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Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has opened up on Dele Alli’s departure in a recent interview with The Times. He also revealed an interesting story about how tennis icon Pete Sampras inspired him to take up the sport at a young age due to its similarities to goalkeeping.
Lloris signed a new two-and-a-half-year contract at Tottenham in January, extending his stint at the club to 12 years.
The Spurs captain has made 398 appearances for the club since joining from Lyon in 2012 and has been a crucial fixture for several head coaches.
And in the aftermath of his new deal, he spoke to The Times about different topics throughout his career.
Lloris gave a special mention to Alli, who left Spurs for Everton on a permanent transfer in the January transfer window.
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He said: “I really like Dele. We had some great times at Spurs, but also, it’s important that players find new challenges.
“Sometimes, the new challenge is not at the same place. Dele has to go to another place, but the most important thing is I want to see Dele with a smile.
“I wanted Dele to enjoy football, and I know it was a bit complicated the last two years for him, a lot of inconsistency in terms of games played, but that’s part of the career.
“It’s never easier for anyone, even the best players in the world have some up and downs.”
The Frenchman is also a fan of other sports, revealing his young career as a tennis player.
14-time Grand Slam winner Sampras inspired him as a 13-year-old, and he has pinpointed the many similarities between being a tennis player and goalkeeper.
“I was a big fan of Pete Sampras and his faculty to serve and to attack and to volley next to the net,” Lloris explained.
“I started tennis before football. I really like this sport, but with time I put so much focus on football. Then with family and kids, I stepped back a little bit from tennis even if I tried to play during holidays.
“There’s a lot of similarity between tennis and goalkeepers in movement, reaction and reading the ball.
“You need to read the game well and always be connected with what’s happening in front of you even if the ball’s in the opposite half. You need to be ready to go outside your box if the ball goes behind your defence.
He continued: “Another aspect is the individual feelings. As a keeper, there is individual responsibility towards the team and defending the goal.
“You know a mistake can cause big damage to your team. The tennis player is the same: every point can be decisive. This is the important mental aspect.”
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