Roland-Garros 2023: what are the best French chances of the fortnight?

The moment of truth is approaching for French tennis: the 2023 edition of Roland-Garros, of which Europe 1 is the official radio, begins this Sunday. The Parisian Grand Slam is an indicator of the health of French tennis every year. The consultant Cédric Pioline lists the French to follow, from the chances of Caroline Garcia to the promises of the young Luca Van Assche.

All the hopes of the tricolor for the fortnight of Roland-Garros 2023 will rest on the shoulders of a Frenchwoman: Caroline Garcia. Indeed this year, the Lyonnaise is the only representative of the French contingent, women and men alike, to be seeded in the singles tables, with what is more the status of number 5 thanks to her fifth place in the world. The winner of the last women’s Masters in 2022 is the French player to follow closely, confirms Cédric Pioline, consultant for Europe 1, the official radio of Roland-Garros, although the former quarter-finalist in 2017 is experiencing a complicated tennis period. …

On paper, “Caroline Garcia is our best French chance”

“Caroline Garcia is, on paper, our best French chance, but yes, she has been going through a difficult period almost since the beginning of the year”, relates the one who was also fifth in the world in 2000. “Compared to her level, to her ranking and what she produced at the end of last season, she underperforms in a certain way. I hope that she will manage to get her head back in place and that she will arrive to produce the game to go at least in the second week”, projects the double winner of the Davis Cup (1996, 2001).

And the Europe 1 consultant for the fortnight to share his optimism: “In the second week, we know that there is a final sprint, and with her experience and her level of play, she could go far and why not raise the trophy”. For this, the 29-year-old Lyonnaise will in any case have a lot to do since she is located in the same part of the table as Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, world number 2 and winner this year in Madrid, a clay court tournament. The two players could face each other in the quarter-finals.

Time for confirmation for Diane Parry

Among the other French players in the running, spectators at the Porte d’Auteuil will be happy to find Alizé Cornet who, at 33, is playing one of his last seasons on the world circuit. The Niçoise, 59th in the world, is however not seeded. “Now we know that she’s a fighter, that she won’t let go and that she is capable, with her experience, with the public as well, of giving us a good tournament”, he underlines. Alizé Cornet will have to face the Italian Camilla Giorgi, 36th in the world, in the first round, before a possible meeting against the third player in the world, the American Jessica Pegula, in the next round.

Another Niçoise caught the attention of Cédric Pioline: Diane Parry, 77th in the world at just 20 years old, who distinguished herself last year at Porte d’Auteuil by eliminating the defending champion in the second round. “She’s interesting, she’s young, with good potential. I really like her game”, supports the former French champion, who recalls that she won last week at the Clarins Trophy, just next door. of Roland Garros. A first feat will be achieved in the first round, against the Ukrainian seeded 25, Anhelina Kalinina.

Richard Gasquet and Gaël Monfils, the last two “Musketeers” at the end of their careers

Among the men, the task promises to be (still) complicated to succeed Yannick Noah, the last Habs to have lifted the Coupe des Mousquetaires in 1983. Like last year, none of them will be seeded, it that is to say that they can quickly face the cadors of the circuit. The number one Frenchman in the standings, Ugo Humbert, 38th, will challenge his compatriot and number 2 tricolor, Adrian Mannarino, in the first round.

Richard Gasquet, 36, will be opposed to another player from France, Arthur Rinderknech, in “an end of career where he still takes great pleasure in playing, and we see him play”, insists Cédric Pioline. However, “it seems quite clear that Richard is finding it more and more difficult to chain efforts, difficult matches …”, deciphers the consultant from Europe 1.

“It’s much more complex” for the last of the “four Musketeers”, Gaël Monfils, believes Cédric Pioline. “We all have in mind the Gaël Monfils who made us dream, former semi-finalist at Roland-Garros (in 2008). But since he resumed after a really annoying injury, he has struggled to regain his level. difficult to gauge his state of form”, explains the ex-world number 5, who is still waiting to see his entry into the running in the main draw, against the Argentinian Sebastian Baez, clay court specialist, before a possible confrontation with the Danish phenomenon Holger Rune.

Luca Van Assche, “an extremely promising player”

On the French side, the future could well actually belong to the next generation in the men’s table. The first expected player is Luca Van Assche, 18 years old and already 79th in the world. The native of Woluwe-Saint-Lambert in Belgium entered the top 100 this year, becoming the youngest tricolor to achieve this feat since Gaël Monfils.

“He is a player who is extremely promising,” notes Cédric Pioline. Among those who have performed so early in the past, “the worst of them has been top 20 minimum, and we are talking about players who have been in the top ten or even better”, notes the current tournament director of Paris-Bercy. This one “has a bright future ahead of him, with an interesting game, an interesting personality, very mature but with a lot of room for improvement. He can give us a good surprise this year in his career, and we will have to follow him in the years to come”.

In the first round, Luca Van Assche will find a former Porte d’Auteuil semi-finalist, the Italian Marco Cecchinato (73rd in the world), and can foresee an opposition with another tricolor nugget, Arthur Fils (18 years old, 112th in the world), in final in Lyon and confronted him with the solid Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (29th). It could be a remake of the final of the 2021 junior edition won by Luca Van Assche. A poster that French tennis fans expect more than anything.

Source: Europe1

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