Since the start of qualifying on Monday at Roland-Garros, court No. 14 has been the scene of many turnarounds. The scenarios to sleep outside and the crazy lifts paraded all week in the heat of the Porte d’Auteuil. But Friday, between the drops, Geoffrey Blancaneaux is undoubtedly the one who came back from further. Not from an accounting point of view, as his duel against the German Daniel Masur in the third and last round turned into a demonstration (6-1, 6-3 in 1h08). No, at 23, he came back from even further.
“It does somethingconfessed in a wavering voice his father, Michel, seeing the 198th player in the world begin his lap of honor with the French flag on his back. He deserves it. It is the reward of fifteen years of work for him, with six difficult last years. » Winner of the junior tournament in 2016, beating in particular in the final the Canadian Félix Auger-Aliassime (current 9th player in the world), Blancaneaux then had all the trouble in the world to confirm. Ranked 569th at the end of 2018, he thought of stopping everything, far from the hopes raised by his title. “A year ago, he hardly knew how to play tennis anymore, he couldn’t get a ball inremembers his trainer Xavier Le Gall. We were at the end of the world and he was not winning a match, mentally tough. »
Fucsovics will be his opponent in the first round
A very distant description of the player who seemed to be walking on water on Friday on clay in Paris. “He has all the lines with him”, exclaimed the captain of the French Davis Cup team Sébastien Grosjean, one of the 2,200 spectators who attended the rebirth of the only Frenchman to have emerged from qualifying. Full of confidence and quickly in front, he triggered an ola at the end of the first set after a one-handed backhand passing, when he normally plays it with two hands. “As soon as I set foot on the field, I felt the special atmosphere, he said after his success. I loved this moment. I wanted it to last for hours and hours. »
Freed from a weight last December thanks to his first Challenger success in Portugal, Blancaneaux, long hair and white headband on his head, only trembled half a time. On his first opportunity to fold the game, he did not let slip a ball that seemed to come out. Despite a second cartridge, he dropped his face-off and a hint of a disaster scenario crossed the court n°14. Without however reaching the confidence of the Frenchman. “It didn’t cross my mind, I had the game under control and I was ready to outlast him if necessary. » The opportunity will never arise, Blancaneaux joining in the first round the Hungarian Marton Fucsovics, 55th player in the world, on his third match point. “I have three wins, there are still seven if I want to lift the trophy”, he blurted out with a smile that didn’t seem to want to leave him anymore.
Geoffrey Blancaneaux, during his third qualifying round. (S. Boué/The Team)