Life and anecdotes of a photographer in the courts

Friday, November 4, 2022, quarter-final of the Rolex Paris Masters. Opposite Félix Auger-Aliassime, Frances Tiafoe entered the scene and leaned against a kind of refrigerator containing, among other things, some towels and a bottle of water. Unfortunately, the door of this cooler broke… and hit the head of a Frenchwoman who was placed in a strategic place and wanted to take advantage of the particularly interesting lights of the show to take some shots where he has the secret. “I was in blood, I had to evacuate to get a pointlaughs Corinne Dubreuil, the victim of this unlikely event. The next day, he was very sorry and sent me a few words of apology.” Such is (once) the life of a photographer on the circuit, but a great regular on the tennis court for the past two decades.

In fact, for almost 33 years now, the 50-year-old has crossed the entire planet every year with his equipment on his back to provide the various media or the French Tennis Federation with photos of the tournaments . Woman, man, player, ball, place, net, ATP, WTA, Grand Slams, joy, comfort, tired, smile, hug, fall, jump, serve, forehand, backhand, tear, tear, cry, sadness, disappointment, anger , disappointment… Nothing escaped this hyper-experienced freelancer who also held a racket in his youth and started work in his twenties. Even before, he said: “This story really began in 1987, when I went to Roland-Garros for the first time. I was sixteen and when I arrived I saw Chris Evert on court number one. There, it clicked. I said to myself: ‘I love this player, I want to meet him.’ So I went to his hotel, to get an autograph… and I got his phone number in Florida! Then, with my rotten English, I started calling him and he was giving me tickets to major competitions.“Having a passion for photography, Corinne began to travel.

Twelve to fifteen kilometers per day

Very fast, linked professional missions. Until now, and thanks to a body that never fails it: unlike a football match that lasts only 90 minutes, the work takes longer in tennis because it lasts the whole day. So, to make sure nothing is missed, Corinne travels between twelve and fifteen kilometers per day with about fifteen kilos of gear to carry. Eyes focused on his phone to follow the programming or the progress of live meetings and on his device to capture the current moment, his feet crawling everywhere. Without tiring his mind, which must remain clear so as not to miss the end of important encounters or seconds that could prove to be exceptional. “Over time, you will discover interesting locations to shoot. But most of all, you have to know the players and their habitsdecrypts the pro. We know in particular that nine times out of ten, a player who wins a point or a match will move his clan. If we have Corentin Moutet-Rafael Nadal and Moutet has a match point, I will not stay around Nadal’s clan: Obviously I will go to Moutet’s clan. Finally, if I may… Because often, we have places assigned to us. Especially at Wimbledon, where it is very complicated to go where we want and where we are assigned to a certain place. I also make calculations, sometimes: if it’s 5-5, there can be a tie-break and the player serving there will return to the other side … All expected, it’s a gymnastics that gradually acquired. So much so that I didn’t even realize it was automatic.”

Methods that allowed him to win the Grand Prize at the International Sportfolio Festival with a snapshot of the twins Bob and Mike Bryan in 2015, to release a condensed book of photos of Roger Federer titled Federer forever or to have a Roland Garros exhibition dedicated to him at Nikon Plaza in 2018. Among his favorite masterpieces, he keeps two as a priority: one in black and white showing Nadal’s bandaged hands at the Roland trophy in 2012 – “which should be installed in the offices of the Spanish entourage”, according to Corinne -, and another from Federer after his last Australian Open won in 2018, where the Swiss was taken naturally, comfortably installed on a sofa in a Victorian setting, making a call on the phone with his haircut. foreground – “a strong picture, which we do not see”, he believes -. By rubbing shoulders with them, Corinne was also recognized by these stars with whom she had created a relationship of trust (not to say friendly). “Surely over the years, the players will get used to your presence on the side of the fieldhe confirmed. There are bound to be friendly ties that are established, of course the great champions greeted us and were very courteous. It’s a relationship of mutual respect, simple work!“Even the coronavirus is there: kisses from Rafa, so once!

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