Cornet takes leave of the French Open and tennis to cheers amid the tears

Even if Alizé Cornet touched on the cold realities of tennis circuit life as she bid good-bye to all that on Court Philippe Chatrier on Tuesday afternoon, there was a heart-warming symmetry to the Frenchwoman's adieux.

In 2005, as a 15-year-old, the French tennis federation, which organises the French Open in Paris offered her a wildcard – tennis speak for an invitation into the main draw of the singles. It was her first Grand Slam tournament.

She lost to compatriot and third seed Amélie Mauresmo in the second round after beating Alina Jidkova who was nearly 600 places above her in the WTA rankings.

In 2024, with her ranking at 106, motivation decreasing and retirement judicious, the federation invited her once again to the Roland Garros stadium in the leafy western fringes of Paris for her last outings as a professional.

Seventh seed Qinwen Zheng made it a simple outing. The 21-year-old from China dispatched Cornet 6-2, 6-1.

Zheng offered a classy ovation to Cornet after the 83-minute annihilation.

Mauresmo was at the end too in her guise as French Open tournament director. The former world number one and tennis federation boss Gilles Moretton led the applause after Cornet was presented with a trophy to hail her career and extend to 69 the record streak of consecutive appearances at the Grand Slam tournaments in Melbourne – where the run started in 2007 – Paris, London and New York.

Change

"Since I was 15-years-old and my first Roland Garros here, I've been living for tennis most of the time," Cornet reflected an hour or so after the defeat.


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