General

Toma Junior Popov at the Czech Open 2018 (Photo: Mark Phelan)
“I kiss my cross”
Date: 10/15/2018 2:25 PM
Published by : Annika Langrock
Toma Junior Popov is 20 years old and currently ranked 69th in the world. The French Men’s Singles and Doubles player spoke with Badminton Europe about his rituals, idols and his long-term goals. 

Eleven tournaments, five victories in Men’s Singles and one in Doubles, that are the successes of Toma Junior Popov in 2018 so far. But the French badminton talent is ambitious, and always wants to improve: 

- This year went well for me. But I could not really fulfil my expectations. I wanted to reach the Top 50 or even higher in the world ranking, before the end of the year. 

Three more titles to win
The next tournaments for Popov in 2018 are going to be the French, SarLorLux and Scottish Open, and the 20-year-old has an idea of how his goals for the rest of the year look like: 

- I want to be better ranked, I want to be as highly ranked as possible. Therefore, I want to achieve good results in the upcoming tournaments. From the French Open, I hope to get some experience at a high level.

Brothers on court
Toma Junior Popov is not just a successful Singles player. In August, he won the Eurasia Bulgarian International Championships in Doubles with his four years younger brother, Christo Popov.

The French pair has a good relationship, according to Toma Junior Popov: 

- It is going very well with Christo. We are playing from match to match and tournament after tournament. We know each other perfectly because we are brothers. It helps us a lot, we think in the same way.

Idols in the past and in the present
Toma Junior Popov was born in Sofia, Bulgaria. He and his brother, Christo, have been growing up with badminton, as their father, Thomas Popov, played for France and Bulgaria in the past. 

Thereby, Toma Junior Popov is inspired by other former, as well as current players: 

- When I was young, I loved Taufik Hidayat, Lin Dan and Peter Gade. Nowadays, I look up to Viktor Axelsen and Kento Momota. 

Tokyo and Paris
Next, to increase his current world rank position, the 20-year-old talent has big goals that he wants to achieve in the long-term: 

- I want to qualify for the Olympic Games 2020 in Tokyo 2020 and 2024 in Paris. I think my chances to qualify for Tokyo are not zero. So, I will do my best to go there. For now, I am on the right way to reach these goals. 

To reach his goals, the Men’s Singles and Doubles player has a special ritual that he implements before each match:

- When the umpire is presenting the players, I jump three times and kiss my cross.
©badmintoneurope.com. All rights reserved.

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