Lyon had staged an ATP tournament on indoor courts between 1987-2009, with John McEnroe, Pete Sampras, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Ivan Ljubicic, Andy Roddick and Robin Soderling among the champions. That tournament had switched to Montpellier in 2011 and Lyon returned to the circuit in 2017 with the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Lyon on clay courts, placed in the week before the Roland Garros.
This is the last chance for the players in the draw to raise their game ahead of the second Major of the season and travel to Paris in the best possible shape, just like Dominic Thiem did in 2018. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was the inaugural champion in 2017 and he is the first confirmed player for the next year's edition that will take place between 17-23 May.
The ATP Comeback player of the year nominee has gained 210 positions on the ATP ranking list in 2019, suffering that terrible knee injury in Montpellier in February 2018 and dropping out from the top-100 eight months later for the first time since 2007.
As was expected, the Frenchman struggled to find the form once he returned in the closing stages of the previous season, gathering energy for an impressive comeback in the season behind us. Ranked outside the top-230, Jo-Wilfried was back at his best in Brisbane, beating Thanasi Kokkinakis, Taro Daniel and Alex de Minaur to reach the first semi-final in almost a year.
Novak Djokovic proved to be too strong in the second round at the Australian Open and Tsonga went home to conquer the title in Montpellier where his problems started a year ago, gaining a massive boost in what had been an emotional moment for him.
A former Grand Slam finalist lost to Daniil Medvedev in the quarter-final in Rotterdam and had to slow down in the next couple of weeks, returning in Marrakech on clay where he advanced into the semi-final, playing in the last eight at Bordeaux Challenger to crack the top-100 again.
After Lyon and Roland Garros, Tsonga grabbed four wins on grass ahead of mediocre North American hard-court swing, heading back to Europe after an early US Open loss and conquering Cassic Challenger and an ATP title in Metz, securing enough points to crack the top-40 and continue his progress.
In front of the partisan crowd at Paris Masters, Jo-Wilfried advanced into the quarter-final to find himself in the top-30 for the first time since February last year, finishing the season in the selected group for the 11th time in the last 12 years and earning the Comeback player of the year award nomination together with Stan Wawrinka, Andrey Rublev and Andy Murray.