Noah Fleischman, Sports Editor
Through receiving messages and photos on WhatsApp, Maxence Bertimon was able to see what playing tennis at VCU was like from afar.
His identical twin brother, Charles Bertimon, sent countless pictures and messages to him, showing the city, while Maxence Bertimon played tennis at Georgia Gwinnett College, a NAIA-level school in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
“I had a lot of images from him, a lot of comments,” Maxence Bertimon said. “He shared with me everything about VCU, and I knew the city even before coming here and I knew the team.”
Just before this year’s season, Maxence Bertimon transferred to VCU from Georgia Gwinnett, joining his brother.
“I felt grateful when I knew that I could be a part of the team,” Maxence Bertimon said. “That’s just a dream come true for me.”
The Champagne Sur Seine, France, natives both ventured to the United States for collegiate tennis, just a year apart. Charles Bertimon came first, enrolling at VCU in 2019. Maxence Bertimon took an extra year to finish high school before playing at Georgia Gwinnett last year.
Maxence Bertimon shined on the court at the NAIA level, finishing the 2019-20 season as the No. 1 ranked singles player. He posted an 11-0 singles record and was 7-0 in doubles.
When coach Anthony Rossi was recruiting Charles Bertimon to VCU, Maxence Bertimon wanted to play professionally after high school. Rossi didn’t know if Maxence Bertimon would decide to play at the collegiate level, but he held out hope.
“I was praying for it,” Rossi said of having the twins on the team. “I didn’t feel like it would be possible to wait another year to have him, but it happened so I’m really, really happy with that.”
During the 2019-20 season, Maxence Bertimon was able to attend a VCU match and see his brother excel on the team. He also was able to meet the team, most of which returned for this season.
“I saw my twin very happy to be a part of the team,” Maxence Bertimon said. “I felt like it was a family.”
Although it’s uncertain if Maxence Bertimon will be able to play in competition this season, as he awaits a NCAA waiver, he doesn’t think the transition to the Division-I level will be difficult. Bertimon is practicing with the team as he awaits the NCAA’s decision.
“We had to be at 100% each match,” Maxence Bertimon said of Georgia Gwinnett. “It was difficult for me because I started in the fourth position in the lineup, so I had to improve my game every day to be able to play better on the team.”
Rossi said that although the twins are similar players, Maxence Bertimon brings more variety in his game than Charles.
“I feel like he can do a little bit of everything, and that’s really good about him,” Rossi said of Maxence. “He’s an all-around player and really gives us variety. So that’s easy for a coach to have that type of player.”
For Charles Bertimon, having his twin in Richmond is a plus. The two share the same interests — they often go on runs throughout the city as well as cook together.
“It’s really huge because I feel like only him and I can understand,” Charles Bertimon said. “We are twice as strong together.”
The twins live together in the same apartment with two other teammates. Charles Bertimon said the two have spent a lot of time exploring the city together since Maxence Bertimon joined him in Richmond.
“I think my teammates are getting jealous because I spend a lot of time with him,” Charles Bertimon said while laughing.
Rossi said their relationship is easy to see on and off the court, but their work ethic also stands out.
“They’re always the first ones to come to training and the last ones to leave,” Rossi said. “They do pretty much everything right. The level of maturity at that age, it’s pretty rare to see. … It’s a no-brainer to have those two on the team.”