Alex de Minaur's joy tinged with sadness over Katie Boulter development at French Open

The Aussie tennis player was watching from the stands as his girlfriend bowed out at Roland Garros.

Tennis fans hoping Alex de Minaur and Katie Boulter could both make a deep run at the French Open were left sorely disappointed on Tuesday as the British women's star crashed out in the first round. De Minaur completely outclassed American teen Alex Michelsen in a 6-1 6-0 6-2 thrashing, before heading over to watch his girlfriend take on Paula Badosa.

Boulter made a promising start against her Spanish opponent but went down 6-4 5-7 4-6 as all six British players in the main draw lost in the first round. De Minaur was spotted cheering on his girlfriend in the crowd, but the support couldn't spur her to victory.

Alex de Minaur and Katie Boulter at the French Open.
Alex de Minaur watched on as Katie Boulter lost to Paula Badosa in the first round of the French Open. Image: Twitter/Getty

It marked just the fourth time this century – after 2007, 2013 and 2020 – that no British player has progressed to the second round at Roland Garros. “I’m sitting here right now with a little bit of a heavy heart because it was an absolute battle,” Boulter said afterwards. “I gave it everything and she played better than me, it’s that simple.

“I can’t speak for the others. I’ve worked so hard to be in this position and I’ve just lost out in the finest of margins. I’ve done the very best that I can.”

Katie Boulter at the French Open.
Katie Boulter in action against Paula Badosa at the French Open.

Speaking after his win over Michelsen, de Minaur said about Boulter: “Safe to say that we don’t take it too hard if either of us don’t watch each other play because we obviously know that we’re getting ready, we’ve got to recover, got to do stuff to focus on yourself." The Aussie said he was looking forward to seeing how far his girlfriend could go, but Boulter will now turn her attention to supporting de Minaur.


While not as bad as the British nightmare at the French Open, the Aussie contingent also suffered a brutal opening round. De Minaur and Thanasi Kokkinakis were the only Australians to progress to the second round after five losses and an injury withdrawal on the first two days.

Ajla Tomljanovic, Daria Saville, Jordan Thompson, Max Purcell, Aleksander Vukic, Adam Walton and Rinky Hijikata all fell at the first hurdle, while Chris O'Connell withdrew due to injury and Alexei Popyrin fell to compatriot Kokkinakis. With Tomljanovic and Saville bowing out, it marked the first time since 1997 that no Aussie woman made the second round of the clay-court grand slam.

"We've had nine Australian men in the main draw, and we're getting stronger and stronger as a nation," de Minaur said on Tuesday. "I'm very proud to be a part of Australian tennis and how strong it's looking. It's ultimately a strength in numbers."

Thanasi Kokkinakis at the French Open.
Thanasi Kokkinakis celebrates after beating Alexei Popyrin at the French Open.

Kokkinakis sealed his victory at 11.37pm, but it was only deep into the last half-hour of the four-hour battle that Kokkinakis finally turned the screws on his pal Popyrin. Kokkinakis admitted afterwards that he'd resigned himself to defeat at least twice during the match.

"It feels like it's taken years off my life," said a weary Kokkinakis, who told Popyrin at the net: "Tough one, hell of a battle". Kokkinakis will face Italian qualifier Giulio Zeppieri in the second round, while de Minaur will go up against World No.64 Jaume Munar.

with agencies