Into the top 40 in the World Rankings, a first Platinum quarter-final, and playing for France at the Men’s World Team Championships. The 2019-20 season has had a bit of everything for Baptiste Masotti, but he is most proud of the latter achievement, calling it a “dream come true”.
He was part of the French side at the WSF Men’s World Team Championships for the first time, in a squad that included Gregory Gaultier, who had been returning from a lengthy injury layoff, in his first major tournament for nearly 14 months, having been sidelined with a knee injury since the 2018 U.S. Open.
Baptiste loved the experience, and said the return of Gaultier gave a boost to the French squad, who eventually came away from Washington, D.C. with a Bronze medal.
“It was like a dream came true, I played in a few European Team Championships but the World Teams event, especially with this format, was unique,” Masotti admitted. “Our team was strong and the come back of Gregory Gaultier motivated us more than everything. We wanted to reach the final but in the end, the English side were better on the day.”
Along with playing for France in Washington, D.C., Masotti has also breached the top 40 of the World Rankings for the first time. He currently sits at his highest ever position in the standings, at World No.37, with the rankings now frozen due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“That’s something I was working very hard for, I was always first or second reserve in all major tournaments, and I was hoping to be entered into some of those,” he explained. “Now I am entering into every tournament, but it’s not only playing those, we need to be ready for them and take the opportunities. I am proud that I reached the top 40 in February, but I am looking fo more, and this is only the beginning.”
As he is now into that top 40, the Frenchman now gets into all the major tournaments, which was a goal of his from the start of the season. The 25-year-old made his big breakthrough in front of the Pyramids at the CIB Egyptian Squash Open, where he reached the quarter-finals of a Platinum event for the first time in his career.
He beat three higher ranked players to reach the last eight, in experienced Spaniard Borja Golan, 2018 British Open champion Miguel Rodriguez, and Malaysian starlet Eain Yow Ng. Masotti is trying to use those experiences to become a better player.
“It’s very good to see how the top players prepare themselves during big events, to be part of those tournaments is pretty cool,” the Frenchman said. “I played at the Tournament of Champions in front of all my family and that was unique. I got the chance to play in front of the Pyramids and in Grand Central Station. These two venues were something I was dreaming about when I was a kid!”
Talking of New York, and the young Frenchman had another big win there. Although he only made it through to the last 32, he got the better of former England No.1 Adrian Waller in the first round. Masotti had family watching, so he was very happy to get the job done, especially with the prize of playing at Grand Central Terminal to follow…
“I played very well against him, all my family were there and I really wanted to win this one to play in Grand Central Terminal. I never doubted myself or my abilities, I knew I could beat him. But every match is different and it doesn’t mean that I will beat him every time. I was very happy with this one but on the next day I lost to Youssef Soliman. I think I didn’t control my emotions on court. This tournament is like my season, some ups, some downs.”
As the 25-year-old eluded to, there have been ups and downs across the course of the 2019-20 campaign, which also saw him lose out in the first round of the PSA Men’s World Championship in Qatar in November. He knows that consistency will be the key if he is to go further in the sport, that’s why he does not rate his season too highly.
“I think will be 6/10, that’s pretty weird because of the virus. And I had a lot of ups and downs during this season, some very high like my quarter-final in Egypt, but some defeats as well which really hurt me,” the World No.37 explained. “I am pretty sure I can be more consistent during the full season. But that’s still a pretty good year, and I am just starting to reach the next level, and I am glad about that.”
So, what next for Baptiste Masotti? What can the Frenchman achieve the sport? He sits World No.37 at the age of 25, with plenty of time ahead of him. His main goal is to reach the top 20, and he knows he has that within him.
“This season show me that I am able to fight with the top players, so I would like to be in the top 20 in the next few years.”