Can Pietri win his first IJF medal in 7 years?

From 2013 to 2015, Loic Pietri (FRA) was on fire. In 2013, of course, he became World Champion, defeating his arch-rival Avtandili Tchrikishvili (GEO) in the final. In 2014, Tchrikishvili became World Champion and Pietri had to content himself with bronze.

The next year, in 2015, Pietri was in the final again, this time against the Japanese, Takanori Nagase. Pietri failed to get the gold but overall, it can be said he had a good three-year run where he was never absent from the World Championships podium.

Not surprisingly, during that same period, Pietri wasn’t absent from the European Championships podium either but interestingly, he never got the gold. In 2013, he got bronze, in 2014, silver. And in 2015, bronze again.

What is rather surprising is how few IJF World Tour titles he’s got. So far, only two. His first was in 2013, the year he became World Champion. The second was in 2015.

You could say that 2016 was his worst year. Right after making it to the final of the 2015 Worlds, he began to decline rapidly, losing in the first rounds of the 2015 Tokyo Grand Slam, 2016 Almaty Grand Prix, IJF World Masters in Guadalajara, the Olympic Games in Rio, and the 2017 Rome World Cup.

To call 2016 his slump year, would be an understatement. He basically had first round knock-outs toward the end of 2015, throughout the entirety of 2016, and at the beginning of 2017.

Since then, Pietri’s been trying claw his way back to the top. It’s been a long, slow climb. He hasn’t won any IJF World Tour event since 2015.

He has, however, won three European Opens: one in 2019, one in 2021 and the latest, at the just-concluded European Open in Madrid.

Next up for Pietri is the Budapest Grand Slam. Will he get his first IJF World Tour medal in seven years there?