PARIS ( Associated Press) – Seasoned French players Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gilles Simon have been given wild cards to play in the main draw at the French Open, organizers said on Tuesday.
A former Australian Open runner-up, Tsonga announced earlier this season that he would retire after the clay-court Grand Slam event. The games will start at Roland Garros from 22 May.
Simon said he was retiring at the end of the season after playing 20 years of professional tennis.
Tsonga and Simon are both 37 years old and helped France win the Davis Cup in 2017.
Tsonga reached the semifinals twice at the French Open, in 2013 and 2015. He won 18 ATP titles and reached the final of the Australian Open in 2008, losing to Novak Djokovic.
Tsonga reached a career-high ranking of No. 5 in 2012, but has dropped to No. 263 after his latest prolonged injury. Simon has 14 career titles and a best ranking of sixth in 2009. He is ranked 160th.
“We wanted them to live their last Roland Garros main draw in front of their fans,” said tournament director Amelie Mauresmo. “And to thank him for what he’s done throughout his career.”
12 wild card entries were allocated to French players for the main draw announced on Tuesday. In addition to Tsonga and Simon, the French Tennis Federation said that Lucas Pouille, Corentin Moutet, Manuel Guinard and Grégoire Barrere were also invited to play at Roland Garros.
In the women’s draw, wild cards were awarded to Tessa Andrianzafitrimo, Fiona Ferro, Elsa Jacquemot, Léolia Jeanjean, Chloe Paquet and Harmony Tan.
On Monday, Katie Volinetz and Michael Momoh earned US Tennis Association wild-card entries. The USTA and the French Tennis Federation offer mutual wild-card invitations to each other’s Grand Slam events.
The French Federation has a similar agreement with Tennis Australia. The two wild card entries awarded to Australian players have yet to be announced.
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