French Squash has a new voice/face: Romain Suire

“Or how passion turns dreams into reality!

Fram Gommendy at the keyboard

If someone had told Romain Suire when he was 12 years old, wanting to become World Champion and cutting out pictures of his favourite players from SquashPlayer Magazine, that one day he would join the PSA, he certainly wouldn’t have believed it!

And yet, it happened a few weeks ago.

I recognise in him the energy I had when I arrived full-time on the PSA circuit, disturbing the well-organised ways of the incumbent journalists, all Anglo-Saxon males, who didn’t appreciate my ‘rocking the boat’ of traditions well-entrenched for generations…

For many squash fans, Romain is Romain SuiSui. The ‘Mad Presenter’ of French Squash, a volunteer who gives all his time and energy to entertain us, making us laugh, smile, and cry, with his passion for squash, his imagination, his wacky ideas, and his genius for connecting with the public, whether they are new or/and familiar with Squash in the Nantes Open.

But Romain is much more than that.

As the co-organiser of the Nantes Open, he is a formidable ‘idea mill’. He has ‘an idea per minute’ when it comes to promoting squash not only in France but also all around the world.

Far from the elitist vision and ‘risky sport’ perception of our sport, Romain and his team want to introduce squash to all population segments, bring squash to unexpected places, and, most importantly, bring it to the place it deserves… and for everyone.

“For me, squash can only develop through partnerships with events, sports, and brands, ” he explains. Organic growth is one thing, co-branding and a structured principle of ambassadors is another.

It’s about developing relationships with companies outside the box, in different places, with a different energy. We need to remove people’s somewhat ‘dusty’ image of our fabulous sport and change their perception of squash.”

As the author of the project ’30 Ideas to develop Squash,’ a circuit of several events with squash presented in unusual settings to 70% novice audiences and so many other projects generated by his educated brain, he is brimming with innovative, surprising and refreshing ideas.

He doesn’t hide his admiration for players like James Willstrop – ‘he killed me when I saw him being coached between games at Canary Wharf in London in March by his 8-year-old son against Shorbagy, nodding in agreement to his advice.’

Or like Ali Farag, whose calmness and intelligence in the game he particularly admires, to whom he said a few weeks ago that ‘as long as there are players like you on the circuit, I will fight to develop and prosper this sport that I passionately love‘.”

Passion, energy, marketing training, and entrepreneurial spirit – qualities that few in the squash world possess – all make Romain Suire an individual who, in my view, could revolutionize our sport.

“Today, I’ve decided to change my professional life. I was spending so much time as a volunteer and also with my brand Libre-Court, for which I reinvest all the profits into local actions and youth squash initiatives, among different activities, that I tried to no longer differentiate between my passion and my job.

“I think I have succeeded, first with achieving my MBA (Master’s level, so five years after high school, which gives me a double master’s) in product management and sports marketing.

‘Before, I was an idea mill, perhaps too much spontaneity and passion from experience in squash and expectation. Today, these ideas are noted, structured, documented, benchmarked, and ready to be implemented. I’ve also done a lot of preparatory work in terms of listening.

‘I’ve had so many in-depth conversations with people in the sports and squash world, small, medium, and large, and have gathered all my notes for over 20 years. This is also one of the reasons I sought this degree, and believe me, I worked very hard for it!

‘Now I will be able to express myself on behalf of the PSA and bridge the gap between the top-level, with all these champions I love so much, and the broader squash sphere that I hope to help grow.’

“I hope that we can achieve great things with all the stakeholders: squash institutions, the French Federation, leagues, departmental committees, associations, clubs. I also have the fortune of now working with another important sports event agency that has trusted me, notably on the Vendée Globe and many other large-scale competitions.

“The idea is to be able to cross partnerships, showcase squash with all its qualities, in a consistently win-win approach because, yes, I want to question, listen, and respond to what the trends on the ground will tell me, to the expectations.

“I am very proud to have reached this point, I thank the PSA and will put all my energy into ensuring that everyone feels listened to and heard, that the actions make sense. French squash has a great dynamic, we can really have fun with this enthusiastic and knowledge-rich ecosystem.”

HOW IT STARTED… September 27, 2016

Romain on FB:

“If someone had told me one day that I would be capable of acting the fool in front of thousands of people, enjoy it so much, and receive so many messages of encouragement and thanks, honestly, I would never have believed it.

Beyond these sports events, rich in emotions and encounters, it’s mainly a huge THANK YOU that I want to address to all those who trusted me and those who dared, starting from one more crazy idea, to entrust me with the responsibility of this kind of mission that goes far beyond the simple role of presenter. Artists, musicians, professionals from very different fields, lovers of their life and life itself, it’s just great, it’s just thrilling…

A huge thank you also to the photographers (Lauranne and her dad in particular) of this PSA international open squash of Nantes and generally to all its actors for their formidable work that just makes you want to go always further, always stronger, for the fun certainly but also for the love of this damn sport.

A final nod to my mom, who I hope would have been proud of her tall son, and probably amazed he could ballroom dance in front of everybody!…

See you next year in an even more quirky place!”

[And the rest is history.. Fram]