Lebanese-born French player Daniel Jade has made a name for himself on the Tennis Europe Junior Tour in 2023. Consistently great results have rewarded him with a place among the eight 14 & Under qualifiers for next week’s season-ending Junior Masters in Monte-Carlo.
He also excelled at team events: unbeaten at the Summer Cups, winning all 3 matches in the qualifying rounds as well as three pivotal matches in the final rounds, Jade helped steer France to a record thirteenth victory in the competition.
We first caught up with Daniel in July at the European Championships in Most, where he would eventually claim the silver medal.
You recently won the celebrated Open Stade Français in Paris, congratulations! So how do you feel here at the European Championships?
I feel good on the court. I am playing well. It was a bit tough physically today, and I’ll have to try my best to recover after the matches.
What are your expectations for this event after winning in Paris last week?
My expectations are to do my best and go as far as I can and play the best players.
So, you were born in Lebanon…
… Yes, am of Lebanese origin and I went to France two years ago and now I have French nationality, so I play for the French team. There are bigger tournaments that I can play in as part of the French team, so that’s why I play for France.
I would like to talk a little about how you started with us. How did you find out about the TEJT?
Well, the biggest tournaments in Europe are on the Tennis Europe Junior Tour, so I started playing Under 12s in France with Tennis Europe. Then I played some bigger tournaments like ‘Les Petits As’ and some of the other French tournaments. All the biggest tournaments are Tennis Europe events, and all the best players in the world played there.
You’re very active on social media, you tag us a lot…
… yes, well, that’s my dad (laughs)…but I like it and being on Instagram…
Do you like being “a star”?
(Laughs) Yes, it’s cool, but I have to keep focused basically on tennis and then when I finish the tournaments, I go on social media and see what is happening.
Have you had more sponsors come knocking on your door with all this success or because of your profile?
Yes, of course there are sponsors that come, but I have an agent who deals with them to get me the best deal I can get.
Apart from Les Petits As, are there any other events that you particularly enjoyed playing?
I really enjoyed my first tournament which was the 12&U Category 1 event in Bressuire. And then the other tournament that you mentioned Stade Français is a very good tournament … and TIM Essonne too!
Moving forward, what are your goals for the year and beyond?
To have good results here (at the European Junior Championships) and also to do well with the French team (Note: after going on to win the Summer Cups, France reached the semi-finals of the ITF World Junior Tennis competition in Prostejov). Next year I’ll focus on ITF tournaments.
Is the Junior Masters on your mind?
I don’t know (smiles). If I’m in the top eight then of course, but I’m not sure now (at the time of the interview Jade was #11 in the Race).
Where are you based?
Rouen, in Normandie in the north of France.
Tell me about some of the tennis players that you enjoy watching or if you have any idols.
I like Roger Federer. He’s my favorite, but now he’s not playing anymore so now Carlos Alcaraz is my favorite.
What do you like about Carlos?
I like his game, his attitude, how he moves on the court and his intensity. I love how he plays.
I saw you mixing up your game, throwing in some drop-shots like Alcaraz…
(Laughs) Yeah, I love his drop-shots as well. They inspire me so I do it a lot too.
Is there anything about his game that you think you can apply to yours to help you?
Maybe being more offensive with my forehand basically…. and also going to the net more. Just being aggressive, in general, I think. So, I’m looking forward to working with my coach and trying to become more of an offensive player.
When it comes to your schooling, what do you do?
This year I was going to school, but I have training in the morning and afternoon. Next year I will go to a type of school where our teachers come to the place where we train for three hours of school each day.
The teachers come to you: that’s convenient!
Yes… It’s a training center with some of the best players in France and we train there, so the teachers go there.
So you’ll be training all day and then you have classes - it’s very intense, right?
Yeah, it is intense! I train in the morning, then I have three hours of school and then I’ll train some more in the afternoon. I’m really progressing, so it’s good for me.
And what about when it comes to hanging out or relaxing. Do you have much time for this?
Yeah, when I have vacations. Every two months I get to see my parents and my brother.
Are they all in Lebanon?
My parents are in Lebanon, but my brother is in France, so I see him more than my parents … but when we have time we spend time with our parents.
What are some of your hobbies, for example?
I love music. I really listen to a lot of music. I used to play the drums a little bit…
Will we see you rapping soon?
There’s a French tennis player who raps, right? Moutet? And Sonego (the Italian player) also sings…
Ah yeah … (smiles). I normally listen to songs in English or rap in English.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
You speak French, English and Arabic, correct?
Yeah, I speak a little bit of Arabic. I don’t speak in Arabic as much as I used to but yes, I know how to. But my French and English are better.
Is there anything on the TEJT that you think could be improved?
I don’t know if you could do anything better. I mean the tournaments are really good and very well organized. I love it. I love the Tennis Europe circuit and I don’t see anywhere that you can improve.
Who are your best friends on tour?
Jules Nicolas Rimbaud and the French guys. We see each other at a lot of tournaments.
What are your big goals looking further down the road? For instance, what would be your dream tournament to win?
My dream tournament to win would be Roland Garros. This is when I would be on the ATP, if I could.
Any final words?
Well as I said, I really enjoy playing on the Tennis Europe Junior tour …
You know many stars started on the TEJT…
Yeah, of course it inspires me a lot. You know, just look at players like Nadal and many other players that have passed through all of these tournaments.
Following the recent confirmation that he has qualified to compete at the Junior Masters, we caught up again with Daniel for his reaction: How pleased are you with your performance this year and with your position in the Race?
I’m very happy with my results this season and to be in the Top 5 of the Race ranking.
Congratulations on qualifying for Monte-Carlo! What have you heard about the tournament?
Thank you! All the best players compete to win there so it’ll be so good to play there. I think that it will be a really good experience!
We’re mixing it up a little this year: Are you looking forward to the round-robin format?
Yes, of course. It will be very exciting.
It’ll be almost like playing at home for you. How do you feel about playing at such a famous tennis venue (the Monte Carlo Country Club)?
It’s a real privilege to play in a club like that! The best players in the world played there so for me it’s a really great chance to play on the same courts!