Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Why Hong Kong is Asia's electronic garbage dump

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

IOM chief: 'Migrants are the quintessential agents of development'

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Nigerian army releases 244 Boko Haram suspects

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Bitcoin takes a tumble over regulation fears

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Actor Aziz Ansari accused of sexual assault, but is it just 'revenge porn'?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Calais, a no-man's land for migrants

Read more

THE DEBATE

Macron on migration: Humanity or closed-border policy?

Read more

FOCUS

Strict controls behind Denmark's generous unemployment benefits

Read more

ENCORE!

Remembering Cranberries star Dolores O'Riordan

Read more

French tennis relies on the old guard

Text by Emmanuel VERSACE

Latest update : 2009-05-24

With the four young 'Musketeers' down to two, Alize Cornet not in the best of shape and Marion Bartoli uneasy on clay, Amelie Mauresmo (photo) seems to be France's only hope at this year's Roland Garros tournament.

Semi-finalist in the 2008 edition of Roland Garros, Gael Monfils will probably be conspicuous by his absence at this year’s tournament. The friendly game lost against Marcos Baghdatis (6-4, 6-0) was tough on the young Frenchman, who limped off the court with a foot injury. “Le Monf” keeps his hopes up, but Patrice Dominguez, the French Tennis league’s technical director, seems less convinced: “Gael [Monflis] is at his best on clay courts; getting injured right before the tournament just wasn’t lucky.”

 

With Richard Gasquet barely recovering from a bad experience in Florida, the two remaining ‘Musketeers’ still in line for the title are Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gilles Simon.

 

Handling pressure was never Simon’s main strength, but Patrice Dominguez insists it’s a “psychological block he can overcome”, suggesting he may have rushed into this grand slam a little too soon.

 

Tsonga claims to be serene and well-prepared as the tournament approaches, but Dominguez is more cautions, pointing out that Tsonga played barely three games on clay this season.

 

French tennis can still count on its wizard, Fabrice Santoro, who will be fighting his final tournament at the Porte d’Auteil. At 36, he has lucidly tempered his ambitions.

 

Nothing is certain either in the woman’s field. Alize Cornet played an unremarkable Fed Cup and hasn’t won more than two games in a row since last February.

 

Marion Bartoli won the Monterrey tournament and reached the Brisbane open semi-finals, but clay isn’t it her strong point.

 

All hope for Gallic tennis therefore seems to rest on Amelie Mauresmo, who completed a very impressive tournament in Madrid, reaching the semi-finals and beating the world’s number four seed, Russian Elena Dementieva. She’s physically ready for a strong competition, that is if she doesn’t break under pressure as she has in the past.

 

Although chances of a French victory seem slim on paper, all tennis fans know that the Gaulois are at their best in the position of outsiders and underdogs. A glimmer of hope, perhaps?

 

Date created : 2009-05-22

COMMENT(S)