Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Advertise in our classifieds section
Your classified listing could be here!
October 4, 2022

Pierre-Yves Bailly: big brother with big dreams

Manoo Sirivelu
Junior Pierre-Yves Bailly hits the ball against Danilo Raicevic in singles play against St. John’s University on Feb. 24. Bailly won 6-1, 6-0.

Growing up in Bilzen, Belgium, junior Pierre-Yves Bailly has fond memories of playing tennis and pick-up soccer games with his best friends, but by the time he was 12, his academics were becoming more time-consuming, and he knew he was at a crossroads. 

He opted to focus on tennis, as he was in the Royal Belgian Tennis Federation youth program playing against tough competition. 

After reaching the later rounds of many international junior tournaments, Bailly arrived in Austin knowing little English and having to adapt to a new culture. However, he spoke more about the necessary changes he had to make that almost any new college student can relate to. 

“You come into a whole new environment,” Bailly said. “It’s completely different. You have to figure out how to take care of yourself in an apartment. You don’t have your parents to do all your stuff. It is fun though. I was always living with my teammates in apartments, and it’s been an awesome experience. … It was the right step to take.” 

Despite the language barrier and the typical difficulties of adjusting to college life, Bailly hit the ground running after arriving in Austin in 2022. He established himself on the top three lines of Head Coach Bruce Berque’s lineup, something his brother, Gilles-Arnaud, has also done this year as a freshman. It seems Gilles will look to follow in his brother’s footsteps, gunning for the Big 12 Freshman of the Year. Pierre also received Second-Team All-Big 12 honors in his freshman season. 

Gilles, who was rated as the world’s top junior player in the 2022 year-end rankings, made a similar decision to forgo his soccer career in favor of tennis. In October 2023, Gilles committed to Texas, following in his brother’s footsteps once again, this time to the Forty Acres. Since then, Gilles, who Pierre says lives with other freshmen on the team, has adjusted well to his new team and surroundings on and off the court, posting a 7-1 singles record to start the season. 

“He’s obviously really professional for his age,” Pierre said. “So he can figure it out by himself, but if he needs me, I’m always there for him to help him with whatever he needs. But I think he’s already really mature for his age. I think he can figure himself out.”

While Pierre says that both brothers are close with their teammates, nothing compares to the bond between the two of them as they look to bring a men’s tennis national championship to Texas for the first time since 2019. 

“We talk a lot,” Pierre said. “We talk every day about it. We’re really close and it’s awesome to do this in another country, but we’re like by ourselves without any family. Just two of us trying to win a national championship. It’s really fun, to be honest.”

Pierre believes his time in Austin has been a great stepping stone along his journey, but his future aspirations take him back to the courts of Europe where it all started alongside his brother.

“My dream would be to travel with my brother and play tournaments together back home,” Pierre said. “Practicing at home together and then just like going on the tour with each other, playing doubles with each other. It would be my dream to do that and both be successful on the tour. That would be awesome.” 

More to Discover