Moroccan-French tennis player Elliot Benchetrit, who recently switched his athletic allegiance from France to Morocco, has expressed his hope to someday win the tennis competition at the Olympics.
Moroccan tennis players have so far participated in five different Olympics but were never able to reach the podium. Elliot Benchetrit hopes to change that.
“I want to win the Olympics with Morocco,” he declared during an interview with television channel 2M on Monday, December 28.
Elliot Benchetrit also shared his dream to help Morocco qualify to World Group I, the top group of the Davis Cup, known as the World Cup of Tennis.
Morocco currently competes in World Group II. The national tennis team has an upcoming match against Chinese Taipei in March or September 2021.
Winning against Chinese Taipei would secure Morocco a chance to compete in the World Group I Play-offs in 2022. The competition would then serve as an opportunity for Morocco to qualify for the top group of the Davis Cup.
“I know that Morocco has an upcoming match against [Chinese] Taipei. I hope that regulations would allow me to participate,” Elliot Benchetrit said.
“Qualifying to World Group I would be incredible,” he added.
The Moroccan-French athlete announced on Friday, December 25, that he will represent Morocco in future international events.
“I remain French, but on a tennis court I will play under the colors of Morocco,” he wrote on Instagram.
“Playing for Morocco, my father’s country of birth, will be an honor!” his publication said.
When asked about why he decided to switch his athletic allegiance from France to Morocco, Elliot Benchetrit said he admires the North African country, especially in the field of sports.
The tennis player added that Morocco is better than France in several aspects. “As we have seen during the COVID-19 crisis, Morocco has better capabilities in many fields,” he said.
Benchetrit considered his recent decision to be career-defining. “Sometimes we change coaches. For me, I changed the country,” he declared.
The 22-year-old athlete recalled that he previously competed in several junior tennis competitions in Morocco. During his young age, he felt inspired by prominent Moroccan players such as Younes El Aynaoui, Hicham Arazi, and Karim Alami.
“I want to fill their shoes someday and raise the Moroccan flag at the international level,” Elliot Benchetrit exclaimed.
Currently ranked 223rd worldwide, Benchetrit has a long journey ahead if he wants to reach the Top 25, an achievement that his three Moroccan idols — El Aynaoui, Arazi, and Alami — have all made during their careers.