Back in 1927, the French trio of Henri Cochet, Réne Lacoste and Jean Borotra took the Davis Cup from Big Bill Tilden and the United States. The cup stayed in France for five years before the Fred Perry led Brits took it away.
Now, we are in 2010, the newest French version of "Les trois Mousketeres" opens up Davis Cup play in France against the Germans.
The French team has three strong singles players. 10th ranked Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, nicknamed "hercule" for his elite power. Ruthless Gael Monfils is ranked No.13—he is known for his "never give up" atittude. Gilles Simon, who has a very solid all-around game is currently ranked 15th, but he has been ranked as high as No.7.
Simon has caused trouble to top players, and is always a threat, despite not being at the top of his game at the moment. Monfils and Tsonga, though the better of the three, will most likely take on the singles, while the team of Simon, Tsonga, or Richard Gasquet along with Michael Llodra, will be doubles partners.
The Germans don't sport an especially talented team, and if the French advance, they will more than likely face the defending champs from Spain.
I think a solid French squad could beat them, though.
Simon is easily the worst of the three. He is consistent, but lacks a powerful serve, forehand, or backhand. Tsonga is powerful from both sides, and has strong serve...and I've always been a fan of Monfils.
If the French get a team of Monfils and Tsonga playing the singles and a team of Gasquet—who has come back nicely since his suspension—and Llodra, who is an extremely gifted doubles player, the team might be able to pull off the gigantic upset.
If they can win one of three matches (Monfils vs. Nadal, Tsonga vs. Nadal or the doubles) they can more than likely win both the singles against world No. 16 David Ferrer.
Monfils, who has been playing well lately, plays his best tennis on clay, the most likely surface for the match. If the match is played on clay, then Rafa, winner of four French Open titles, will win both the singles. But Llodra and Gasquet have a very solid clay-centered game.
If the French think that Rafa will win too easily, I have a picture of this squad in my mind:
Singles: Monfils, Simon
Doubles: Llodra and Tsonga, who were 2-0 last year in Davis Cup play.
The Spanish are probably the biggest threat to the French, so after that, the French will pretty easily get by all the other teams, counting out the Czech (last year's finalists) and the Americans (who beat the French 4-1 last year).
So, in my opinion, the French—who may no longer be considered favorites, or even as a dangerous squad—have one of the three most complete squads, which could trigger them to there first Davis Cup since they defeated the Australians, in 2000.
By the time this thing is over, the French will have the trophy in Louvre, and the Spanish will be considered the biggest threat to the defending champs.
Barring any injuries or withdrawals, I hope to see the French celebrating in December.
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