APP Player Spotlight: Stefan Auvergne

APP Player Spotlight: Stefan Auvergne

Up next is Stefan Auvergne, a native of France who is fresh off a silver medal at The Boca Raton 2023 APP New York City Open.

APP
|
June 7, 2023
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The APP is home to incredible pickleball players, of all ages and performance levels, who come with a rich range of stories that brought them to the sport we love. In our APP Player Spotlight series, we shine the light on the vast range of pickleball players and give them a platform to tell their own stories. Up next is Stefan Auvergne, a native of France who is fresh off a silver medal at The Boca Raton 2023 APP New York City Open.


APP: Start by telling us your name, age, and where you're from.  

Auvergne: My name is Stefan Auvergne. I'm 34 years old, I'm originally from France, and I moved over to the United States to attend NC State University when I was 18.


APP: What’s something that you love to do off the pickleball court?

Auvergne: Off the pickleball court, I enjoy car racing at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.  


APP: When and how did you get involved in pickleball?  

Auvergne: It was actually at my CrossFit gym. I saw other members playing in the parking lot, and I was like, what is this weird game? I wanted to give it a shot and it turned out to be a lot of fun. I really enjoyed playing and then found out that there were tournaments, so three weeks after that I was hooked and, and I started competing.


APP: Did you play other sports before finding pickleball?  

Auvergne: I played tennis growing up. My goal was to play in college, and that's one of the reasons why I moved over to the United States. Ultimately, I did not end up playing in college, but I still developed the footwork and tennis skills that carried over nicely to pickleball. I was also a competitive professional gamer, in 2006, mainly playing Call of Duty 2.


APP: How did you get involved in car racing?  

Auvergne: It was more of a hobby, but having the opportunity to get a sporty car and being in Austin, it was a no-brainer. I was able to drive the car on the Circuit of the Americas. I enjoy sporty street cars, but nothing too crazy.


APP: Back to pickleball, what's been your career highlighted pickleball to this point?  

Auvergne: Playing in my first mixed doubles tournament and beating Simone Jardim is definitely up there. She’s one of the all-time greats. Also, earning my first pro medal.


APP: What are your goals for this year?  

Auvergne: My goals for this year are to improve and be the best player I can be, and then hopefully get on the podium a lot more often and get some gold and silver medals.  


APP: You have a unique story in that you're one of the few elite pros on the APP Tour that are not from the United States. There’s been more than 48 million adult Americans that have played this sport now, and the sport is continuing to grow globally.  What would it mean for you to see pickleball in the Olympics, and to represent your home country of France?

Auvergne: It would be incredible. Pickleball is a great sport and it really brings a lot of people together. I think it would be awesome if we could kind of spread pickleball to the world, and the Olympics would help it grow everywhere else. I love it – I hope it happens. Representing France would be an amazing opportunity, and I'm working hard to hopefully make it happen.

 

APP: How did you first get involved with the APP?  

Auvergne: When I first started playing the APP was, and still is, the main pickleball tour. It was an easy decision to join the APP. If I was going to actually take a shot and become a pro pickleball player, the APP was the best fit for me.  


APP: What does it mean to you to be a part of a league where there’s so much opportunity, where anyone can reach the top level?  

Auvergne: It's super exciting. You never know from weekend to weekend what's going to happen, who's going to be the new top player on tour. A lot of cool stories come from the APP – it’s great.  


APP: What does pickleball mean to you?  

Auvergne: To me, pickleball means a second chance. After I left tennis, I found that competitive aspect, the social aspect and just a lot of fun overall in pickleball. I feel like that happens to a lot of players, and that’s part of the beauty of the sport right now.


APP: What's been the biggest challenge for you in this whole process?  

Auvergne: Making a name for yourself is always tricky. That obviously leads to good partnerships and just being a successful player on tour. Being consistent with your results helps a lot and is challenging for sure, especially when you start out.  


APP: What advice would you give to young athletes who are trying to become professionals in this sport?  

Auvergne: Focusing on playing singles first is definitely one way to do it. You don't need any teammates for that, and you could practice hard on your own, show up at tournaments, and hopefully make a run. I think ultimately that will help you get doubles partners – and then you'll be able to excel in both singles and doubles.


APP: Switching gears to some rapid-fire questions. Who’s your favorite athlete?

Auvergne: Roger Federer. Easy.


APP: Do you have any pre-match music or songs to get you the right headspace?  

Auvergne: I love hip hop, or house music like Kaskade and Morgan Page.  


APP: Favorite pre-match snack?  

Auvergne: I like those little carb gummy chewables for energy.  


APP: What about post-match?  

Auvergne: Depends if we're celebrating – it might get wild. It could be anything from fried chicken to burgers to anything, anything in between.  


APP: Any hidden talents?  

Auvergne: I was a pretty good video game player growing up, I even played professionally.


APP: Any guilty pleasures?  

Auvergne: I love candy and chocolate, and great ice cream. Ben and Jerry’s is my go-to.


APP: What motivates you?  

Auvergne: I like challenges – reaching those challenges and starting new ones.


Auvergne and the rest of the APP pros return to action at the 2023 APP Newport Beach Open, June 28-July 3 at The Tennis and Pickleball Club at Newport Beach, in Orange County, California. Stay tuned for the next installment of the Player Spotlight series.

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