By Julien Pretot
PARIS (Reuters) – After being denied a wildcard into his last French Open, Paul-Henri Mathieu pushed his body through three-rounds of qualifying but on Monday he could do no more and bowed out after a 6-2 6-2 6-2 first round loss to David Goffin.
The French veteran, who won the junior title at Roland Garros in 2000, pushed Rafa Nadal to the limit on the Parisian clay in 2006 and also won the second longest French Open singles match against John Isner in 2012.
French federation president Bernard Giudicelli, however, felt Mathieu’s past heroics did not merit a wildcard entry into the 2017 main draw.
Mathieu, who reached a career-high ranking of 12th in 2008, felt further aggrieved when he saw he had been scheduled to play on Court One rather than on the main Philippe Chatrier or Suzanne Lenglen showcourts.
“It was tough physically this morning. I was aching everywhere when I woke up. There was no miracle possible,” said the 35-year-old Mathieu, who recently suffered from a hip injury.
“I’m disappointed to finish like this. I lived incredible moments here.”
It was Mathieu’s 15th French Open.
“I would not have imagined ended up having to play the qualifications,” said the world number 120, whose best performance at his home slam was reaching the fourth round in 2008.
“I dug deep to get into the main draw but at my age, you don’t recuperate that well. Emotionally, too, I left a lot of energy last week.”
(Reporting by Julien Pretot, editing by Pritha Sarkar)