Lucas Pouille, 29, says he "stopped the train just before the crash" as the Frenchman is already making a strong case to be one of the best stories from this year's French Open. Pouille, a former top-10 player, battled severe depression last year and that led to him turning to alcohol to cope with the pain.
After losing his last six matches of 2022 and abruptly ending his 2022 season in June, Pouille returned to tennis earlier this year. Pouille, now ranked at no 675 in the world, won three qualifying matches to reach the French Open main draw before also beating Jurij Rodionov 6-2 6-4 6-3 for his first Grand Slam main draw win since the 2019 US Open.
"Sometimes we have moments where we crack. These moments were very difficult because I was going to hit the wall. I think I stopped the train at the right moment before the crash," Pouille said, per French tennis journalist Eric Salliot.
"On passe parfois par des moments de craquage. Ces moments là étaient très difficiles mais ils étaient nécessaires car j'allais prendre le mur. Je pense avoir arrêté le train au bon moment avant le crash." Signé @la_pouille, ébahi par l'atmosphère sur le 14.
Pouille beats Rodionov again
On Friday, Pouille defeated Rodionov in the French Open qualifying final round 1-6 7-5 6-0. But after Rodionov entered the French Open main draw as a lucky loser, Pouille and the Austrian somehow got a chance to play against each other at Roland Garros again in just a few days.
After beating Rodionov in the French Open first round, Pouille admitted it was a bit weird to the same opponent twice in the same tournament. "It was special. It was the first time for me that I was playing against the same opponent in three days in the same tournament.
I was quite stressed when I saw the draw, but then I realised also that it was a good draw. Good first round in Roland-Garros when you see like Alcaraz playing a qualifier or Medvedev or some other player. I say, 'OK, you beat him in the qualies, so he is afraid of you, and just take this advantage for you and just give 100 per cent, and you'll see," Pouille said after beating Rodionov.
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