PARIS (AP) — The day before the start of this year's
French Open, the last man from the country to win its
Grand Slam tournament,
Yannick Noah, was feted to mark the 40th anniversary of his championship.
Noah performed a rock concert on a temporary stage set up behind a baseline in the main stadium, and tournament director Amelie Mauresmo, a former No. 1-ranked player and two-time major champion for France, danced right along. Video highlights from Noah's career, including that 1983 run to the trophy, were shown on scoreboards.
All in all, it amounted to a celebration of some of the glory days of French tennis. There hasn't been much to celebrate for the local fans over the days since: when the third round began on the
red clay of Paris on Friday, there was not one player for the folks in the stands to serenade with "La Marseillaise," the national anthem, or encourage with yells of "Allez!"
That's because all 29 players from France — 10 women, 19 men — in the singles fields already were gone from the brackets. This is the second time in three years with zero women or men from France still around after just two rounds (it takes seven victories to earn a title).
Until 2021, that hadn't happened even once since the dawn of the sport's Open era in 1968.