“Gillou’s victory. We’re not leaving until we have it. » On the third day of this 2022 edition of Roland-Garros, the leitmotiv of French supporters took them until the end of the night, Tuesday May 24. Gathered on the Simonne-Mathieu court, there were several hundred of them who no longer wanted to miss a crumb of the feat achieved before their eyes by Gilles Simon, who fell in the first round of the seeded No. 16 of the tournament, the Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta in five sets (6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 1-6, 6-4).
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While retiring at the end of the season and playing, at 37, his last edition of the Parisian Grand Slam thanks to an invitation from the organizers, the Frenchman forgot for one evening his 158and place in the ATP rankings to play a liberated tennis, taking by surprise an opponent yet experienced in rallies from the baseline on clay.
“Seeing the real Gilles Simon again one last time”
During his marathon of more than three and a half hours, the former 6and world player that he was thirteen years ago has given himself a second youth to remind the public of this elusive player, capable of breaking the rhythm of the exchanges or of using the power of his opponent to accelerate it , in the first two sets.
“I thought it would be good if we could see the real Gilles Simon one last time, not the one who lost at 1er round of the Heilbronn tournament last week in Germany, but whoever can be on the pitch, play three hours, four hours, who is brave, who will try to find solutions, who will fight, commented the Niçois at the microphone of the organizers, a few moments after a match point applauded at 1:05 a.m. There are only geniuses left in the end, only real ones. It was an incredible atmosphere, from the start. »
In the physically tough and short of tactical solutions until the middle of the fifth round, Gilles Simon was able to use the olas, the Marseillaise and cheers sung at every point by the gallery. He was also able to draw inspiration from the last career match of his playing partner and childhood friend Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, eliminated a few hours earlier with honors against Casper Ruud (7-6, 6-7, 2- 6, 6-7), then that of the young Hugo Gaston, qualified for the second round after another fight of five sets against the Australian Alex de Minaur (4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 0- 6, 7-6).
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