France look to regroup for Davis Cup final after Paris Masters debacle

As France now look forward to their Davis Cup final against Switzerland, coach Arnaud Clement was dealt a blow as his players flopped at the ongoing Paris Masters.

AFP| Last Updated: Oct 31, 2014, 22:17 PM IST
France look to regroup for Davis Cup final after Paris Masters debacle

Paris: As France now look forward to their Davis Cup final against Switzerland, coach Arnaud Clement was dealt a blow as his players flopped at the ongoing Paris Masters.

For the first time since 2006 the Bercy Arena will feature no home players in the quarter-finals after Gael Monfils became the final Frenchman eliminated at the hands of Novak Djokovic on Thursday.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the French number one and favourite to take on a prominent role against the Swiss on November 21 also fell at the third round stage as he went down in three sets against Japanese sixth seed Kei Nishikori.

Monfils, Julien Benneteau who went out to Andy Murray, and Gilles Simon, a second round victim of Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, are the three other players in the frame but arguments can be made to draft in fresh troops.

Jeremy Chardy arguably produced the finest showing of the home players at Bercy as he came within a whisker of defeating world number two Roger Federer in a match that went down to the wire over three sets.

Clement is set to organise a preparation camp in Bordeaux between November 11th and 16th where Chardy as well as Nicolas Mahut may be included.

Tsonga, who has struggled in recent weeks but did win the Toronto Masters in the summer, knows he has to raise his game against the Federer and Stan Wawrinka led Swiss.

"When you talk about a peak, I always try to be better than the previous time every time I play. It`s difficult to calculate a specific day for your peak, or for you to peak.

"I just need to be good on the Davis Cup weekend. That`s all, I just need to be present.

"Whatever happens it would be a fantastic satisfaction, and it would really be an achievement in my career if I was able to win the Davis Cup." added Tsonga.

France won the last of their nine Davis Cups back in 2001 while the United States lead the way with 32 wins and Switzerland are looking for their first ever.

Benneteau says there has been friendly banter between the French and Swiss players leading up to the final in Lille.

"Roger (Federer) is talking about the Davis Cup, he`s been playing on clay, which tells you something, and Stan (Wawrinka) is talking about it too.

"He (Federer) said even if he loses (in Paris) that he`s going to be ready for the Davis Cup but there`s no tension between us and no problems."

Wawrinka on the Swiss side has been short of form in recent weeks but says he is confident heading into the World Tour Finals in London and then the clash against the French.

"I lost first round sometimes and I haven`t played well lately, but I can still play well in the Masters, win the Davis Cup and the year will be fabulous."