Rome, Italy, September 7, 2019 – Frenchmen Quincy Aye and Arnaud Gauthier-Rat will not be competing in the last two days of the World Tour Finals in Rome but their campaign at the Italian capital will certainly not go unnoticed.
The Europeans were the only team coming from the qualifier to advance to the Round of 16 at the Foro Italico and they did so in great fashion as they downed some top teams on their way, including Canada’s Ben Saxton/Grant O’Gorman, USA’s Tri Bourne/Trevor Crabb and Brazil’s Alison Cerutti/Alvaro Filho, until they lost in a three-set battle to Americans Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb.
“It was a great week for us,” the 24-year-old Aye reflected. “We played a lot of good teams and it was nice to see we can compete at this level against them. Beating an Olympic champion was unbelievable and the experience we got here will be very important for us moving forward. It’s a little bit disappointing to leave the tournament because I felt that we could have done better if we weren’t too tired in our third match of the day, but we’re still very happy.”
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The French have been playing together in the World Tour for one year now and they have recently achieved their best results under the lead of Brazilian coaches Lissandro Carvalho and Elmer Calvis as they won a silver medal in a one-star event in Montpellier last week, finished in the top-ten of the Olympic test-event in Tokyo and became French champions, all in the last two months.
But nothing tops what they did in Rome.
“This was our best performance together and I’d say our best result too because we faced the best teams in the world,” the left-handed blocker added. “To finish in the top-ten of the World Tour Finals not having so much experience at this level, that’s huge for us. We are improving step by step and our main goal is to close the gap to the top teams.”
Gauthier-Rat dives for the ball during the match against Gibb and Crabb
The path for Aye and the 22-year-old Gauthier-Rat has a well-defined end line as they want to represent their country at their home Olympics in Paris 2024.
“This is the purpose of our lives,” Aye remarked. “We’ll be 29 and 27 when Paris hosts the Olympics, so we’ll probably be at the peak of our careers, which will be fantastic. We’re still fighting to qualify for Tokyo, but we know it’ll be very hard. We’re putting our hopes on the Continental Cup, but it’s not going to be easy.”