Tennis: Tennis-French heading towards Roland Garros fiasco

PARIS (Reuters) – Richard Gasquet’s personal expectations of shining at Roland Garros are so low that he has already lined up a job as a pundit for French TV at this 12 months’s claycourt main, the place the native hopefuls are equipped for one more dire collective efficiency.

With French primary Gael Monfils having pulled out injured final week, there will probably be no seeded gamers from the house nation in each the boys’s and the ladies’s attract Paris – a primary since 1980.

The variety of seeds was elevated from 16 to 32 again in 2001.

“It is true that French tennis just isn’t doing properly,” stated Pierre-Hughes Herbert, who was knocked out within the first spherical of the {qualifications} this week.

“There’s acquired to be a response.”

Last 12 months solely three Frenchmen survived their opening matches earlier than being eradicated within the second spherical — their worst collective efficiency since tennis turned skilled in 1968.

France had lengthy hoped that somebody from their troupe of New Musketeers — Gasquet, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gilles Simon and Monfils — would finish the nation’s close to four-decade look forward to a home-grown males’s champion.

But with the ageing quartet now properly previous their prime, and in some circumstances heading for retirement, France’s seek for a champion who can revive the glory days of Yannick Noah’s 1983 triumph goes on.

Simon and Tsonga at the moment are each ranked outdoors the world’s prime 150 and will probably be retiring this 12 months, whereas Gasquet has dropped right down to seventy fifth.

Earlier this week, the 35-year-old beat Daniil Medvedev in straight units on the Geneva Open. However, with the Russian making a comeback after spending a number of weeks on the sidelines following an operation, Gasquet didn’t wish to learn an excessive amount of into that consequence since he has currently even struggled to win matches on the lower-tier Challenger circuit.

Hence his determination to enroll to work as a commentator following his French Open exit, which on present kind he expects that to be sooner quite than later.

According to former participant Fabrice Santoro, there’s near zero likelihood to see a French participant going previous the third spherical in Paris.

“We can all the time hope however having no French gamers within the second week could be logical,” he stated.

“We’re at a low level. Since the top of the Eighties I can not recall such a foul 12 months,” he added, pointing the finger on the French tennis federation (FFT), which has didn’t groom any new expertise.

“It’s not a query of likelihood. The FFT has the means to do quite a bit higher. Some nations do higher with 10 occasions much less (cash, infrastructure and alternatives). Something’s not proper.”

No French man has gained a Grand Slam title since Noah lifted the Musketeers Cup 39 years in the past. While Mary Pierce, Marion Bartoli and Amelie Mauresmo have since gained majors, the highest-ranked Frenchwoman at this 12 months’s championships will probably be world quantity 40 Alize Cornet.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; enhancing by Pritha Sarkar)

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