Do you remember Hugo Gaston? The 21-year-old Toulousain was the French sensation at the last Roland-Garros, played last October in the gray and autumn of Paris, rising to the round of 16 after eliminating Stan Wawrinka. But with only three players in the second week (Hugo Gaston, Fiona Ferro and Caroline Garcia) and none qualified in the quarter-finals, the 2020 edition had been a scathing fiasco on the French side. Problem: the 2021 tournament, which begins on Monday, does not promise to be auspicious for the main French representatives, who have had a series of poor results and physical glitches in recent months. Europe 1 reviews the French chances.
Thanks to the freezing of the ATP ranking, decided due to the coronavirus pandemic, Gaël Monfils remains the number one in France with its 15th place in the world. But the Monf, regularly injured in recent months, has won only one victory on the main circuit since February 2020, in Lyon in mid-May. He hopes to do better than last year, when he was eliminated in the first round. Another glorious elder, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (75th) could play his last Roland-Garros this year at the age of 36. Returning to the courts for a few months after a long absence, he will have few ambitions except to find pleasure. Richard Gasquet (51st) will also want to go as far as possible despite his 34 years and a mixed start to the season.
Benoît Pair (40th) made him speak more by his escapades off the field than by his performances, with only one victory on the main circuit since the beginning of the year (in Madrid). But the whimsical and talented player is also, on a good day, capable of the best. Adrian Mannarino (36th), the only Frenchman to have reached the third round at the Australian Open at the start of the year, has followed a series of defeats in recent weeks. Pierre Hugues-Herbert (83rd) was more consistent, including a narrowly lost final in Marseille in March against world No. 4 Daniil Medvedev. Jeremy Chardy (58th) was also strong at the start of the season and will arrive in Porte d’Auteuil form. As for Lucas Pouille (84th), he was eliminated in the first round in Belgrade on Monday, his first tournament in almost a month and a half after a back injury.
On the youth side, Ugo Humbert (22 years old, 32nd), on the other hand, did not manage to follow up after his very good year 2020, where he won his first two titles on the ATP circuit. Corentin Moutet (22 years old, 72nd), is in good shape at the start of the year, including a semi-final at the Melbourne tournament in February. Finally, impossible to end without mentioning Hugo Gaston, now 141st in the world, the best ranking of his career. After his exploit last year against Wawrinka then his magnificent battle lost against Dominic Thiem in five sets in the round of 16, the Toulouse player has a wild card for this year. Will he be able to do it again?
Eighth finalist last year at Roland-Garros, Caroline Garcia (57th in the WTA ranking) remains one of the best French chances this year. The Lyonnaise, who recently decided to part ways with her father as coach, has however alternated the good and the less good, not managing to go further than the quarter-finals since the start of the year. The young Fiona Ferro (24, 51st), also eighth finalist last year and who reached the third round at the Australian Open, hopes to continue her progression by going even further this year.
Kristina Mladenovic (60th), eliminated in the first round last year Porte d’Auteuil, will bet more on the doubles, of which she is double title holder with her Hungarian partner Timea Babos. Alizé Cornet (65th), released in the second round last year, does not have more certainties about his game, with the best result a third round since the beginning of the year. She gave up in the second round in Strasbourg due to injury.