Benneteau still dreaming of Olympic spot
Originally published on: 06/06/12 00:00
Benneteau’s refusal to give up on his pursuit of a place at the Olympic Games could yet be rewarded. L’Equipe, France’s national daily newspaper, reported more than three months ago that the French federation had already decided on their line-up to play at the All England Club, but Benneteau believes that there is still a chance that he will be selected.
The initial suggestion was that France would pick their top four players in the rankings to play singles – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gilles Simon, Richard Gasquet and Gael Monfils will fill those slots at the cut-off date next Monday – and that their doubles pairings would be Tsonga and Michael Llodra plus Gasquet and Monfils. That would have been tough on Benneteau, who is the fifth-ranked Frenchman in singles and third in doubles behind Llodra and Nicolas Mahut.
Llodra, France’s best doubles player, is understood to have requested playing with Tsonga, but Benneteau (world No.58 in doubles) would have hoped to be chosen ahead of both Gasquet (world No.186) and Monfils (world No.289). The fitness of Monfils, who pulled out of the French Open with a knee injury, could open the door for Benneteau, who is hoping that final decisions have not been taken. The 30-year-old from Bourg-en-Bresse worked hard on his rehabilitation after breaking his elbow and suffering wrist and ankle injuries in a fall in Monte Carlo last month and surprised many with his return at the French Open.
When asked if he believed he still had a chance of playing in London, Benneteau said it was possible and that he thought his chances were better than they had been at the start of the year. “We have to wait,” he said, confirming that he had discussed the matter with the French federation. “We'll know better on Monday. This is when we have more information about the federation and their decisions vis-a-vis the Olympic Games.”