Camille Serme: What the British Open Means to Me

Six years ago, Frenchwoman Camille Serme claimed her first major title with a victory at the British Open, held at the Airco Arena in Hull.

That was the moment that the now-World No.4 announced herself to the world as one of the sport’s main contenders, and she explained to us just how special that victory in Hull was.

“Well, the British Open always has been very special since my junior career because it was the biggest tournament as a junior. We didn’t have a World Championships, you know, at under 13, 15, 17. So [it has] always been very special. Winning it as a junior was amazing and I never thought I would be able to win it as a senior. So yeah, it’s a very special one obviously. I think the, for me is the biggest one after the World Championships,” she explained.

“It was my first major so it was obviously very special. I think the whole scenario was amazing because I beat [Nour El] Sherbini in the quarter-finals in five, I think 11-9 in the fifth. Then I was supposed to play Raneem El Welily, but she lost to Delia Arnold who had the tournament of her life. Because she came out of qualification and made it to the semi-final so that was amazing. And then made it to the final against Laura Massaro. I mean, playing Laura in the final of the British was, you know, dream final and yeah, it was always a big battle against Laura mentally especially, so beating her in England. I mean, the whole thing was pretty amazing.”

Prior to that point, the Frenchwoman’s biggest title was the Silver 25 level Monte Carlo Classic, which came 18 months before her British Open crown.

She admits that although she knew that she had the ability to taste success at the highest level of the sport, Serme also was trying not to put too much pressure on her own shoulders.

“So at the time, I hadn’t won any major tournaments yet. But I knew I had the ability of doing it but until you’ve done it, you’re like, ‘I know I can but I’ve never done it’. Like, it’s it’s very tricky. And I think winning against Laura, who just beat Nicol David in the semi-final, like the GOAT of the game. It was just very special and yeah, obviously gave me a lot of confidence. I was like, finally, I proved to myself that I can I can beat these girls. I can beat someone who beat Nicol at the time, when she was still at the top,” Serme said.

“Because at the time, I had never beaten Nicol yet so it was just a boost of confidence for sure. And it’s tricky at the same time, because you put more pressure on yourself because you’re like, ‘Oh, now I know I can do it so I’m expected to do it in a way,’ and then it’s a vicious circle. 

“You can go in a negative way, a lot of pressure and it’s all about finding the balance between confidence but not putting too much pressure and not thinking too much about the ranking or the points you’re going to earn, so it was a really good boost. But then I think I went the other way, like putting too much pressure on my on my shoulders. So yeah, now that I’m 32 I think I’m trying. I’m about there in the middle, good balance.

“It’s funny how, you know, sometimes your mind goes. Like, you can picture yourself winning that tournament and then you’re like, wait, wait, wait, they’re still a long way [to go], one match at a time and trying to think that way here already. So British Open is another story, we’ll see in a few days time.”