(Photo: Badminton Europe)
Brice Leverdez: I hope I can be one of the surprises
Date: 7/18/2021 2:20 PM
Published by : Sara Gonzalez Martinez
Tough preparations with a different approach plenty of Olympic experience to benefit from. The Frenchman feels confident this time as the big event approaches.

Brice Leverdez is no stranger to the Olympics. Already having participated in London 2012 and Rio 2016, Europe’s number eight is ready to step on court in this year’s event — and this time, no pressure will be holding him back.

-Expectations are high. I am preparing hard for this event, and I am ready.

A different approach to training 
These past few weeks leading up to the Olympics have been time to recharge but also do some hard training to be in the best shape possible. Each player has their own approach to do so, and Leverdez is using something that not all badminton players do.

-I am practising badminton twice a day plus physical training, also with high altitude, it will improve my physical abilities.

Working with altitude might be something we hear more often from other sports but it is not commonly mentioned in badminton. Leverdez has found a way to benefit from it by using it off court.

-Actually, only my bedroom is in high altitude, but it is simulating a high altitude. So, I sleep in high altitude, but I train in a normal altitude for badminton. Otherwise, it would not be badminton that I am playing, because the shuttlecocks would be much faster when playing in high altitude, Leverdez explained.

I want to win
The Olympics are just around the corner and for many, the excitement has been building up for a while now. Leverdez has been in the game for many years and has experienced many multisport events, including two Olympic Games. There are many special memories, but there is one that comes to mind when we asked him about the most special one.

-It would be by far the national anthem at the 2013 Mediterranean Games. When you go on the podium and hear your national anthem, it is a pretty amazing feeling. It is something you hear since you are a kid, and when you win a tournament which is difficult to win, the national anthem is played for you, for your victory. It is something very special and hard to describe. It is something that is inside your soul.

Expectations are high and when the badminton matches start on Saturday next week, all players will be looking to make it out of the group. Still, the 35-year-old’s aims go beyond that.

-Whenever I go to a tournament, I always want to win, especially in the Olympic Games because it’s a special one. Also, in this tournament you can have surprises, and I hope I can be one of the surprises, Leverdez stated.

Enjoying the experience is also important
Leverdez’s first Olympics were London 2012, where he faced Uganda’s Ekiring and Hong Kong’s Wong Wing Ki Vincent. It was, of course, a unique experience, but looking back, the pressure he felt at the moment might have been too much.

-Those were my first Olympics. It was a special feeling. I remember from those matches that I had so much pressure. I put too much pressure on myself, I think, and I did not really enjoy playing badminton there. I was too stressed, and I was not really happy with the way I came on court. 

Some things come with experience, and luckily, Leverdez has plenty of it. The struggles that oftentimes come with pressure seem to be a thing of the past, as he faces the upcoming Olympics with a sense of calmness and confidence that was already there in Rio 2016.

-In Rio, I came on court much better. Even though I showed some signs of pressure when playing with Raul [Must], I think it is normal at the Olympics. At least in Rio I was enjoying the game, Leverdez said.

Rio 2016 saw a clash between Leverdez and Must that went on to three sets. It was a tough match, but Leverdez eventually got the win. It was different with Jan O Jorgensen, as the Dane beat the French player in straight games. Leverdez has learnt from those wins and defeats and will use it for these upcoming games.

-I had a good level in Rio, but I did not manage to beat Jan. It was a bit of a shame because I felt like I had the game to beat him. This year, I have nothing to lose. I have no pressure and will not put pressure in myself.

His words transmit a sense of wisdom and tranquillity when facing huge challenges that come with years of experience that can many times place players like him at advantage when playing against younger talents. So, we wonder, does it get easier with age?

-I do not know. I have already experienced it, so I know that it will not be my first. Maybe it will be my last, so I have to enjoy as much as possible.
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