Zee Media Bureau
Paris: As the 2014 edition of French Open enters second week, it is revealed that the only Frenchman active in the tournament is Gael Monfils. The 23rd seeded player plays his fourth round match on Monday against the unseeded Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. His remaining in the draw is no doubt good news for the home crowd but, it doesn`t really inspire much confidence – of any hope of ending the title drought in Paris.
Last time a Frenchman kissed the red clay of Roland Garros was a certain maverick, Yannick Noah. It was in 1983. Now, circa 2014, France has “New Musketeers” in Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Richard Gasquet, Gael Monfils and Gilles Simon – all capable of winning Majors. But unluckily for France, the drought continues.
The famous quartet of Rene Lacoste, Henri Cochet, Jean Borotra and Jacques Brugnon ruled the world in late 1920s and early `30s. They combined to win 20 grand slam singles and 23 doubles titles besides helping France win six consecutive Davis Cup trophies. The Musketeers were instrumental in the growth of tennis. In fact, the Roland Garros was built to defend their Davis Cup against the visiting Americans.
But, as things stand today – in respect to the title wins, not a single French gentleman has managed to lift any of the four Major trophies for a long 31 years. And their best to bet to end the drought, Tsonga continues to run in to the champions. He, once again, fumbled. This time losing to second seeded Novak Djokovic in the fourth round.
Monfils will have a relatively easier game against Garcia-Lopez. And if the slider qualifies for the quarter-finals, his opponent will be the winner of Andy Murray-Fernando Verdasco match, then in the semis, a meeting with Rafael Nadal looms large. So, the chance of him lifting the trophy is equal to zero. But, given his fighting spirit and the on-court charisma, Monfils should at least have a crack at the title.