French Open director: System can't produce champions

Thursday, May 23, 2013 /by
AP Photo
AP Photo

France has not produced a male Grand Slam singles champion since Yannick Noah won Roland Garros 30 years ago. French Open tournament director Gilbert Ysern tells Reuters that a player's mentality is more important to Grand Slam success than the French Tennis Federation’s system.

"We have no influence in what makes a champion because they have it inside of them or they don't," he said. "They lack the little extra technical skills or physical power. And when you listen to them, the problem is mental. A champion may be the one who does not have that humility, who can say, even when he loses in straight sets: 'I'm stronger than him'."

World No. 9 Richard Gasquet added that if his group of players, which includes No. 8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and No. 17 Gilles Simon, doesn't end up grabbing a major crown, then the drought could continue will into the next decade.

"We have a great generation. So I think if we don't win a Grand Slam in the next couple of years, we'll wait 10 more years at least," Gasquet said.

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