This time, is it the right one?
After having won the silver medal at the European Championship four times in a row, the French women's basketball team hopes to climb the small additional step that would take it to a new continental coronation.
This is in any case the objective displayed by the back Marine Johannès, while the Blue start their Euro (June 17 to 27), this Thursday in Strasbourg against Croatia, before a possible final phase in Spain.
At 26, the Asvel player, revealed five years ago during the Olympic Games in Rio, has not changed over time: she has kept this madness on the floor which contrasts with her usual reserve at the time to evoke his personal case or that of France.
She is no less ambitious and confident when it comes to talking about the crazy summer of her selection, which will also play the Olympics in Tokyo (July 23 to August 8).
How do you apprehend this summer so special with the Euro and the Olympics to be played in three months?
We must admit that it's cool after a season made complicated by the Covid.
It's good to get back to a European Championship and the Olympics, we can't wait!
Even if for the moment we don't really realize that we are going to do the two competitions, we are necessarily very excited at the idea of doing these two competitions so closely together.
What would be the dream summer of the French basketball team?
A gold medal at the Euro and a podium at the Olympic Games!
We imagine that the presence of the public in France is damn expected within the group?
We have already had an audience during the preparation matches and it's true that it's really nice to find the atmosphere in the rooms.
There will normally be 3600 places available in Strasbourg, it's really cool to be able to play again in front of family, friends, supporters.
It was not easy to play behind closed doors all season.
The Federation helps us to play these events at home because we know that playing in France brings us to the floor.
The semi-finals and the final, on the other hand, will be played in Spain ...
This will motivate us even more to win at them!
You remain on four consecutive silver medals at the Euro.
What is France lacking to finally win gold?
It is true that we have narrowly failed each time.
Frankly, since the TQO, I think we have grown as a team and even individually, we have matured.
We feel it on a daily basis and we realize that we are really capable of great things on the ground if we continue to work in this direction.
I think we have the team to take this step.
We feel real confidence in your words!
Yes, we were able to string together the friendly matches, continue to work and we feel that we really have a group that lives well.
We get along well, we communicate more and more with each other or with the staff, so I think there is a good “mood”.
I've been in the France team for five years now and I notice that we have really improved as a team.
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For almost three months, you will have to live only between players.
How do you approach this life in isolation?
It's true that it's special and maybe after a while we'll get bored of it (
But with the Covid and our objectives, we know we have to go through it.
In Strasbourg, it will be a hotel-gymnasium, nothing more.
Already in normal times we have very little time off, with the Covid, we will be forced to stay at the hotel.
5 years ago, you discovered the Olympics in Rio, at only 21 years old.
Was it a real dream for you?
Yes, I did not really expect to be selected, especially since I was playing my first year in the France A team. I was living the dream to the fullest!
It will be different this summer in Tokyo, there will not be the same atmosphere because of the Covid, but it is already a chance to play the Olympic Games once in your life, so twice ... Five years ago, we had failed one place (4th) so now we really hope to be able to do something.
Time has passed since these Olympics where basketball France made your discovery.
How did you evolve within this group?
I think I have grown and matured, I really feel it in a club, now the hardest part is to achieve it in the national team.
In general, I remain reserved, because it is in my nature, but I manage to open up more and more because I really know everyone now, I like to room, little things like that (
There are really leaders, like Sandrine (Gruda), the captain.
After all, all the players can contribute something, it's a real strength, and that's why I don't like being defined as a leader.
Anyone can bring to the field.
Do you feel more expected and scrutinized by your opponents over time?
Yes, I feel like it's a little different from 2016. At the time, I was the youngest and you didn't necessarily expect me to be there. Knowing that I grew up as a player and a person, I may be more expected, but I don't necessarily care. In the France team, the danger can come from anywhere and it's difficult for the opponent to defend on us and I hope it will be!