Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks ahead to the latest in tennis. Today, Charles Blouin-Gascon previews day 7 of the 2021 French Open.
Welcome to the 2021 French Open, which will forever will live on in infamy in its motherland.
You see, for the first time in just about ever, there is no French player making it past the second round in singles at Roland-Garros.
RIP French players at the French Open.
0 make the singles third round – for the first time in the Open Era.#RolandGarros
— Nick McCarvel (@NickMcCarvel) June 3, 2021
The tweet above says that this is the first time in the Open era that no one makes the third round in singles, and one of the comments in response says it’s the first time no men player makes it in the history of Roland-Garros. Either way, the lesson is basically the same: this year, France fell on its face at the French Open.
On the women’s side, expectations were fairly low but the same can’t be said of the French men competing. Sure, no one was expecting Gael Monfils to win it all but as a No. 14-seed, a win over Mikael Ymer to reach the third round would have been well within reason.
Whichever way you look at it, French tennis proved this year at its home Slam that it is in a steep decline.
We’re legitimately wondering what happened here. There was a time in a not-so-distant past where France was a reliable powerhouse. There was a time when few countries, if any, had as many players consistently ranked in the Top 10, 20, 50 or 100 in tennis. (Though to be fair, if the decline of French tennis is indeed here, it hasn’t shown up on the ATP rankings yet: Monfils leads a pack of 11 Frenchmen ranked between No. 15 and No. 86 in the world. It’s just that only three of them are younger than 30 years old.)
Day 7 preview
As usual, here’s the time for our day 7 preview; below, you can see the three matches we’ve decided to highlight for today. You can find the entire schedule here.
Court Suzanne-Lenglen: Philipp Kohlschreiber vs Diego Schwarzman  (First match of the day)
You might say that we’re double-dipping by going with a Philipp Kohlschreiber match once again so soon after having highlighted him for our day 5 preview. But really, this is about Diego Schwartzman, who’s somehow decided to peak this week after arriving in Paris on a streak of four losses. If he gets a win here, it should be smooth sailing until a quarterfinal against Rafael Nadal. Where, yes, he’ll get destroyed.
Court Suzanne-Lenglen: Jessica Pegula  vs Sofia Kenin  (Second match of the day)
Still just 22 years old, Sofia Kenin has a ton to play for here in Paris as the defending champion. She’s been dealt a tricky section where, unlike how it happened for some of her competitors, logic has mostly prevailed. Should she repeat last year’s result—unlike what she did at the Australian Open this year for example—the young American would have earned it the hard way.
Court Suzanne-Lenglen: Coco Gauff  vs Jennifer Brady  (Fourth match of the day)
Ashleigh Barty’s withdrawal from Roland-Garros blew this main draw up and we can’t wait to see who takes advantage of it. Whomever emerges as the winner between Americans Coco Gauff and Jennifer Brady can likely start dreaming big. This isn’t to say that their second week in Paris should be easy. It’s that everyone in the top quarter of the draw comes with their own set of questions and concerns.
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG