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Placette/Richard: “King of the Court is addictive”

Utrecht, the Netherlands |

French Lézana Placette and Alexia Richard have made a name for themselves in Queen of the Court. From their first outing in Utrecht 2020, where they reached the semifinals, they have been a force to be reckoned with. In Doha last January they had their ‘crowning’ moment, winning silver at the Series Finals. They have a tough group in Utrecht for CEV Queen & King of the Court European Finals 2022, but as addicts of the game they are focused on playing as many rounds as possible, while having the best time on court.

In 2020 Lézana and Alexia were called to Utrecht at the last moment. Never having played the spectacular and fast-paced format, they went in without any expectations. What they found out was that the game of King of the Court fits them like a glove. “The rhythm is King of the Court is really high and there are many things happening on the court. The time, points of each team, who will play after you, etc. You have to be really open, but don’t think too much, because you don’t have the time”, Lézana explains.

“It’s a good format for us because we have been playing together for a long time”, Alexia adds. “We know each other perfectly. We don’t need to speak in between or during points. That’s great for us.”

Silver in Doha
Ever since that first tournament in Utrecht they have become Queen of the Court strongholds. They have a surprising and spectacular style of playing, with second balls, fast sets and amazing defending as part of their skills. In Doha last January everything came together for them, after almost being eliminated in the first phase. Alexia remembers it well.

“It was amazing, especially because we also had the longest stay. We had nine consecutive side-outs, so that was a bonus. To come back home not only with a second place, but also the longest stay; it was great. A great way to start the year with a good result. After that we had more confidence in tournaments. It was really important for us.”

As important as that second place was, it might have been themselves who were their biggest opponent. When playing King of the Court they have a strategy: don’t be last. “Yes, that’s what we say”, Alexia concurs. “In the Doha-final we were in the final round with three teams, and we still said: ‘don’t be last’. We didn’t say: ‘okay, we can be first’. We didn’t finish third, but next time we will remember to play for the gold”, she says with a big smile.

Not being last in every round has brought them far. Semifinals in Utrecht 2020, Hamburg 2021 and 2022, podium in Doha. Lézana tells us what their motivation is in playing King of the Court. “We try to play without stress, but at the same time there’s loud music, the time is ticking, the other teams. It’s a lot of stress, but it’s good stress. We really enjoy having all that information and input. We play for the win, but also for the opportunity to play more rounds, because it’s addictive. It’s a pure shot of adrenaline playing in those conditions. We play for the opportunity to play more.”

CEV Queen & King of the Court European Finals 2022
The inaugural Queen & King of the Court European Finals are just a few days away. Lézana and Alexia have been placed in Pool A of the Group Stage, which will be played on Wednesday September 7th at 17.30 local time in Utrecht. In their group they’ll have to take on one former international Queen and a German Queen. Maria Belén Carro teams up with Sofía González Racero, Chantal Laboureur pairs with former indoor player Louisa Lippmann.

On top of that pool are Swiss former European Champions and Nations Cup winners Tanja Hüberli and Nina Brunner, who will play in their first King of the Court tournament. Lézana views the pool as follows: “It’s an interesting pool. Hüberli and Brunner are one of the top teams in the world. We have to see how they will manage this kind of event. We saw many times that good teams don’t know how to play and can’t manage. So, we don’t know, anything can happen. The other two teams of Spain and Germany are not used to playing together. It will be interesting to see how they will do.”

Best friends found in King of the Court
Two years ago Lézana and Alexia met the Japanese team of Miki Ishii and Sayaka Mizoe at King of the Court. “Since that event we have become best friends and we do a lot of things together. They are very fun, and they have the King of the Court mindset”, Lézana explains.

When asked about who they would team up with, if their regular partner would be unavailable, their answer is clear: “If we would have to play one day with someone else it’ll be them for sure!”