Tennis world in disbelief over never-before-seen French Open fail

·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Gael Monfils, Kristina Mladenovic and Richard Gasquet, pictured here in action at the French Open.
Gael Monfils, Kristina Mladenovic and Richard Gasquet completed France's embarrassing Roand Garros campaign. Image: Getty

The local contingent at the French Open have suffered their worst performance at Roland Garros since the Open Era began in 1968.

For the first time since the birth of the Open era 53 years ago, not a single French player has made the third round at their home grand slam.

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The home nation started the main draw with 18 men, but Gael Monfils, Richard Gasquet and Enzo Couacaud all lost on Thursday to complete the stunning fail.

But it's not just the men to blame, with final remaining female hopes Kristina Mladenovic and Fiona Ferro also crashing out in the second round on Thursday.

It marks the third time in the modern era that no French women have made the third round in Paris, but the very first for both sexes.

World No.15 Monfils, a semi-finalist in 2008, was the biggest shock after he was defeated by Sweden's 105th-ranked Mikael Ymer 6-0, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3.

That left 34-year-old Gasquet needing to beat 13-time champion Rafael Nadal to salvage national pride.

However, Nadal won 6-0, 7-5, 6-2 for his 17th win in 17 matches against a player he first faced when he was 12 years old.

There were also 21 Frenchmen and women in the qualifying rounds, but not one managed to fight into the main draw.

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French tennis suffering 21-year grand slam drought

The last Frenchman to win Roland Garros was Yannick Noah in 1983, while Mary Pierce was the country's most recent women's champion in 2000.

Like Gasquet and Monfils, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, at 36 and 37-year-old Gilles Simon don't have a lot of petrol left in the tank.

All four, however, have been in the top 10.

"That was a period of French tennis which was beautiful for everyone. But it is a generation which will soon leave," said Gasquet, part of the 2017 Davis Cup winning team.

"In high-level sport, there are not 50 guys who still play at this age. There are the Nadals, the Federers, but they are extra-terrestrials."

Enzo Couacaud, pictured here in action at the French Open.
Enzo Couacaud also lost at the French Open on Thursday. (Photo by ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP via Getty Images)

Elsewhere in the French ranks, Adrian Mannarino and Benoit Paire are already 32.

Lucas Pouille, at 27, is struggling to regain his best level after elbow injury, while future hopes Ugo Humbert and Corentin Moutet are both 22 but struggle for consistency.

But Roland Garros tournament director Guy Forget refused to be downcast.

"I'm convinced that the young players we have now, the 16-18 year olds, probably within one to three years will take up the baton," he told AFP.

"We have had lows and we have bounced back."

with AFP

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