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Family ties to Paris run deep on the ATP Tour
The next generation will look to carve their own path on the red clay.
Published Jun 02, 2021
WATCH: Casper Ruud defeats Denis Shapovalov to claim the Geneva title.
As the year’s second Grand Slam, the French Open, kicks off, several players on the ATP Tour that have competed in the qualifying rounds or gained direct entry into the main draw might have a little more familiarity with the tournament than others.
After seeing or hearing about the success of parents, siblings and other relatives at Roland Garros, the next generation will be out to equal or surpass their family members’ feats. Here’s a look at some of the men in the field who might be able to gain some firsthand knowledge about what it takes to make a run on the terre batue.
2021 is only halfway through and there’s already a solid front-runner for Most Improved Player of the Year. One of the MVPs during the spring clay-court stretch, Ruud has reached the quarterfinals or better in five tournaments, with that run including two Masters 1000 semifinal appearances and a second career singles title in Geneva. The young Norwegian has reached the third round the past two years, equaling the results of his father, Christian, there, who did that in the mid- to late-‘90s.
When your older brother is arguably one of the best clay-courters of the past 20 years, a lot of pressure comes along with following in his footsteps. At the age of 29, it appears that Coria is fully prepared to carve his own path and shed the weight of expectations of being the sibling of Guillermo, the 2004 French Open finalist. A solid member of the top 100 now, Federico reached the third round in Roland Garros last year in his second-ever main-draw appearance at a Grand Slam.
In his past four majors, Fritz, the top-ranked American male, has reached the third round, including at last year’s French Open, where he accomplished the feat there for the first time. The 23-year-old has had success on the European clay in the past and will be looking for a breakthrough in Paris, where his mother, Kathy May, was a two-time quarterfinalist in the late 1970s.
France had plenty to celebrate in 1983: Not only did Yannick Noah win the title, but he defeated one of his compatriots, Christophe Roger-Vasselin in the semifinals. In his unexpected run to the final four, Roger-Vasselin beat the top seed, Jimmy Connors, in straight sets. Just over three decades later, his son, Edouard Roger-Vasselin, played for a French Open title and succeeded, capturing the men’s doubles crown with Julien Benneteau. Roger-Vasselin, who’s also reached the mixed doubles semifinals twice in the past, will be playing in Roland Garros for the 15th consecutive year.
Felipe Meligini Alves
Despite falling in the final round of qualifying for this year’s French Open, the young Brazilian has been on an upward swing over the past year. He won his first Challenger singles title at the end of last year and captured the doubles title in Cordoba, Argentina, on the main tour a few months ago. Meligini Alves is the nephew of Fernando Meligini, who, amid a lengthy career, reached the semifinals in Paris in 1999, when he beat the third seed Pat Rafter and his countryman, eighth-seeded Gustavo Kuerten.