WATCH: Djokovic Makes Time To Meet One-Time Hitting Partner & YouTuber At Australian Open

WATCH: Djokovic Makes Time To Meet One-Time Hitting Partner & YouTuber At Australian Open

by Nurein Ahmed

Tennis fans warmed up to one of the most captivating stories from this year's Australian Open qualifying draw, where the unheralded Jules Marie made his Grand Slam debut.

Marie is virtually unknown to many viewers on the rigors of professional tennis, but he is a prominent name on the internet for those actively seeking to pick up tennis drills and knowledge. He owns a YouTube tennis channel with over 100,000 subscribers.

His story was one of desire. Unlike many of his privileged French peers, Marie's tennis background wasn't quite as noteworthy. He quit playing professionally at the age of 23 when he struggled to raise sufficient finances to cater for his career.

Consequently, he resorted to playing prize money tournaments in his native France just to muddle through his daily life. But in 2019, he decided to open a YouTube channel and began documenting his time on the tennis courts, practicing and playing prize-money tennis tournaments.

Marie famously acted as a sparring partner for World No. 1 Novak Djokovic at the 2021 French Open and captured their hitting session on video, which has been uploaded on YouTube. The video massively helped his channel gain traffic and subscriber count.

And Djokovic hasn't forgotten about him. With his channel raking decent viewing numbers, he quickly exploited a source of revenue to kickstart his tennis career and returned to pro tennis at the age of 29. The Frenchman painstakingly worked his way up on the ATP ladder.

He broke the world's Top 300 at the end of 2023 after winning five titles on the ITF circuit. Marie attained a career-best ranking of No. 226 before the Australian Open, which was deemed sufficient to warrant a spot in the qualifying draw.

The 32-year-old stunned compatriot Benoit Paire in the first round, but his dream was ended by Alexander Ritschard in the subsequent round. Still, he did not leave Melbourne Park without any happy memories because Novak Djokovic personally met him during qualifying week.

Djokovic even made time to practice with him, and the pair had a quick interview in French. It was a lovely gesture by the World No. 1, and their interaction can be seen in the video below.


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