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Open secrets, part VI

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Tsonga out

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga held a press conference at 6 pm on Saturday in a hotel in Paris to announce that he was withdrawing from the tournament. This year's Australian Open finalist will have to have an operation on his right knee and will also miss Wimbledon. The No.14 seed will be replaced by a lucky loser who will face American qualifier Scoville Jenkins in the first round.

Attendance up for the qualifiers

The tournament has already got off to a good start with attendance figures up 9.7 % on 2007 for the qualifying matches with 9,773 spectators coming through the gates.

Grosjean in the doubles

While Sebastian Grosjean’s sore shoulder caused him to pull out of the singles, he will be lining up in the doubles with none other than Brazilian Gustavo Kuerten. The former French number one and the three-time Roland Garros champion should prove a huge draw for the crowds but it remains to be seen how competitive the two injured players will be.

Justine’s emotion

Just a few days after announcing her retirement, Justine Henin talked to the press at Roland Garros earlier today. “I don’t think I’m a nostalgic sort of person,” said the four-time French Open winner. “I don’t need to walk on the centre court to remember the emotions that I felt. They’re engraved in my heart and in my memory. Everything that I wanted to happen in my career happened here at Roland Garros, and more than once. I really made the most of it, especially last year maybe because I felt that it would be the last time. I could never relive the wonderful experience of 2003 or last year. I have no regrets and I’m capable of moving on. I don’t need to come back to Roland Garros. I’m very happy and proud of what I’ve achieved.”

Juninho wishes Guga good luck

Juninho, who plays midfield for French football champions Lyon, spoke to Gustavo Kuerten by telephone on Friday to wish him all the best for his last ever tournament. “I’ve been an admirer of Guga’s for such a long time. Everyone in Brazil loves him. I’ll try to come and cheer him on tomorrow (against Paul-Henri Mathieu) before leaving for Dubai on Monday with Lyon,” said the Brazilian star who will be playing in tonight’s French cup final at the Stade de France against Paris-Saint Germain.

Devilder happy with his lot

Having ended up as the only Frenchman to make it through the qualifiers, Nicolas Devilder was happy enough with the draw which sees him face Australia’s Chris Guccione in the first round. “It’s not a bad draw,” Devilder said. “He’s not really a clay-court specialist. He’s got a really good serve that means that my returns will have to be on song. There’s no pressure on me and anything could happen at this tournament. It’s great to have got through the qualifiers but I want to make it even further.”

Josselin Ouanna gets a second chance
The men’s draw has lost another two players - Germany’s Nicolas Kiefer and Italian Fabio Fognini. Two lucky losers, namely Marc Lopez from Spain and Frenchman Josselin Ouanna, will be replacing them, with Lopez facing Finnish No.26 seed Jarkko Nieminen and Ouanna taking on Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro.

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