Former world No. 17 and retired since 2010, Fabrice Santoro confides this Sunday in the columns of L’Equipe his sadness at having never been called to help French tennis, which is going through a difficult period.
He is a consultant for Amazon Prime and interviewer on the court during Roland-Garros and works all the rest of the year in finance. But Fabrice Santoro (50) regrets not playing an active role in the recovery of French tennis, which is going through a difficult period with no player qualified for the third round at Porte d’Auteuil. In an interview with The teamthe former world No. 17, winner of two Davis Cups and two Australian Open doubles, appeals to the FFT, saying he is available to give advice to high-level players.
“At the end of my career, I had a lot of requests from abroad to collaborate with different federations. But I said to myself that, on the one hand, I wanted to live in France because I had been quite deprived of my country during 20, 25 years of circuit and, on the other hand, I was at the disposal of my Federation. (…) When someone suggests that I take care of 12-13 year olds, it’s like asking pastry chef Christophe Michalak to make a veal blanquette. My skills, if I have any, are on the very high level, not on the training sector. There are dozens of coaches better than me,” explains Fabrice Santoro, who cites Spain as an example, with Juan Carlos Ferrero, Carlos Moya and Sergi Brughera present alongside the best players.
Santoro: “I’m not embittered, I’m sad”
The man with six titles in singles and 24 in doubles disagrees with members of the FFT who believe that France is facing a “generational gap” and calls for better decisions: “It’s too easy to go straight to the consequence. For me, there is a “gap” of good decisions, but there is no generational gap in a country which has a million licensees, inexhaustible resources, clubs, Roland-Garros, poles, courts of tennis even in any village. It’s like that, we have nothing to do with it? No. And I’m away. I’m not bitter, I’m sad. (…) We often talk about the family of French tennis. We should rather speak of a political family. If you’re not in the political family, you don’t work. And I don’t do politics…”
After Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who regretted not having access to the Roland-Garr player-loungebones (access has since been granted to him), another former great French player is trying to kick the anthill to revive French tennis. Meanwhile, the Peruvian Juan Pablo Varillas (94th in the world), the Austrian Stefan Ofner (118th) or the Argentinian Tomas Etcheverry (49th) will play in the round of 16 at Roland-Garros.