In 1983 a Frenchman in Paris by the name of Yannick Noah shocked Roland Garros winning his only Grand Slam.
Yannick was the first french male winner of a Grand Slam since 1946 a 37 year wait and now 37 years later it looks like that will go on.
France during this time have had three women major winners in Amelie Mauresmo, Mary Pierce and Marion Bartoli but the men have not delivered.
France for some time have boasted an incredibly high number of top 50/100 players including: Monfils, Tsonga, Gasquet, Simon, Paire, Chardy and Mahut! You can even go back further to Santoro and Llodra but it hasn’t happened.
I wouldn’t say it’s a case of not being good enough, we’ve seen players push super hard to compete and do that for the ultimate prizes in the sport something I think has eluded some of these guys.
If I was asked to describe Gasquet in a word it would be ‘solid’. Solid is good but solid doesn’t take you to that next level. There was a lot of early expectations on him and I think that just didn’t help him at all. Being talked about the next big thing when you’ve barely been on a tennis court doesn’t help.
Same with Tsonga and Monfils, both went very deep at a Grand Slam back in 2008 in their early 20’s but never consistently backed it up. If I described them in one word it would ‘entertainers’. Over the last few years Jo has struggled with injuries and Monfils has been playing some of his most consistent and high levelled tennis ever which makes you think, where was this eight years ago?
I do sadly think this ship has sailed and it’s a weird one because on paper you would also say France have one of the best teams for Davis Cup and are always putting out a strong field but have won it once since 2001!
It is over to the next generation now but is that coming? Lucas Pouille has shown signs but nothing to suggest a Grand Slam title is on the cards despite his run in Melbourne last year.
France only have two players in the top 180 under the age of 23 in Ugo Humbert ranked inside top 50 and Corentin Moutet around 75 in the world with Lucas Pouille at 58.