Jules Marie might not be the first name that pops up when discussing tennis, but the Frenchaman’s journey to the qualifiers of the Australian Open 2024 is an inspiration on its own.
The 31-year-old reached his career-best ranking of 228 in the summer of 2015, before retiring from professional tennis at the end of the year. However, he kept participating in local prize money tournaments to earn a living.
Besides serving as Novak Djokovic’s sparring partner at the French Open in 2021, following the counsel of his brother, he created a YouTube channel in which he shared tennis tips.
Winning his home title at the Caen event in December of 2021 prompted a wild idea of trying to re-launch his professional career in the sport with the aim of making the Roland Garros qualifiers, beginning at the ITF event in Portugal in the year 2022.
His idea was to share a behind-the-scenes video of his journey on tour with sponsors paying for his travel and accommodation, along with a videographer.
While some labelled his YouTube channel a gimmick, he ended the year breaking into the top 500 and gave himself yet another year thanks to crowdfunding.
And by the time the qualifiers for the 2023 edition of the Roland Garros rolled around, the Frenchman had climbed up to the 317th spot in the rankings. However, to get into the qualifiers a ranking position of around the 230 region would be ideal.
Hence he shifted his focus to the Australian Open, aiming to climb around 100 spots in a race against time.
He breached the 250 mark in August before an ankle injury sidelined him for a while before his November return, following which he made the finals of two events on the trot before claiming the title in his third attempt.
He played his last game of the calendar year in Kuwait, his 93rd fixture of the year. Along with his team, he has produced 15-minute videos of each of his games throughout the year.
Marie is up for a jump to the 226th spot in the rankings and is in line for a spot at the Australian Open qualifiers and is of the mind to share his journey with his 100,000+ followers on the video-sharing platform.