qualification. The state of mind is great, we push ourselves and we wish each other the best… But the closer we get to the cut, the more unconsciously we hope that they won’t win one match more than us, explained the oldest of the tandem. But it’s super healthy, the atmosphere is very good.”

Although they play together all year round, Ronan Labar and Lucas Corvée do not train together. The first plays for the Aix-en-Provence club but trains regularly in Fos-sur-Mer with the Popovs, as he told Le Figaro, and the second opted for training at INSEP. This does not prevent the two players, who decided to team up after the Covid-19 pandemic, from getting to know each other and performing together.

Little publicized, in comparison with the Popov brothers, Ronan Labar and Lucas Corvée understand the media’s interest in the two “stars” of French badminton and are delighted: “It goes completely over my head to be honest » admits Ronan Labar, about the lack of interest the media gives them. “We are not from the same generation, today we have to be present on social networks, in the media… And that was not necessarily the case several years ago. For me, it’s not my cup of tea so I have no regrets about that, and, on the contrary, I find it very good that they are being publicized. It’s very good that there are more and more journalists, that badminton is attracting more and more and I hope that they will have a good career,” he continues, with the approval of his partner.

Qualification for the Olympic Games is not yet guaranteed for them. They still have five tournaments to play and are not safe from an upheaval in the world rankings, even if, for the moment, they are leading the way. The ultimate objective of the French tandem is clear: to conclude their collaboration after the Olympic Games. Ronan Labar “will stop his career afterwards, that’s clear”, and Lucas Corvée leaves the mystery hanging.

In the round of 16 in Paris, the French pair will face the Danes Astrup/Rasmussen (4th in the world) or their compatriots Lundgaard/Vestergaard (35th in the world).