Joachim Gerard, the future Belgian wheelchair tennis number 1, contracted poliomyelitis when he was nine months old and became paralysed in his right leg. Having decided to take control of his fate, the little boy learned to walk and only used his wheelchair to travel long distances. Surrounded and supported by a loving family who encouraged him to move forward, Joachim tried many different sports such as table tennis and swimming, which led him onto the competition circuit from the age of 8.
At the age of 12, unable to do physical activities following an operation, he attended the "Belgian Open Handisport", a wheelchair tennis tournament, and it was a real revelation for him! Fascinated by the game and the power of the players he saw, Joachim also wanted to try this sport, which he had never considered before. In 2000, he played his first match and never hung up his racket again.
Tennis then became central to the young man's life. Alongside his studies, Joachim won several victories and at the end of 2006 he was crowned world junior champion. He was just 18 years old and the world was opening itself up to him. The future would confirm this. In 2008, he won his first ITF tournament in Brazil; in 2010, he finished his computer science studies but his choice was made - he would be a professional tennis player.
Since then, Joachim has continued to reveal the full extent of his talent, supported by the Administration of Physical Education and Sports of the Wallonia Brussels Federation (Adeps) and the French-speaking Handisport League. He won the French Open doubles on his first appearance in 2014, won the bronze medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016 and then reached the finals of masters and grand slam tournaments, including the Australian Open, where he won the singles on 17 February 2021.
He is an enthusiastic and combative all-rounder, and nothing seems to satisfy his ferocious appetite. Armed with unfailing determination and a thirst for victory, Joachim Gérard continues to write new chapters in a very beautiful story.
Discover the other episodes: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLR92G6D3xglDTnzUhIcuqWPgWfrbIu_FH
Les Belges Histoires
WBI, in partnership with RTBF, invites you to discover the portraits of French-speaking Belgians who are promoting Wallonia-Brussels.