With his jet-set lifestyle, the French DJ Bob Sinclar is hard to catch. After four weeks of discussions, the interview about all things tennis will finally take place over the phone. “You’re OK mate? Because I’m in the studio right now.” Yes we’re pretty good. Interview.
It’s no secret: You have a soft spot for tennis. But since when?
Since forever, really. I started when I was 8 years old at the Carreau du Temple in Paris, an hour per week. I don’t have much talent, but I try, you know what I mean? At tennis, you’re alone; you’re a gladiator in the arena who has to fight against his opponent, but also against himself.
Since you were a kid you are also partial to tennis players’ dress code...
I had posters of Yannick Noah, Henri Leconte, John McEnroe, Mats Wilander and Bjorn Borg in my bedroom. Then I started collecting the outfits of Agassi and Borg, the more fluorescent the better. I always try to mix up my clothes when I play tennis. Whenever I can, I go to see games and I take the opportunity to tell the players: "Hey, if you’ve got a little T-shirt, something kind of new, I'm into it.
" I always try to wear different things. I have no talent but the look does matter!
Who do you think the best style on the tour?
Roger Federer. I also like Tsonga, when he wears flashy stuff. There's one guy who always takes care of himself, and that's Fernando Verdasco (Laughs
). Ah, he really does take care of his look, oh boy. Chicks dig that.
And if we go back in time…
Björn Borg: long hairs, headband, the whole thing. He was handsome. Sponsored by Fila, a nice vintage touch, he was amazing. Otherwise, my cult favourite is Henri Leconte - for the madness, for his ups-and-downs. You can’t have one without the other anyway. That’s someone who could have played on a cloud. I love a bit of drama, and with Henri there always was. Always.
And in the ladies?
Shit, what’s her name… She has amazing legs. A Russian bird, she’s gorgeous, fucking out of this world…
No, stop it… (He sighs
). Not her… But I’m not going to say anything otherwise you’re going to write bullshit. Here you go, I got it: it's Daniela Hantuchovà! She has an amazing body, with her little skirt and all, really cute.
The look seems essential for you. I’ve been told that you even snoop around online…
(He cuts the sentence
). Exactly! I’m on Ebay all the time. Well, a little less these days, because my collection is becoming quite impressive, but yeah sure, I bid on some Agassi shirts which are worth a fortune.
It's my biggest extravagance: Agassi’s Wimbledon outfit, very rare, white of course, that sold for like £300. The top and the bottoms. Worn by him!
To get back talking about you, when you say that you have no talent, is that false modesty or are you really that bad?
I’m a recreational player but I know how to get the ball over the net. Tennis is really a sport when you can spot very quickly those with talent. I would have loved to be a professional sportsman. Be with your mates, exercise all the time, do tournaments… Now I have another athlete’s life: super-organized, super-healthy, that is really like high-level sport.
You’re gonna win Riton, you’re gonna fight against Sampras and you’re gonna kick his arse.
So you’re gonna tell me that you don’t smoke and that you don’t take any drugs…
Never! I’ve never smoked; I never drink a drop of alcohol, not even wine. Because my art express itself at night I should do whatever… No, the club, it’s my stage! Me, what I like is sugar, strawberry tarts (Laughs
). I have a sweet tooth, but I’ve never been attracted to alcohol.
Do you still play often?
Yeah, of course. As much as I can really. When I’m on tour, I try to take nights off depending on the tournaments. I mixed for the Italian Open, for the Madrid Open, at Paris for Roland Garros, and for the kids’ day. I always try to link sport and music. They are two disciplines that go together well.
So in fact, you book a gig depending on the ATP schedule…
Often, yeah. To go see my mates as well. Now I know quite a lot of players, whether it’s Paul-Henri Mathieu, Bennet’ (Julien Benneteau, ed.
), Mahut, Simon. So if I need a little ticket for a tournament, I give them a ring.
Do you hang out regularly?
Paul-Henri Mathieu, yeah, we invite each other to our birthdays. I took him to Ibiza and Marbella for 3, 4 days last summer for him to chill before going on physiotherapy in Saint-Raphael. You know, these men are not like us. Mentally, you have to be a monster. He came back from hell. He couldn’t walk, he lost all his muscles. He got his knee smashed, so they could put some gristle back inside. It’s terrible. Well, I think that now, he proved that he was bionic. He did three amazing rounds at Roland Garros.
It’s not only the French athletes that enjoy what you do apparently…
Janko Tipsarevic, is a massive DJ fan! He’s a bit mad, he always wants to party. Very, very nice. Serena Williams insisted on meeting me before Roland Garros. Otherwise, Almagro, he always asks me for a little USB key with some tunes on it. I also made a compilation for Roger (Federer, ed.
) for his birthday.
Would you recommend listening to one of your songs before getting on the court, to get in the mood?
I’m not sure, but you know, there’s music at Flushing Meadows for the US Open. There should be some music at Roland Garros as well. It lacks a bit of party spirit in France. Not uptight, but a bit of modernity in tennis would do some good. You have to understand these events as shows
What is your best tennis memory?
The Davis Cup BNP Paribas in 1991! Without a doubt. With Henri Leconte coming out of nowhere, and Yannick Noah, who once again supported him - Leconte was in a wheelchair a few months before you know what I mean– and he screamed to him: “You’re gonna win Riton, you’re gonna fight against Sampras and you’re gonna kick his arse.”
And he did kick his arse!
And your last tennis game, how was it?
The last time I touched the ball, it was actually against Murray at Roland Garros, for the kids’ day. Hard to win that one (Laughs
). Playing against the pro, that’s really cool. You go see your mates and you tell them: “Well, I played against Murray on the centre court. You got something to say?
” No, Ok , thanks and see ya.
Interview by Victor Le Grand
Out since January, Bob Sinclar last album called « Disco Crash » is available in all the good records shop.