Tennis : Louis Boucharinc, the well sitting

Louis Boucharinc officiates at Roland Garros from 2015.
© DR


If short side, the tennis habs is looking for a second breath for the past few years, this is not the case of the arbitrators. The image of Pascal Maria, Damien Dumusois or even Cedric Mourier, who officiate regularly in the final at major tournaments – be it grand slam or the Davis Cup, France is at the forefront of the arbitration world. On the twenty-seven arbitrators of the elite – the so-called “badges of gold” – seven are French. What to give some credit to the training “made in France” which is from Louis Boucharinc. At 23 years of age, this Bordeaux aspires one day to make it into this closed circle. The life of a referee, with his repeated journeys, also allows him to indulge in photography, his other passion.

The Point : Can you explain to us how is organized the classification of the referees ?

Louis Boucharinc : At the international level, we have ranks that are called badges : white, bronze, silver and gold. Those that you see on the final of grand slam is gold. It is the cream of the arbitration world. I am, for my part, badge of bronze. We are constantly evaluated on the international competitions, the ATP World Tour, and the secondary circuits. It is these assessments which allow international bodies of arbitration to decide promotions of badges. Four other agencies (the ITF, the ATP, the WTA and the Committee of the grand slam) get together every year-end to make a kind of préliste of all the official ranking. They then discuss promotions. White Badge and badge of bronze, are of the reviews. Silver and gold, these promotions are.

How to evolve within the hierarchy ?

It really is a work on the medium-term. It takes many years of experience, having refereed many matches and undergone several evaluations in order to be able to move forward. For my part, when I established my calendar, I try to be very consistent in saying to me : “This tournament may be a good opportunity for me to know” with supervisors, players, chair umpires. I would not hesitate to return to a tournament a little less side to get a good evaluation. Calendar management is therefore essential, because this is what will allow us to maximize our chances.

So it is you who, as a player, organize your calendar ?

A referee badge, gold has a contract with the ATP, he is a salaried employee. Me, I’m ” freelance “, I have manage to find my tournaments. If you are nominated, transport, accommodation and meals are often taken care of. When you are a buff on a tournament on which you apply, there are conditions. In France, they are good. We have the same treatment as a designated arbitrator. This is not the case, for example, in Qatar, for the tournament of Doha, where the route is not supported. It is necessary to make some concessions. In Brazil, the requirements for being selected were good, but for the transport I had almost nothing. It was a strategic choice for me to go to South America to show me to people with whom I have ever worked with. I could have a little help from the federation. We can sometimes operate at a loss or get a small profit, but I feel it will serve me in the future. It is in the idea of a project, a coherent plan, to pass the higher grades. It is a profession of passion, a good compromise between the passion for tennis and travel. I have had the chance to go recently in Georgia for the Davis Cup, so that it is a place where I would never have thought to go initially.

What is it that drove you to the profession referee ?

When I was 12 years old, there has been a dispute between two players who confronted each other in my club. I was asked to climb on the chair to try to calm down, to reason, to bring the match to an end. Subsequently, it was pleasant to me, I was offered to do training within the League of aquitaine, since I am a native of Bordeaux. I spent the first diploma, called A1, departmental, A2, regional, and so on. If you like it, you always want to do a little more. We see our elders get there, so we said “why not me” ? At the time, I saw a colleague white badge get small matches at Roland-Garros, for the qualifying or first rounds, I was really pushed to continue. But it is not a vocation. In tennis, a national referee may officiate on an international competition. There was a lot in France. This is where we’re going to do our lines, repeat, form. We are going to be evaluated. For my part, it is the FFT who, one day, asked me to pass the first grade international after you have had a good return on my work. It is the white badge, I spent in 2013 at 19 years of age. White Badge, it is a degree of international recognition, not a certification. He will never chair a Masters 1000. It is from the badge of bronze that you are certified by all instances. I’ve spent in 2016. It is the federation who offered me the pass, I went for it. Each grade gives us a cap that is different depending on the tournament.

What training have you followed ?

We do not training as some of the referees in other sports. There are video tools that help us, a site made available by the FFT. But it has never really grouping, apart from a seminar at the end of the year. The training is done exclusively on the assessments, on the tournaments. The theory is done in the passage of the white badge, with the international rules and regulations of the ITF. At the bronze level, you learn the regulations, ATP, WTA, majors and Davis Cup. The theoretical part is made of white badge to bronze badge. It is estimated then you know the rules. This is one of the few sports where it is evaluated, trained on real matches. I perceive an indemnity at the end of each tournament in which I participate. This corresponds to a per diem on days worked. If I’m not working, I’m sick, I do not perceive anything.

How can you improve your learning ?

My main training is held on the short, but besides that I’m going to try out I refer to badges of gold, go see them officiate, observe them in a stress situation, see what is their body language, their communication with the players for inspiration, you can reuse it. There is a work on oneself, to do to know how to put ourselves in a bubble. I look much better in the matches today. Confidence is important, because, as the players, there are weeks in the year where you can be a little less good. The accumulation of matches and tournaments, good and bad situations, what we see of the other referees, it is a whole that allows us to build and better approach matches, to find his balance, his routine.

The arbitration, which is your full-time activity, he asked to make sacrifices ?

The sacrifices, it is to be little for me, seeing quite a few of my friends, life is a little unstable. On a season, a referee is travelling twenty weeks, thirty for some. For the life of the family, it is not what is best. I am passionate about photography. I try to take my camera, go to the city and to post photos on social networks. I combines my two passions, because the photo takes me also to the place, it allows me to escape when I no longer want to talk about tennis. We had the chance to travel a lot in many countries, it would be a shame to miss it. When I’m on my free time, these are things that are more traditional like go for a coffee with friends, go to the coast, recharge and cut off tennis to avoid exploding.

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