Elie-Claude Argy Director of the Palais des Sports de Marseille, Bruno Genzana Vice-President of the Departmental Council in charge of sport, Jean-François Cajole Tournament Director, Marin Cili, professional player ranked 37th in the world.
Marin Cilic and the BNP Paribas Jeunes Talents team, who were responsible for the draw, have put together a high quality draw.
There was a big crowd in the Players? Lounge of the Palais des Sports to discover what the 28th edition of the Open 13 Provence would hold. Before the draw, the speakers at the presentation press conference, which was held at the opening of the event, all emphasised the importance of the tournament in Marseille and the quality, once again, of the field on offer: Bruno Genzana, Vice-President of the Departmental Council in charge of sports, Elie-Claude Argy, Director of the Palais des Sports de Marseille, and Jean-Claude Bousteau, President of the PACA Tennis League, congratulated Jean-François Caujolle, the happy director of the Open 13 Provence, which this year featured no less than three players in the world?s Top 10 and three other members of the Top 20.
Marin Cilic, 37th in the ATP rankings, assisted by the young players of the Team BNP Paribas Jeunes Talents, carried out the draw, under the guidance of referee Pascal Maria.
The Croatian's name came out late in the game, and Maria was even amused: "Well, no one has dared to take Marin yet". The 2016 finalist preferred to let the young Geoffroy draw the name of his opponent: Filip Krajinovic (39th). It's going to be a very difficult match, as always here in Marseille," said Cilic, a young father. He's having a great run in Rotterdam this week, so I'll have to play my best tennis on the court to hope for a good result. But I feel very good, I played very well at the Australian Open. It's very encouraging for the season. I've just spent two weeks at home to welcome my son and today I'm really happy to be in Marseille where I haven't been since my final in 2016.
Very attractive French duels
Fate has not been kind to the French players either: Gilles Simon, a two-time winner in Marseille, will face Harold Mayot, winner of the last Australian Open for juniors, in the first round as a wild card. Another French duel is expected between Benoit Paire and Grégoire Barrère, who has also received an invitation. Pierre-Hugues Herbert will face last year's finalist Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan in the first round. Antoine Hoang (138th, WC) will not have an easy time against Poland's Hurkacz, ranked 29th in the world, who reached the second round last year. Finally, Richard Gasquet, if he can get past Sweden's Mikael Ymer, will face defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas in the second round. Like the Greek, the other top seeds, Daniil Medvedev (No. 1), David Goffin (No. 3) and Denis Shapovalov (No. 4), will only play in the second round.
Jean-François Caujolle could not help but be pleased: "I expected that this year there would not be many defections, so this last week was not too hard. I am very happy, even if I have taken a step back from all that and I know today that the tennis hierarchy is such that there is not so much difference between players ranked 15, 30 or 50. It's mainly that there are more attractive names! It's really a very dense field, with the latest entrants like Gasquet, Fucsovics, Sinner, Ymer, who are all capable of being in the Top 30 at the end of the season. There are also these inter-generational duels between French players which will be very attractive.
So who will succeed Stefanos Tsitsipas? The answer will be given on Monday...
Marin Cilic, professional player ranked 37th in the world, Jean-François Caujolle, Tournament Director, Bruno Genzana, Vice-President of the Departmental Council in charge of sports, Elie-Claude Argy, Director of the Palais des Sports and Jean-Claude Cousteau, President of the PACA Tennis League