Gilles Simon. An identity branded with hot iron in the history of French tennis. The 37-year-old from Nice capped a twenty-year career at the highest level of tennis at the Masters 1000 of Paris-Bercy, this Thursday, November 3. He lost to Canadian Félix Auger-Aliassime (6-1, 6-3). For his last outing, Gilles Simon would do Gilles Simon in this tournament by knocking out Andy Murray as his pet peeve (3 wins – 16 losses), but also Taylor Fritz when he was more abused.
Gilles Simon, sixth in the world in January 2009, will remain as one of the members of the golden generation of French tennis. The one that saw four of its players evolve into the world top 20 at the same time. There are two notable periods. First in October 2008, when on the 13th of this autumn month, the four men followed each other in the standings with Richard Gasquet (14e), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (15e), Gilles Simon (16e) and Gael Monfils (18e). A week later and thanks to his Masters final in Madrid – then played indoors – Gilles Simon became number one in France (10e) and would remain so for just three weeks, the fault of Tsonga’s excellent end to the season that year.
Then there was August 15, 2011, when four men found themselves together in the world top 15 with the following order: Monfils (8e), Tsonga (10e), Simon (12e), Gasket (13e). The four Musketeers will remain in the world top 20 until May 2012. Proof of the great regularity of the four players and especially the presence of Gilles Simon, during this period, oscillated between 12e and 15e position. Niçois, in any case, has shown great regularity during his career by staying in the top 50 in the world from July 2007 to October 2017.
…remains in the shadow of Monfils, Tsonga and Gasquet
However, Gilles Simon would remain in the shadow of his three other friends for a large part of his career. That didn’t please him. His atypical play style (blocker and raiser) is not as good as the other three. Gaël Monfils conveys the image of a showman, who can surpass himself because of the emulsion of the public. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, newly retired, intoxicates the crowd with his powerful game when Gasquet always makes his fans jump with his delicious backhand.
Gilles Simon, he is famous for his intelligence in the game. More than beauty, she sought pragmatism before the show. Although extension and suspense matches became his trademark. And that smiled on him, because he was one of the few players who won against Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, the famous “Big Three”. He distinguished himself, in particular, by his particularly relevant speeches at press conferences.
Quiet Grand Slam performances
Unlike his friends, Gilles Simon has never reached the last four of a Grand Slam tournament. His major weapon victories remain two quarter-finals: one at the Australian Open in 2009 against Rafael Nadal and one at Wimbledon in 2015 against Roger Federer. Not enough to arouse the curiosity of the general public, which was shaken by the performances at Roland-Garros. During the Parisian Major, Niçois has never been better than a round of 16 (2011, 2013, 2015). It is clearly disappointing for this player to play, however, fourteen Grand Slam matches lasting more than four hours (six wins – eight losses).
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His story at Roland-Garros will still take a historic turn in 2022, because it was on center court, against the American Steve Johnson, that he won his 500e ATP match, as well as Richard Gasquet and Gaël Monfils.
Fourteen titles including an ATP 500
Gilles Simon, winner of the 2017 Davis Cup, went for the results he deserved. He won fourteen titles. His most prestigious? The ATP 500 in Hamburg (Germany) against Spaniard Nicolas Almagro in 2011.
If we continue comparing his three tricolor friends, he is better than Gasquet (15 ATP 250) but less than Tsonga (18 titles including 2 ATP 500 and 2 Masters 1000) and Gaël Monfils (11 titles including 3 ATP 500) . His main disappointment will remain his defeat against Roger Federer in the Masters 1000 final in Shanghai (China), where the “Professor” lost after two tie-breaks (7-6). 7-6 ). As obvious.