Week 21


Since 2017, the last two clay-court events before the most significant one on this specific surface are Geneva and Lyon (replacing Nice). These tournaments take place in two different countries but within the same francophone sphere of influence. Geneva: Casper Ruud, the two-time defending champion, lost in the quarterfinals after winning 17 consecutive matches on clay in Switzerland. The Norwegian, who came close to becoming the world’s top-ranked player last year, is currently going through a challenging period where he has to defend a significant number of ranking points. If he continues to struggle with his form, he may finish the year 2023 outside the Top 10. On the other hand, Nicolás Jarry [54], who secured his second ATP title on clay this year, exhibits a very solid and uncompromising style of tennis. He defeated three current or former Top 10 players consecutively (coming close to losing to Ruud) and rises to the Top 35 for the first time in his career. Had the draw for Paris been made following the last two events, he would have been seeded. With his powerful game, I believe Jarry has the potential to reach the Top 20 this year and achieve good results on hardcourts as well. Jarry expressed his happiness about his successful year, stating: “I feel amazing. It has been a great year. After all the work with my team and family, we are having a great year, and I am very happy for that. It is very special. Two finals, one title here. I am very happy.” This almost two-meter tall Chilean with a French surname, had two match points in the Geneva final four years ago.
Arthur Fils [112] becomes the first man born in 2004 to win an ATP title. His success in Lyon came under quite specific circumstances. He did not play a full set in the second round and quarterfinals combined because Mikael Ymer furiously destroyed his racquet by hitting the umpire’s chair when trailing 5:6 in the opener and must have been disqualified. In the following round, Fils received a walkover from a top-seeded player. In the semifinals, Fils celebrated his victory twice: first at 5:4* in the third set (the ball called ‘out’ was deemed good), and then as he led *6:5 in the deciding tie-break. Fils only needed five ATP events to claim his maiden title, with four of them being held in France. Thanks to this victory, he climbs into the Top 100 and, starting from Roland Garros next week, will regularly compete at the main level for the remainder of the season.


First week of the French Open ’93. A few young players appeared in the qualifying rounds who would go on to achieve significant successes in their careers: Yevgeny Kafelnikov, the future world No. 1, successfully qualified for the main draw, while Patrick Rafter, another future no. 1, made it to the third round of the qualifiers. Jonas Björkman, a future top 10 player and major semifinalist, was eliminated in the first round while another future Top 10er and major semifinalist, Karol Kučera qualified for the main draw of a Slam for the first time just like Kafelnikov – they met in the first round and the Russian won 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. All of these players were born in 1972 or 1974. Additionally, Christian Ruud, the father of Casper Ruud, who was also born in 1972, competed in the qualifying event too, losing a dramatic opener.
…Finals 2023…
Geneva (ATP 250, clay outdoors)
🇨🇱Nicolás Jarry d. (4,WC)🇧🇬Grigor Dimitrov 7-6(1), 6-1
Lyon (ATP 250, clay outdoors)
(WC)🇫🇷Arthur Fils d. (4)🇦🇷Francisco Cerundolo 6-3, 7-5
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