French Open Disgracefully Snubs Dominic Thiem with no Wild Card

Adam Walton

As you can see, six of the eight are French players, whilst the remaining two are American and Australian due to being selected by the USTA and Tennis Australia in return for wild cards into the US Open and Australian Open. Before we go into why it’s embarrassing that Dominic Thiem didn’t receive a wild card, let’s take a look in more detail at the French wild cards given out.

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Outside of Richard Gasquet–who’s a former Top 10 player, several-time Grand Slam semifinalist and one of the biggest stars in French tennis the past 20 year–and nearing the end of his career, it’s clear on paper that this is the only one of the six which makes more than a little sense. The 37-year-old has given his all to his country, including absolute epics at Roland Garros against the likes of Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka that tennis fans will likely never forget. As for the others, it’s not the same story.

Pierre-Hugues Herbert has no doubt contributed a fair amount to tennis over the years, but without ever making the second week of a Grand Slam and also never breaking the world’s Top 30, questions are only growing bigger with the decision. He’s had a stellar doubles career, winning all four Majors, but that in no shape and form should contribute to a singles wild card at one of the biggest events in the sport. It just doesn’t.

With the other Frenchmen we’re looking at 22-year-olds Atmane and Mayot, who are both ranked outside the Top 125. 20-year-old Mpetshi Perricard who’s not played a match on the main tour all season with just a handful in his entire career. No doubt the French have faith in these youngsters breaking the Top 100 soon and only working up their way in the rankings, but really there’s nothing to go off to suggest anything special from any of them just yet. It’s simply throwing wild cards to youngsters hoping they perform, build off from the chance and also using the prize money to better themselves post-event.

The final wild card is Alexandre Muller, who’s a bit older than the youngsters mentioned above at 27 years old. But despite entering the second half of his career now, he has never made it past the second round at a Grand Slam with just one final on tour. I’ll leave it at that as you’ve most likely already spotted a pattern with almost all these wild cards.

I won’t go into the wild cards given to the USTA and Tennis Australia as even though I don’t agree with the decisions, these wild cards are always given to both associations and it’s been happening for long enough now that I understand it’s just procedure. Neither of these two organizations should feel entitled to give a someone far more deserving a wild card.

The French Open’s Dominic Thiem Snub

Either way, let’s talk about Dominic Thiem now. The Austrian sadly announced this would be his last season on tour after struggling with a horrific wrist injury for the last few years, an injury which saw him drop from the third best player in the world to outside the Top 300. He is now currently #117 and struggling massively for any sort of wins on the main tour and even the Challenger one. With the struggle constantly keeping on, it’s clear to see why he’s no longer willing to stick around in hope for a win here and there when he was once going home with titles every few weeks.

The Austrian is also not only a two-time Roland Garros finalist, he’s also an Australian Open runner-up alongside a US Open champion. That’s right, he’s a former Grand Slam champion to add alongside his heroics on the Paris clay, such as when he beat Novak Djokovic 7-5 In an epic in 2019 and then proceeded to give us two sets of amazing tennis against Rafael Nadal in the final before succumbing to fatigue–two sets of tennis I personally will never forget due to the insane quality from both sides of the court.

The fact is, Dominic Thiem played a huge part in how good men’s tennis has been the past seven years or so. It’s highlighted with the Grand Slam results mentioned above, as well as five wins against Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer each and six against Rafael Nadal. In total, 16 wins against the best three players we’ve ever seen in the game–including a fair few in Grand Slams, something barely any other player could brag about.

Add to these achievements, two finals at the end-year ATP Finals which only the best eight players of that season contend, 17 titles–including the US Open mentioned above as well as a Masters title in Indian Wells–it’s a stunning career sadly cut far too short due to injury.

The bottom line is, the French Tennis Federation should be utterly ashamed and embarrassed of themselves. They’ve had six wild cards to distribute as they’ve wanted and this on paper has been one of the most deserving and obvious wild cards that the sport has ever seen. That’s not an exaggeration. Even the likes of Diego Schwartzman, one of the best clay-courters of the past ten years who’s retiring in less than a year would have been a better shout than five of the six.

The 2020 US Open champion has most likely contributed more to tennis than the other six Frenchman will have in their whole careers combined, and it’s simply disrespectful he wasn’t given one, no tennis fan would argue against that.