Kaitlyn Fulmore, Contributing Writer
Before every match at the center of the huddle, Quentin Coulaud leads the men’s tennis team with a cheer he wrote called “The Chant.”
After discovering the team had no set cheer before matches, Coulaud led the effort to create a new pregame tradition for the Rams.
“I’m really used to cheering and screaming for others,” Coulaud said. “It felt like I needed to bring something new, so I wrote that with some of my teammates. It just happened naturally.”
“We bleed black, we bleed gold,” the cheer goes. “We are the Rams. VCU. VCU.”
Since transferring to VCU from Georgia State this past fall, the fifth-year senior has brought a new form of energy to the team.
“He is very electric,” coach Anthony Rossi said. “That definitely helps us when we’re a little bit down at practice or even in the matches — he’s always boosting everyone around.”
Coulaud currently has an 8-6 record in singles and a 8-8 record in doubles with his partner, junior Charles Bertimon.
“He has a very strong character, but he’s really fun,” Bertimon said. “I like the energy he puts on the court, I can use it as fuel.”
Coulaud started the season strong, going undefeated until playing against Arizona State on March 12. Coulaud was also named A-10 Performer of the Week on March 4.
Coulaud partially attributes his success in tennis to his left-handedness. Only 10% of tennis players are left-handed, according to the United States Tennis Association, making Coulaud an uncommon opponent.
“I don’t think I would have reached this level if I wasn’t lefty. It gives me the advantage for some angles and some serves,” Coulaud said. “I basically have a little advantage because it is not as common, so people are not used to it.”
At six years old, Coulaud picked up his first tennis racket. Both of his parents played tennis and he tried to imitate them, Coulaud said.
“I won one tournament when I was a kid,” Coulaud said. “I was like ‘this is fun, I like to compete, I like to win, so let’s see where it goes.’”
The Saint-Brieuc, France, native proceeded to play for different clubs in his home country before moving to the United States to play Division I tennis at Georgia State.
During his four seasons at Georgia State, Coulaud moved from the No. 4 singles position to the No. 1 singles position, facing more challenging players each year. His freshman year, the team won the Sun Belt Conference championship. Coulaud earned Sun Belt Player of the Week in March 2020 before the season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, Coulaud said he wanted something more challenging. After hearing about VCU’s tennis team from different French players, including Bertimon, Coulaud decided to look more into the program. Coulaud transferred in the fall, and started preparing for the upcoming spring season.
“I met an unreal group of guys,” Coulaud said. “They all made me feel like I was family. I didn’t even have to adapt, they adapted to me.”
Both Coulaud’s long tennis career and experience from Georgia State has helped the Rams, according to his teammates.
“He has a lot of experience in college,” senior captain Inigo Torre Martin said. “He knows when you should push a little bit more, and when to take some risks. That’s something you learn throughout the years.”
Coulaud plans on staying in Richmond next fall to help coach and mentor the VCU men’s tennis team.
“It would be nice to see the other side of the court not as a player, but as a coach,” Coulaud said.
The team will compete in the upcoming Atlantic 10 tournament from April 29 to May 2 in Orlando, Florida. Coulaud wants to keep the team’s attitude up until then. In Florida, he will lead the team in the pregame chant one last time as a teammate.
“To end out my college career like this,” Coulaud said, “I couldn’t ask for more.”