Matthias CASSE (BEL) looked exhausted and his face was marked by a few scratches. But the 26-year-old’s satisfaction at his second Paris Grand Slam success since 2020 was clear to see. Right after the awards ceremony, the world number one (-81 kg) was ready for a short interview.
How satisfied are you with today’s competition and your fifth Grand Slam victory?
Matthias Casse: “Very satisfied. All five fights were tough, three of which were only decided in a golden score. The victory in Paris really feels good. I like fighting here – in front of a french/belgium crowd. There’s definitely no better way to start the year than with a Grand Slam gold medal. It gives me confidence for the road to the Olympic Games in Paris. There are just under six months to go… I am really looking forward to the Games, my family will be there, my parents, my four brothers and my girlfriend.”
Were there any critical moments today on your way to the final?
Casse: “Every fight felt pretty tough, especially the quarter-final against Abylaikhan (ZHUBANAZAR/KAZ). If his score had been confirmed, a win would not be possible any more… Things can happen quickly in judo.”
How satisfied are you with your form, are you already at 100 per cent?
Casse: “I would say I’m at around 80 percent. I was at a training camp in Belgium last week and the focus is on the Olympic Games in July. That’s when it counts… There’s still a lot to improve.”
What competitions have you planned between now and Paris 2024?
Casse: “There are currently three: the Grand Slam in Tashkent (UZB) in four weeks’ time, then the European Championships in Zagreb (CRO) at the end of April and the World Championships in Abu Dhabi (UAE) in May.”
Author: EJU Media