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Most famous French sport professionals

France is lucky and proud to have so many professional players in various disciplines who are among the very best players in the world. applause.gif

In TENNIS, France has also got many players who are or were at least in the Top 10, with:

  • Amélie Mauresmo, who was World No. 1. in 2004.

Amélie Mauresmo, French tennis player

She won two Grand Slam singles titles in 2006, at the Australian Open and at Wimbledon. She won 24 titles in singles and 2 in doubles. Mauresmo also won a silver medal in singles at the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004 where she was defeated by Belgian Justine Henin in the final.

  • Mary Pierce who won 4 Grand Slam titles, two in singles (the Australian Open in 1995 and Roland Garros in 2000) and two in doubles. She also won 18 tournaments in singles and reached 23 finals. Her best ranking in singles and doubles was No. 3.

Mary Pierce French tennis player

  • Nathalie Tauziat (former player) reached the Wimbledon final in 1998 and won 8 titles in singles. She also won 25 titles in doubles. Her highest ranking in singles and doubles was No. 3 (in 2000 and 2002)

Nathalie Tauziat French tennis player

  • Marion Bartoli won 3 WTA titles, and was runner-up at the 2007 Wimbledon the No. 1 female French player.

She has been ranked as high as No. 9 in the world, and as of March 24th, 2008,

Marion Bartoli French tennis player

Marion Bartoli lost the Wimbledon final against Venus Williams in 2007.

  • Tatiana Golovin. The 20-year-old player has already won 2 titles in singles and her best ranking so far is No. 12 (2008)

Tatiana Golovin French tennis player

She is best known for winning the 2004 French Open mixed doubles event with Richard Gasquet (picture below), and also for reaching the singles quarterfinal at the 2006 US Open, losing to the eventual champion Maria Sharapova.

Tatiana Golovin and Richard Gasquet at French Open

  • Nathalie Dechy is a three-time doubles Grand Slam champion, winning the 2006 U.S. Open ladies title with Vera Zvonareva, the 2007 French Open mixed doubles title with Andy Ram and the 2007 U.S. Open ladies title with Dinara Safina. Her biggest singles achievement is reaching the semifinals of the 2005 Australian Open, where she was just two points away from the final, before eventually losing to Lindsay Davenport. She reached her highest ranking (No. 11) in 2006 in singles and No. 8 in doubles (2007)

Nathalie Dechy French tennis player

Nathalie Dechy (right) with Russian tennis player Dinara Safina (Marat Safin’s sister)

  • Virginie Razzano has reached her best ranking this year (No.24). In September 2007, Razzano won her first career singles title in Guangzhou, China. The following month, she claimed her second career title, also in Asia, shocking Venus Williams, 4–6, 7–6(7), 6–4 at the Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo.

Virginie Razzano French tennis player

  • Alizé Cornet (born on January 22nd, 1990 in Nice) has reached her best ranking this year (No. 17) at the age of 18. She reached the final in Acapulco and the semi-finals in Amelia Island and Charleston (a Tier I event) this year and won her first WTA title at the Budapest Grand Prix in July 2008, defeating Andreja Klepac of Slovenia 7-6 (5), 6-3.

Alizé also has an extensive juniors record, winning the 2007 Girl’s Singles at Roland Garros.

Alizé Cornet French tennis player

  • Aravane Rezaï is an Iranian-French tennis player born in St. Etienne, France to Iranian parents. She was ranked No. 40 last year. She reached the final of the 2008 ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand, despite being unseeded. She lost to American, Lindsay Davenport, 6–2, 6–2.

Aravane Rezaï French tennis player

  • Camille Pin is ranked No. 62 on the WTA Singles Tour. She made headlines at the 2007 Australian Open, after playing top seed Maria Sharapova in the first round and coming within two points of winning the match. After recovering from a 0–5 deficit in the final set, Pin eventually lost with a final score of 3–6, 6–4, 7–9. On March 9th, 2008, Camille won the Hilton Cup, defeating American Asia Muhammad 6–4, 6–1.

Camille Pin French tennis player

  • Pauline Parmentier:

Pauline Parmentier (born on January 31st 1986 in Cucq) is a French professional tennis player. She achieved her best ranking (No. 40) in July 2008.

She won the Gastein Ladies by beating Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-4 on Sunday 20th July 2008 after trailing 1-4 in the first set.

It was Parmentier’s second WTA Tour title after winning in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, last year.

  • Julie Coin:

Julie Coin defeats Ivanovic at US Open

No. 188 in the world and qualifier Julie Coin registered the biggest upset in US Open women’s history on August 28th 2008, sending world No. 1 and top seed Ana Ivanovic crashing out in the second round.

This is the first time in last 40 years of US Open that the top seeded player has lost in the second round. Julie, who has not even played any Grand Slam before, defeated top seed player with extremely powerful serves, and shots.

It was only Coin’s second victory on the WTA Tour.

Julie Coin defeats Ivanovic at US Open

world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic congratulating Julie Coin.

  • Gilles Simon:

Gilles Simon famous French tennis player

Gilles Simon was born on December 27th 1984 in Nice. He turned pro in 2002 and his highest ranking ever, as of 2008 is No. 7. In 2006 he reached the final of the Valencia Open. In 2007 he won the Marseille Open, his first ATP Tour title, and then in September, he won his second title in Romania.

Gilles Simon famous French tennis player

He won his fourth ATP title after a convincing 6-4 6-4 victory over Russian Dmitry Tursunov at the Indianapolis Championships on Sunday, July 20th, 2008.

On Saturday October 18th 2008, Simon defeated world No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the semifinals of the Mutua Madrileña Madrid Masters in 3 sets 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (8-6). Simon will become No. 1 among French players from Monday 20th October.

Rafael Nadal and Gill Simon Masters series Madrid tennis

Simon is congratulated by Spain’s Rafael Nadal after his stunning victory.

Gilles Simon famous French tennis player

  • Cédric Pioline (who is a retired player today) reached the final at The US Open in 1993 and Wimbledon in 1997. He also won five singles titles in his career, the biggest coming at the ATP Masters Series event in Monte Carlo in 2000, and one in doubles. His highest ranking was No. 5 in 2000.

Cédric Pioline French tennis player

  • Fabrice Santoro is known for using both hands for every possible shot. He won 24 titles in doubles and 5 in singles: he won the 2003 and 2004 Australian Open with his partner Michaël Llodra, and has been runner-up, in doubles, at the 2002 Australian Open, 2004 French Open and at 2006 Wimbledon. He also won the 2005 French Open mixed doubles title with Daniela Hantuchová.

Fabrice Santoro

In addition to his doubles prowess, Fabrice is famous for his cheerful attitude on the court and his vast arsenal of tricky shots, making him a crowd favorite. His varied and innovative style has earned him the nickname “The Magician“.

Santoro became the eighth oldest champion on the ATP Tour since 1980 with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Prakash Amritraj at the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships on Sunday July 13th 2008.

Santoro, 35, picked up his sixth career title, and first since 2005 by beating the wild card Amritraj, who was competing in his first final.

Only three players have been older champions than Santoro on the ATP Tour, including Jimmy Connors, who won four titles at a more advanced age than the Frenchman.

Along with his age, Santoro became just the third champion to successfully defend his title here, joining Bryan Shelton (1991-92) and Greg Rusedski (2004-05). He is also the first second seed to finish on top of this grasscourt tournament since Johan Kriek in 1981.

On Saturday, Santoro collected his 450th career win by topping American Vincent Spadea in the semifinals. Only Roger Federer (594), Carlos Moya (557) and Lleyton Hewitt (485) have amassed more wins.

Winning for the first time since Los Angeles in 2005, Santoro pocketed $64,000.

  • Richard Gasquet reached his best ranking in 2007 (No. 7). The 22-year-old champion has already won 5 titles in singles and 2 in doubles.

Richard Gasquet French tennis player

  • Arnaud Clément won 4 titles in singles and 10 in doubles. In July 2007, he and Michaël Llodra won the men’s doubles title at Wimbledon, beating World N. 1 and number one seeds defending champions Bob and Mike Bryan. His best ranking was No. 10 in singles and doubles (2001 and 2007)

Arnaud Clément French tennis player

Clément (left) and Llodra

  • Sébastien Grosjean‘s best ranking was No. 4 in 2002. He won 4 titles in singles and 5 in doubles. He reached 3 semi-finals at the Australian Open in 2001, at the French Open in 2001, at Wimbledon in 2003 and 2004, and at the US Open in 2000, 2005 and 2007.

Sébastien Grosjean French tennis player

  • Paul-Henri-Mathieu (called “PHM”) has reached his best ranking this year (No. 12). The 26-year-old player won 4 singles titles.

Paul-Henri-Mathieu French tennis player

  • Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has reached his best ranking of No. 6 this year. Tsonga recently rose to fame by virtue of his performance in the 2008 Australian Open when, as an unseeded player, he reached the final, having defeated four seeded players along the way, including earning a straight sets win over world number 2 Rafael Nadal in the semifinals. Tsonga eventually lost to world number 3 Novak Djokovic in the final in 4 sets, after winning the first set. Tsonga won his first ATP Masters Series Tournament on November 2nd 2008 when he beat Argentine David Nalbandian 6-3 4-6 6-4 to clinch the last qualifying spot for the season’s finale in Shanghai.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga French tennis player

  • Gaël Monfils:

Gaël Monfils reaches French Open semi-finals

His highest ranking ever, as of 2008 is No. 14. In his career, he won one ATP singles final: 2005 Sopot (beat Florian Mayer of Germany). Two months later, he reached the final in Metz, but lost to Croat Ivan Ljubicic.

In 2004, he finished the year as the world’s no.1 junior. He won three of the four junior Grand slam titles (Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon) but failed to join Stefan Edberg as the only player to win the “Junior Grand Slam” when he lost in the third round of the U. S. Open to Viktor Troicki of Serbia and Montenegro (4–6, 2–6).

In his first tournament of 2006, in Doha, he reached the final but lost 3–6, 6–7 to World Number 1 Roger Federer.

Monfils reached the semi-finals at the French Open this year. He lost againt No.1 Roger Federer in 4 sets.

  • Julien Benneteau (born on December 20th, 1981 in Bourg en Bresse)

Julien Benneteau famous French tennis player

In the 1996 Orange Bowl Benneteau won the Boys 16s singles title. At the 2006 French Open, he reached the quarterfinals by defeating the 2006 Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis, Radek Stepanek and Alberto Martín. There he was defeated in straight sets (6–2, 6–2, 6–3) by fourth-seeded player Ivan Ljubi?i? of Croatia.

The Frenchman finished the 2008 season in the Top 50 for the second time in three years. During the season he reached two ATP finals at Casablanca, where he lost to fellow countryman Gilles Simon, and at Lyon (l. Soderling). In Grand Slam play his best performance came at Roland Garros where he reached the fourth round before losing to eventual runner-up and world number one Roger Federer. He reached his best ranking (No. 35) in May 2007.

  • Marc Gicquel (born on March 30th, 1977 in Tunis, Tunisia):

Marc Gicquel famous French tennis player

He turned pro in 1999.

On November 6th 2006, Gicquel broke into the top 50 after reaching his first ATP Tour final in Lyon, where he was defeated by Richard Gasquet, his countryman. On April 30th, 2007, Gicquel broke into the top 40 after reaching the semifinals of Casablanca.

He defeated second seed Tommy Robredo at the 2007 Grand Prix de Tennis de Lyon in the first round and beat Alejandro Falla in the semifinals to reach the Lyon final for two years running. His run, however, was halted by another Frenchman, Sébastien Grosjean.

  • Jérémy Chardy (born on February 12th, 1987 in Pau)

Jeremy Chardy famous French player

He reached his highest ranking (No. 94) in June 2008.

He won the 2005 Wimbledon Championships Boys’ Singles title, and finished as the runner-up of the 2005 US Open Boys’ Singles, losing to Ryan Sweeting.

Chardy made his Grand Slam debut in 2006, benefitting of a wild card at the French Open, where he beat Jonas Bjorkman in straight sets in the first round before losing in four sets to fifteenth-seeded David Ferrer in the second round.

In 2008, after losing the final of the Marrakech Challenger in May to eventual French Open semifinalist Gael Monfils, Chardy produced his best Grand Slam showing so far in his professional career at the French Open, where he entered as a wild card, and came back in the second round from being led two-sets-to-love by ATP No. 6 David Nalbandian to defeat him 3–6, 4–6, 6–2, 6–1, 6–2. He continued his run beating thirtieth seed Dmitry Tursunov 7–6(1), 6–3, 6–4, before losing in the fourth round to nineteenth seed Nicolas Almagro 7–6(0) 7–6(7), 7–5, after holding set points in each of the three sets.

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