French Open maverick Corentin Moutet doesn't mean to 'make people crazy'

France's Corentin Moutet celebrates after beating Austria's Sebastian Ofner. Picture: Emmanuel Dunand / AFP

France's Corentin Moutet celebrates after beating Austria's Sebastian Ofner. Picture: Emmanuel Dunand / AFP

Published Jun 1, 2024


French Open maverick Corentin Moutet insists he doesn't mean to "make people crazy".

However, in a rollercoaster career which has seen him come close to a punch-up in one match, disqualified from another while also becoming an accomplished pianist, fans may disagree.

The 25-year-old Moutet is the last Frenchman standing at Roland Garros this year and is on the cusp of a quarter-final place.

Win or lose against world number two Jannik Sinner on Sunday, the clash will not be dull.

"It's not my first goal to make people crazy," said world number 79 Moutet who has made the last 16 of his home Slam for the first time having also reached the fourth round of the US Open in 2022.

He started his campaign with victory over Nicolas Jarry having defeated the Chilean in the bear pit of Santiago earlier this year.

"The fans (in Santiago) were behaving like a bunch of animals," Moutet's coach Petar Popovic told Tennis Majors.

"It was worst possible behaviour you can get at a tennis match. It was like football, they insulted Corentin non-stop. They swore at him between points, they booed or whistled as he was about to serve."

When Moutet triumphed, he summoned his inner Novak Djokovic, delivering a gushing a "cup of love" to his tormentors.

"When Jarry comes to Paris, there will be hell waiting," added Popovic.

Moutet won their French Open rematch in the first round this week in four sets.

'We don't provide coffee'

Moutet is not a player who gives ground.

At a 2022 Challenger event in Orleans, he and Bulgaria's Adrian Andreev shoved and pushed each other as they came to the net to shake hands.

Moutet claimed Andreev shouted abuse at him during the match and hinted he was keen to settle the dispute outside.

In that same year, he was disqualified from the Adelaide tournament after a series of disagreements with the umpire concluded with him swearing at the official.

"Different rules, different person. They'll treat me good when they'll need me," he wrote on social media.

An exasperated French tennis federation subsequently withdrew their financial and technical backing.

In Madrid this year, Moutet contested and lost a bizarre four-hour match with China's Shang Juncheng in which he demanded to be served a hot drink on a cold evening.

"Corentin, we don't provide coffee," he was told by the chair umpire. A fan bought him a cup instead.

"I was talking to my dad and I said 'What is the worst thing that can happen?' I told my team that the only player I didn't want to play was Corentin," Shang said.

"I don't want to see him in the first round of the draw. When I got him I just told myself: 'Win or lose I would have fun and enjoy every point'."

— Smoky (@Smoky_bdx) May 31, 2024

Moutet has won the crowd over in Paris by his unorthodox strokeplay.

In his third round win over Sebastian Ofner on Friday, he claimed nine points with underarm serves.

"When I see the opponent far from the line, sometimes it's an option. It's a shot that we can use, so if I can use it and win some points, I will use it," said.

In sharp contrast to his explosive behaviour on court, Moutet is a gifted pianist. During the pandemic he also released a rap record.

"I take music as therapy because it's nice to write and get rid of everything you are feeling inside, both good and bad," he told the ATP official site.

"I like the connection with people on social media as well. Even if you don't speak the same language, you can speak to a lot of people through music."