French players must take responsibility after another embarrassing Roland Garros campaign, French tennis federation (FFT) technical director Nicolas Escude said on Friday.
Former world number six Gilles Simon, who retired last year, shared a telling story on social media, recounting a conversation with his son.
He wrote: ““Dad, I so much want to go to Roland Garros to support the French, the atmosphere is so crazy every time, it looks so cool. - Well, you’ve got school so we’ll go on Saturday, I promise.” - Anyone got a solution?”
French presence in both singles’ draws were ended on Thursday when Arthur Rinderknech lost in four sets to American Taylor Fritz on the day Caroline Garcia, the fifth seed and WTA Finals winner, was also knocked out in the second round.
It was the second time in three years that no French player made it to the third round at their home major.
“The results are not good, as you can see, but I don’t think the federation can be held responsible for everything,” Escude told a press conference, adding the FFT had improved their facilities and set up programmes in their training centres in Poitiers and Paris.
“Our goal is for everyone the same: to see our players shining, and it’s not the case today. But the first ones to be both penalized and in a way responsible for the results are the players.”
Escude pointed out that the players needed to have their own individual set-ups as well in order to succeed.
No French man has won a Grand Slam singles title since Yannich Noah at Roland Garros in 1983 and the last woman to win a single major was Marion Bartoli in 2013 at Wimbledon.
Noah urged the French hopes to leave the country.
“You have to go and nourish yourself elsewhere, because we’re used to losing at all levels,” he said last week.
“All coaches have lost. None of them have won. So you’re surrounded by people who have all lost.”
While Escude said that it meant ‘nothing’, reminding that the likes of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet had had foreign coaches, he put some pressure on the young players.
“We all know that for high-level players it’s based on individual projects,” he said.
“They pick their staff. They pick their physical preparation, their physical coach, and they have their own objectives, and they have to set up the right means to reach their objectives.”
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