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France has consistently produced top tennis players over the last couple of decades. In case you needed any reminder, they’ve produced guys like Simon, Gasquet, Monfils, Mannarino, Tsonga, and many others in the past. However, at the time of writing, it’s very much the case that the better French players are starting to enter the twilight of their careers. In fact, if you look at the top 100 rankings in the ATP right now, there is just one French guy who is under 25 years of age.
Perhaps more amazingly, most of the French players who are still ranked inside the top 100 are over 30 years of age. This includes guys like Lestienne, Gasquet, and Mannarino. Now, why am I stating this, and how does it relate to the victory of Arthur Fils against Richard Gasquet yesterday? Well, I’m showcasing these facts because it shows that French tennis is in desperate need of some younger guys breaking through.
And with Arthur Fils being 18 years of age, some are curious as to whether he could be the next big thing in the French game. Let me give you the scoop on this match and the player as a whole to assess these beliefs.
18-Year-Old Arthur Fils – Potential to Be Great?
At the time of writing, Arthur Fils is ranked 163 in the world. And considering that this guy was born in July 2004, this puts him right up there as one of the most promising teenagers on the ATP Tour. Let me cover the specifics of his match with Gasquet and a couple of other things to highlight why I say this:
Win Against Gasquet
This first-round match at the ATP 250 event in Montpellier saw the apprentice of French tennis take down the master. Gasquet had never lost in the opening round of this tournament until yesterday, and he has won the event three times. This makes it all the more impressive that Fils took Gasquet down in straight sets, which was his maiden win in an ATP main draw event – since Challengers aren’t considered ATP-level tournaments.
Having watched the match, I noticed that Fils has a strong mindset, he has great power at his disposal, and he’s a solid mover around the court too.
Performance on Challenger Tour
Fils has already competed in two Challenger tournaments in 2023. These were played in Portugal and France, and Fils really asserted himself in these events. Firstly, he won the Challenger tournament in Portugal, taking down guys like Berankis en route to the title. And secondly, he made the final of the Challenger in France just a couple of weeks ago. In that match, he lost to another Frenchman in the form of Barrere.
However, these last two tournaments show that Arthur Fils means business in 2023.
Rise Through the Rankings
This time last year, Arthur Fils was ranked 619 in the world. But in just 12 months, he has steadily climbed the rankings thanks to a series of promising results. Currently, he is at a career-high ranking of 163, and his ranking will be going up even further now he’s won a match in Montpellier. Depending on how he does this week, he could even come close to the top 100.
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