25 May 2012

Injured Monfils pulls out of French Open

7:15 am on 25 May 2012

France's hopes of ending a 29-year wait for a men's champion have been dealt a major blow with local star Gael Monfils withdrawing from the French Open after failing to recover from a right knee injury.

Monfils, the world No.13, who reached the semi-finals in 2008 and quarter-finals in 2009 and 2010, needs around three weeks to recover.

The 25-year-old had looked likely to pull out of the second Grand Slam event of the season when he slumped to a straight-sets defeat to world No.216 Brian Baker of the United States in Nice on Thursday.

Monfils will be replaced in Friday's draw by a 'lucky loser' from qualifying ahead of the start of the tournament on Sunday night.

Yannick Noah was the last Frenchman to win at Roland Garros in 1983.

At the start of the week, big-serving American Mardy Fish and two-time finalist Robin Soderling of Sweden announced they wouldn't be appearing at Roland Garros, while the women's world No.16 Andrea Petkovic of Germany also pulled out due to a right ankle problem.