the rebirth of Lucas Pouille, qualified for the main round after a year of struggles

The 29-year-old Frenchman earned his place in the big picture after beating Austrian Yuri Rodionov in the third qualifying round on Thursday.

She closed her eyes for a few seconds before collapsing in tears on the chair, time to realize what she had just done. Lucas Pouille is resilient. A year ago the French fell into depression and began a long crossing of the desert. Time passed and the Frenchman, who fell to 670th place in the world, on Thursday 25 May, on a incandescent number 14 court, knocked down Jurij Rodionov to buy his ticket to the main round of Roland-Garros.

Twelve months have passed since this defeat against Zdenek Kolar on the same field, at the invitation of the organization. This time, the Northerner came into his own by knocking out the 22nd seed in three sets (1-6, 7-5, 6-0).

A new chapter

Three days ago he laid the foundation stone of his comeback with a win over Tomas Machac. “jI think it’s the victory that has given me the most pleasure in almost four years. I arrived at Roland with too few points of reference, certainties“, he explained.

“My first lap last year here wasn’t the best of memories. I remember it was 10.30pm. I was done. We were with Thierry (Ascione), Félix (Mantilla), my physio and my wife at a table in the restaurant. There was no one there. I kept my head down repeating to myself what I was doing on the pitch.”

Lucas Pouille, qualified for the first round of Roland-Garros

to franceinfo: sports

Points of reference, Lucas Pouille proves that he is still missing on the pitch. If he still splashes even his forehand, the waste glimpsed against a true terrestrial like Tseng is confirmed against Jurij Rodionov, more powerful than his previous opponent. The Frenchman trips over a bone. A 6-1 taken from the start and the feeling that the pace is too high. Perhaps it was necessary to digest this public which arrived in large numbers, these crowded stands and a queue of more than twenty meters at the exit of the courthouse.From the moment I entered the court, an emotion overwhelmed me. The audience was just amazing, there are no words“, the Frenchman whispered after the meeting.

No truce is granted to Lucas Pouille, not even after all his prisons. Slowly for almost 30 minutes, however, the French raised the tone to 2-2 after a closely contested match. And he raises his fist. The attitude changes and the French let go. He wins the second set and completely unblocks Rodionov while the crowd increases the decibels. Overflowing emotion for Clémence, Puglia’s teammate, who felt ill at the end of the second leg. Without consequences.

Pouille writes his story

French is launched. As against Tseng, he busts out and pots the third and final set on a new bicycle wheel, 6-0. Before relaxing. In tears in the stands, his partner knows the path taken. “When I quit, he struggled with it. She kept saying, ‘Doesn’t that make you want to do this?’ And then she pushed me to play Bercy for fun.” The beginning of awakening.

Spectators on court n°14 cheer after a winning point by Lucas Pouille, on May 25, 2023, during the 3rd qualifying round of Roland-Garros.  (Emmanuel Rupied / Franceinfo: sports)

Now in the main draw, Lucas Pouille could afford a gala first round against Carlos Alcaraz or Daniil Medevedev, according to the draw made on Friday. For the French, however, the essential is elsewhere. “I want to enjoy more of the things and people that give me pleasure, happiness, love“, he explains, smiling, before adding the mischievous look: “I would still like to play again on the 14th.” As a nod to history. His story, that of his rebirth.

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