Bernard Tomic is set to struggle against French fan favourite Richard Gasquet. Image courtesy of theaustraliancom.au/AP
It’s been 45 years since an Aussie has won the men’s French Open, and our long run of outs at Rolland Garros is set to continue with Leyton Hewitt and Bernard Tomic only slim chances of advancing to the second round. You have to go back to 1969 when arguably the best ever Australian to pick up a tennis racquet reigned supreme in France. Rod Laver is of course the legend and 'Rocket Rod' was the last Aussie to triumph in the clay court slam.
Tomic’s campaign in France gets underway on Tuesday night, but he is expected to repeat his poor 2013 clay-court form when he faces experienced local Richard Gasquet . The enigmatic 21-year-old failed to win a set, yet alone a match, at last year’s tournament when he was knocked out in the first round by Romanian Victor Hanescu. Tomic will have to overcome the ferocious backhand of Gasquet, if he hopes to upset the crowd favourite. Currently ranked 13th in the world, the Frenchman has a wealth of experience under his belt and will have the vocal crowd firmly behind him from the first rally.
Veteran Lleyton Hewitt is also expected to make an early exit at the hands of world number 47 Carlos Berlocq . The 33-year-old might be in the last throws of a successful career, but he is certainly capable of an upset or two. The former world number one showed he still has plenty of fight left in him when he beat a host of big name players, including Roger Federer, earlier in the year to take out the Brisbane International. Bookies have made him a rank outsider to overcome Berlocq on a surface which has never suited him. The Aussie looks reasonable odds considering he's ranked higher than the Argentinian.
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