Caroline Garcia’s leader, Gaël Monfils interrogation, a new generation looking … Update on French possibilities

There are 29 French players in the running for the first round of Roland-Garros, which will start on Sunday.

What do Hugo Gaston, Caroline Garcia and Fiona Ferro have in common? They are the last Frenchmen to have reached the round of 16 at Roland-Garros, during a 2020 edition marked by Covid-19 and held in autumn. After two years of stalemate, the 29 Tricolores will try to move up in the second week of the tournament, which starts on Sunday May 28th. Some topics are reassuring, but many gray areas obscure an uncertain general picture.

Caroline Garcia at the head of the gondola

Fifth in the WTA rankings, Caroline Garcia is the best – the only one? – Chance of French victory. Yes, but Lyonnaise started their clay court season very quietly, in keeping with a lackluster 2023 vintage. Even if her return with her coach Bertrand Perret gives him a victory “positive energy”, as he said before the Madrid tournament, the results are ups and downs. Indeed, Garcia fell in the 3rd round in Stuttgart, Madrid and Rome, the last two times against opponents ranked above 50th place.

“You have to get back in the right direction, but we know that a good game or two can revive himsays Arnaud Clément, consultant of franceinfo: sport. He is able to express himself well on earth.” Absent from the Roland quarterfinals since 2017, Caroline Garcia could benefit from the – relative – slowdown of Iga Swiatek, who is less dominant this year. But first she will have to start against Xiyu Wang, 62nd in the world.

Gael Monfils, interrogation

If we refer to pure talent, Gaël Monfils still appears, even at 36, in the Italian gratin. By integrating the physical state and momentum shape into the equation, the situation changes significantly. Relegated to 386th place in the world, “la Monf'” relapsed at the Masters 1000 in Miami in late March, struck in the hand. “This injury is not trivial and recovery takes longer than a few years younger”explains Arnaud Clément.

For his 16th Roland-Garros and when the sunset of his career is not far off, Monfils is under no illusions. I want to get back to a good level of playshe said following her first-round elimination in Lyon on Tuesday. Win or lose, but play well.” “If he passes the first round, it’s already good”, confides Arnaud Clément, on a player with only one win (after leaving) in 2023 in eight games played. In the first round he will face Argentinian Sebastian Baez, 44th in the world, whom he has never met.

Van Assche et Fils, is the next generation ready?

For their first Roland-Garros, Luca van Assche (19) and Arthur Fils (18) will be scrutinized. The anticipation they arouse speaks volumes about the decrepitude of the French clan, but their progress in recent months is real. The first city, winner of the junior edition in 2021 (against Son), is 79th in the world and boasts two Challenger victories this year, in Sanremo and Pau.

As for Son, 112th in the world, he beat Francisco Cerundolo (28th in the world) in Rome and finds him just On Saturday, for his first ATP final in Lyon. “They have very mature games for their age and will progress very quickly”predicts Arnaud Clément. But he warns: “Give them time, don’t expect one of them to win Roland-Garros this year!” They could deprive themselves of it since the reunification between the two players would take place from the 2nd round in case of victory in the first game. It will be against Marco Cecchinato (73rd) for Van Assche and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (34th) for Son.

Elsewhere, the desert?

Beyond these curiosities, the French team has only a slim chance. “We have a lot of players in form, some are able to bring down the top seedswants to believe Arnaud Clément. If we have one or two in the second week, that’s already good.” Even modest, this record would still surpass the recent poor performance in Paris.

38th in the ATP rankings and victorious in the Challengers of Cagliari and Bordeaux in May, Ugo Humbert can be a nice surprise, even if he has never made it past the first round at the Porte d’Auteuil in four appearances. He will find the French number 2 Adrian Mannarino (47th), slightly more comfortable on clay, from the 1st round. Also present was the veteran Richard Gasquet (50th), as was the ghost Lucas Pouille, who survived qualifying. He winks at the draw, he will find in the 1st round the Austrian Jurij Rodionov, whom he beat in the 3rd and last round of these qualifiers before being drafted as a lucky loser.

In a short 14 on fire, Lucas Pouille overcame Austrian Jurij Rodionov in 3 sets and qualified for the main draw.  This victory is a rebirth for the northerner who has fallen to 670th place in the world.

In the women’s circuit, the young Diane Parry (20), 77th in the WTA ranking, will try to repeat last year’s good run (3rd round). Despite an average start to the season, Alizé Cornet (55th), the other member of the top 100 (59th), is also expected. Like Lucas Pouille, Fiona Ferro will also try to prolong the recovery after months of difficulty, she who came out of the qualifiers and inherited a rather affordable first round against the Swede Rebecca Peterson, 86th player in the world.

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