Remi Rossi won Tahiti their first match of the TotalEnergies BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals 2020 last month, and promptly burst into a delighted jig. It was, he said, the biggest moment of his career. He promised a wild celebration with the team, but given the COVID safety protocols, wasn’t quite sure what form that would take.
Rossi’s defeat of the Netherlands’ Robin Mesman was a rare victory for the team, who have been subjected to 0-5 scores on their European sojourn, starting with the Sudirman Cup in Vantaa and continuing into the men’s and women’s team events in Aarhus. While they weren’t surprised at the blank they drew in each tie, Rossi admitted it was dispiriting.
“Yes, it was pretty hard, we knew that were going to lose, but when you lose all the time it’s hard to be focussed, but we know our opponents were a lot better than us. But it’s hard to always get (beaten) 5-0 and 5-0.
“It’s just unbelievable to be here. We wanted to win one match. So it’s crazy for us.”
There were tense moments, with the moment nearly slipping by. The crowd was backing him, but Rossi was denied three match points before he converted the fourth at 21-16 24-23, threw his racket away, and did a unique celebratory jig.
“I was close to losing the second game. So I began to be like, okay, I can lose the second and I tried to give everything because I was so tired. And when I won this match at 24-23 I was like POW! I was so happy, to just enjoy being on the court. And I don’t know what went in my mind but let’s just enjoy the moment, only that.
“I tried to be focused on the present moment every time. But there were some thoughts coming, like don’t lose that point… And I tried to not control that, just tried to meditate, just observe, you know. I was nervous but tried to be focused on the points.
“I wanted to get a point for Tahiti. Because I knew that it was kind of the only chance we had to win a point. So yeah, I did it. That was my objective. And so I’m really happy with that.”
Having been used to finishing second-best – he lost the men’s singles finals at the Oceania Championships 2019 and 2016 and men’s doubles final in 2016 – the Tahitian knew how important it was to not just reach the line, but actually cross it.
“I’m not a man of the final, you know. The only time I won gold medal was at the Pacific Games, it’s not a big level, because it’s only the among the islands of the Pacific. I finished runner-up five times at the Oceania Championships, two times in the junior and three times in the senior championships. I took the positives from that but yeah, I’m a sportsman so I want to win all the time.”
Tahiti eventually lost the tie 1-4, but the team was in a celebratory mood long before the tie actually concluded.
Article adapted from Badminton Oceania website.