90 Seconds with Mathieu Castagnet

SQUASH MAGAZINE: Describe Yourself in One Word.

SM: What is one thing about you people in the squash world don’t know?
MC: I love drinking red wine and smoking cigars. I don’t do it very often; I smoke maybe four cigars per year, which is not a lot. My favorite types of cigars for sure are Cubans. My favorite red wine is anything from Bordeux. I love all red wine from Bordeux, not Lyon. They are a bit stronger than Lyon’s, and you can taste the fruit and really enjoy it with a meal or cigar.

SM: Any New Year’s resolutions?
MC: In squash, I would like to stay top ten because at the moment it’s not easy because a lot of young players are coming up. Outside of squash, I’m trying to find something else after my playing career. I’m twenty-nine now so I have to think about my future after playing squash. Maybe a national coach with the young players training at the national center in Aix-en-Provence, sharing my experience with the next generation.

SM: How did it feel to crack the world’s top ten this year?
MC: I was feeling lost. When I started playing squash, my first ambition was to make top thirty. The past two years, so many things happened quickly. I was thirty-five in the world, and in eighteen months my rank kept going up until I reached eight. It surprised me to happen so quickly. Now I’m trying to prove that I can stay top ten in the future.

SM: You recovered from a major Achilles injury in 2014, what
was the comeback like?
MC: It was terrible. I played on it for a while. I wasn’t thinking professionally about taking care of myself. My girlfriend told me if you want to be a top professional, you have to take care of your body. So I saw a doctor. I started to be more professional with my body and training, and also changed my game. I used to be defensive, and tried to be more attacking and use the front of the court more.

SM: What was it like to win your first French title this year?
MC: It was so special. It meant so much to see my name with names like Gaultier, Lincou and Boneta. It’s so important to represent your country and to win a national title is an honor.

SM: You grew up on the southwest coast of France, how does Aix-en-Provence compare?
MC: The weather! It rains all the time in Saintes where I grew up. In Aix-en, it’s sunny and close to the beach. I still like to go back because it’s where my family is and where I learned squash.

SM: What is some advice you would give to an aspiring squash pro?
MC: Like Nadal said in tennis, you have to work hard. If you keep working and you’re confident of yourself, you have a chance to be a professional and maybe even make the top ten.

SM: Best Christmas present you’ve ever received?
MC: My family gave me a body board once. I love going to the beach and being free with the waves.