Dimitri Vernet with AFP / Photo credit: LEWIS STOREY / GETTY IMAGES EUROPE / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP 11:22am, June 01, 2023The forfeit of Gaël Monfils, injured in the left wrist, announced late Wednesday night on the eve of his second round expected against the world N.6 Holger Rune, marked the last twist of a black day for the Blues at Roland-Garros, of which Europe 1 is the official radio.
The crazy Parisian night experienced by Monfils in the first round of Roland-Garros of which Europe 1 is the official radio, Tuesday night, ended at midnight past, lying back on the clay, shaken by sobs, after an unlikely victory 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 1-6, 7-5 after being led 4 games to 0 in the fifth set by the Argentine Sebastian Baez (42nd), will be without a future. In question, "a partial rupture" ligament at the level of "the left wrist" (precisely the triangular ligament of the carpus), explained Monfils at a press conference.
What future for Monfils?
For Monfils, 36, former world N.6 fallen to around the 400th place in the world after seven months without playing, between August 2022 and March 2023, the fault of his recalcitrant right foot, this umpteenth physical problem raises questions about his future as a player. His crazy success in the first round was his first since his return. "I don't show it too much but there is more than disappointment, because how many do I have left, Roland-Garros?" he asked aloud. That is the real question. How many do I have left?"
Monfils is due to undergo further examinations on Thursday to find out more about how long he has been unavailable. But he was rather optimistic. "The doctor told me that he was hopeful that I could play on grass," whose season begins in the wake of Roland-Garros, he said.
Before that, the six French players on track Wednesday in the second round, out of ten still in contention at this stage, had not been able to avoid a zero point. Starting with the best French chance, the world N.5 Caroline Garcia. Facing Russia's Anna Blinkova (56th), Garcia saved eight match balls before losing 4-6, 6-3, 7-5. After a convincing set and break, the 29-year-old Lyonnaise lost the thread.
Having reached the Top 5 thanks to a hair-raising second half of the season in 2022, including a title in Cincinnati, a semi-final at the US Open - her first Grand Slam - and a triumph at the Masters at the end of the season, Garcia (29), lost confidence, struggles to live up to her new status since the beginning of the year.
End of the epic Pouille, Van Assche, Humbert
French N.1 in the ATP ranking, Ugo Humbert (40th) surrendered to the Italian Lorenzo Sonego (48th) 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) in the warm atmosphere of Court N.14 which succeeded so well to Lucas Pouille.
Lucas Pouille's epic, started nine days earlier in qualifying, ended in the second round on the big court Suzanne-Lenglen, 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 against the British Cameron Norrie (13th), after four wins in a row on the N.14 (qualifications and main draw). The result remains nevertheless very satisfactory for the Frenchman who had not passed a first round in Grand Slam since the US Open 2019. He also hadn't won on the ATP Tour since losing in the second round of the Madrid Masters 1000 in May 2022.
End of course also for the French hope Luca Van Assche (82nd), eliminated 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (8/6) by the Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich (34th), Corentin Moutet (61st), beaten 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 by the world N.7 Andrey Rublev, and Léolia Jeanjean (124th), dominated 6-0, 7-5 by the Russian lucky loser Elina Avanesyan (134th).
>> LISTEN - INEDIT - The "nanas" and the "cars", the motivations of the young Yannick Noah
Three Frenchmen still in the running
Of the 28 entered in the first round, there are only three Frenchmen still in contention, Océane Dodin, Diane Parry and Arthur Rinderknech, who will play their second-round match on Thursday.
How to explain such a result? The performances of Gasquet, Monfils, Tsonga and Simon in recent years should not be trusted, as these excellent results actually hide a much deeper evil, still present today. An example in juniors, our Habs have won 17 Grand Slams in 23 years. However, none of these young shoots have managed to repeat their performances on the professional circuit.
And it is surely this switch that poses a problem, the entry into the pros who often arrive far too early. The young players say it: they are thrown into the deep end too quickly. They do not have time to prepare themselves mentally and physically, unlike our neighbours like Spain who work a lot on these two aspects from an early age. The result is before our eyes: Carlos Alcaraz, 19, world number one and already a Grand Slam in his closet.