It’s a statistic that sends shivers down the spine. With the announcement of Gaël Monfils’ package, there will be no seeded French player at Roland-Garros, for both women and men. You have to go back to 1997 and the Australian Open to see such an anomaly in a grand slam tournament. When it comes to Parisian clay, it’s even 1980!
The terrible report is essential in particular in the male table. Between the end of a generation which will soon leave the courts (Tsonga and Simon), another which does not succeed in imposing itself (Paire and Pouille) and a still tender youth (Gaston and Halys), tricolor tennis does not is still not at the party in 2022.
The best possible representative was indeed Gaël Monfils. Quarter-finalist in Melbourne at the start of the year, winner of Medvedev in Indian Wells, the world number 22 in the ATP ranking had to give up his favorite tournament due to a heel injury. “I regret to announce my withdrawal from Roland-Garros next week. I have been hampered since Monte Carlo by a calcaneal spur [bony growth] in my right heel which prevents me from moving on the court. I made the decision to make a small intervention in order to deal with the problem in order to be able to resume the tournaments as soon as possible”, explained the Frenchman on Twitter. Difficult then to be optimistic about the fortnight which opens.
���� Richard Gasquet consultant for France Télévisions during Roland-Garros (except exploit of the Frenchman)
Even the qualifications, where 27 players from France were engaged, now represent a real obstacle. Doubles specialist, Pierre-Hugues Herbert fell on the first lap at Porte d’Auteuil against the 172nd in the world. His explanation was lucid in a press conference. “Today, things are not going very well in France for tennis. It will take a reaction. A reaction from me too, I have to do much better. We didn’t take enough advantage of the period during which we had monsters in front”, thus referring to the four musketeers of the 21st century, Gaël Monfils, Richard Gasquet, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gilles Simon. The last two cities announced that this Roland-Garros would be their last, before hanging up the rackets. “We are in a generational shift, and taking over the torch at high level is complicated,” said Gilles Moretton, president of the French Tennis Federation (FFT), a year ago.
For women, it’s no better. The first Frenchwoman, Alizé Cornet, had a superb start to the season with a quarter-final in Melbourne, before returning to the ranks. She remains in particular on four consecutive defeats and had no result in 2022 on clay. The dynamic is hardly more encouraging for Caroline Garcia. Injured in the foot at the end of March, she could not play in a preparation tournament to get her legs together before Roland-Garros. The young guard composed of Océane Dodin (25), Clara Burel (21) or Diane Parry (19) has not yet confirmed its promises. Difficult in these circumstances to imagine a successor to Mary Pierce, 22 years later.