Steve Darcis is a Belgian professional tennis player. He has won two ATP titles and achieved a career-high singles ranking of World No. 44 in May 2008. Wikipedia
At the end of 2015, he joined Artengo as a technical partner on Shoes and Textile.
“I joined the Artengo team for the quality of its products, for its obsession with continuous improvement, and for the family spirit which reigns in this great team” Steve Darcis
Following his win at the first round of the 2017 Australia open; we (aka Decathlon Australia) were lucky enough to catch him for an interview! Here it is below:
Q: Congratulations for your game yesterday against Sam Groth. I was wondering, after having conceded the first set, how did you manage to reverse the situation, and dominate the three following games?
A: I knew it would be a complicated game, with short and intense rallies; Sam likes to close the point in 2-3 strikes.
At the beginning it was really hard for me, the surfaces here are really fast. He started really well, aggressive, and surprised me. From the middle of the first set, I started to understand where he was serving. That gave me more confidence and lowered my stress, I knew I’d get more and more opportunities. After the first set, I calmed down, I took some time to think about what I should do, and I started to return almost all his serves. Then he had to take more risks, and made more mistakes, so it became easier for me.
Q: It’s the 6th time you’ve made it to the final table of the Australian open, and you’ve made the qualifiers 5 times, how is your Australian open experience?
A: It’s the first year I was able to pass the first round on the final table too, I am very happy! It took a while, I had to wait until I was 33 years old to achieve it. It’s always hard for me since I am not a big fan of heat, and it’s incredibly hot here in Australia. This year I am way fitter than previous years, so I’m so happy to be here and to pass the first round. The Australian Open is fabulous, it’s really great for players, the infrastructure is perfect. Always large crowds and a great ambience.
Q: Will you take a few days off after the tournament, to enjoy Australia?
I’ve already done it several times 😉 Always great time here! I have been here since mid-December already, so I might go back home right after.
Q: How do you perceive Artengo and Decathlon?
Sincerely, extremely well; In my opinion, at the beginning (about 10 years ago), Artengo’s image was OK but not great, low price and low end products. But now, frankly speaking, in the last few years; whether it is clothes, shoes, racquets, it has nothing to envy about the other “big brands”, and this year (2017), it’s actually looking even better. The Artengo team are professional with huge reactivity: my product feedback was taken into account rapidly, and concrete improvements are already on the new 2017 range. They always want to do better and better, to find the best materials, to satisfy tennis players around the world. I am really happy to be part of this team.
Q: Can you tell us more about your partnership with Artengo?
We are in constant contact, with the partnership manager, but also with the different product managers: shoes, textile. I am trying the products: How do the shoes react, how do the shirts deal with the heat, with humidity. I give my feedback, my advice, they ask questions… It’s great and it’s different: the previous brand I was collaborating with were providing products, and that was all. Artengo really values my feedback and implements them concretely. It feels really close, like a family. I think their strategy of being helped by professional players is a winning one; they are definitely on track to do better and better products.
Q: Yesterday you were not using an Artengo racquet during your game, is there any reason?
I had a contract with my previous sponsor until the end of 2016. I have been playing with their racquets for more than 15 years. I have started to test Artengo racquets only a few weeks ago, they prepared 4 models for me – they were really good. Again, you can feel they want to create the best products, the feedback from pro players help a lot. Amongst the 4, one especially got my attention, I’ll definitely use it more and more this year, and I’ll probably start to use it on the circuit next year.
Q: What is your favorite Artengo product?
I love the socks! Definitely the best ones you can find on the market, I also love the “double shorts” – the two layered ones – when it’s a bit cold outside, this product brings an amazing feeling!. (Editor: coming soon in Decathlon Australia)
Q: Do you see Artengo & Decathlon succeeding in Australia?
Well, I think it’s a huge success in every country it goes to. Australians are super sporty and I don’t see how it couldn’t work. You go to any Decathlon store on a Saturday afternoon, I think there’s no space to walk, it’s so crowded… It‘s how it is, every time you go to a Decathlon store, even if you didn’t have a specific product to buy, you always buy plenty of things. The quality is great, the prices are very attractive, and the range is huge, you can find anything you need for your sport. It should also be a great success here down under.
Q: (Joke) Will you attend the inauguration of our first Australian store?
If am around for sure, but I don’t think I’ll do such a long plane trip (editor: Belgium=> Australia) if there’s no tennis tournament 😉
Huge thanks, Steve, for your time, we wish you all the best for your match against Diego Schwartzman, enjoy the rest of your Australian trip. We are very proud to have you as our technical partner!