Tricolor tennis hopes to do “less worse” than the last catastrophic edition, where no player or player had passed the second round in singles.
By pulling out of the qualifications at Roland-Garros, Geoffrey Blancaneaux, 23 years old and 195th player in the world, is the only Frenchman to have achieved this performance this year. It’s already better than in 2021 when none of our representatives had managed to reach the final table. They will be 14 players (including 6 guests) and 12 players (including 6 guests), from Sunday, on the starting line. For what ambitions? Limited, very limited. Already, it will be necessary to do “less worse” than in 2021 when only three French people had passed a round, before being eliminated in the second – their worst collective performance since tennis became professional in 1968… In the absence of the number a French (and 22nd in the world) Gaël Monfils, package due to injury, everything is depopulated. There will thus be no top seed in the men’s and women’s tables in Paris, a first since 1999.
Suffice to say that the chances of seeing a French player in the third round in Paris are slim. The upturn at the start of the season (quarters of Monfils and Cornet in Australia) should not hide the fact that French tennis is going through a deep crisis. For the first time since 1971, for example, there was no tricolor representative in the table of the Masters 1000 in Rome… Nine Blues are in the Top 100, but there are only two left in the top 50 (Monfils 22nd and Ugo Humbert 45th) and there are no more in the Top 20. The best ranked Frenchwoman is Alize Cornet… 40and world.
At 37, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, former 5th in the world and the most beautiful French record since Yannick Noah, is playing his last tournament on Parisian clay thanks to an invitation. Just like Gilles Simon (159th, 37 years old). Respectively opposed to Casper Ruud, 8and world and Pablo Carreno Busta, 17and, in the 1st round, the two veterans were not spoiled by the draw. At 35, Richard Gasquet still clings to his side, as evidenced by his recent semi-final in Geneva, after beating Daniil Medvedev on 2and round. But will the Biterrois, 75th at the ATP, have enough energy in the engine to get rid of the South African Lloyd Harris (37th), then the American Sebastian Korda (30th), in order to reach the 3and turn of a Major for the first time since the US Open 2018?
Ugo Humbert, aged 23, is the highest ranked Frenchman in the world (45and). But he is not at all comfortable on clay. A victory against the Finn Emil Ruusuvuori (61st) in the first round would already be a great satisfaction. Benjamin Bonzi, 53and in the world seems to have the means to pull off a performance against Frances Tiaffoé, who was uninspired on earth. And Quentin Halys, 86and worldwide and author of a very good season on the challenger circuit (2and division), could create a nice surprise against John Isner, not a giant on ochre…. Hugo Gaston, 68andbut losing confidence in recent weeks will he miraculously regain his best level in Paris where he shone in the near past (8and in 2020 Porte d’Auteuil and quarter in Bercy in 2022)? He will have to hit hard from the start against Alex de Minaur (21and). And Benoît Paire, catastrophic in 2022, announced on social networks that he was going “set fire to Roland-Garros “. Starting in his first round against Belarusian Ilya Ivashka (50and), We are waiting to see.
Cornet well discreet since the Australian Open
In women’s tennis, there are even fewer reasons for optimism. Since her quarter-final at the Australian Open, Niçoise Alizé Cornet, 8and finalist in 2017 Porte d’Auteuil, was very discreet. Opposite of entry to the Japanese Misaki Doi (97and), she could find the Latvian Jelena Ostapenko (13and).). Caroline Garcia (73rd in the world) and Kristina Mladenovic (110th), have been in total loss of confidence for several months, as has Fiona Ferro, eighth finalist in 2020, and down to 139th place in the world. And young shoots Clara Burel (95and) and Diane Parry (96and), will have to achieve a monumental feat, respectively against the Greek Maria Sakkari (4and), semi-finalist last year and Czech defending champion Barbora Krejcikova (2and)…