Some tournaments have completely disappeared amidst general indifference, others left a few regrets behind and some of them have moved and competitions have been reborn from their ashes: a quick overview of the...

Some tournaments have completely disappeared amidst general indifference, others left a few regrets behind and some of them have moved and competitions have been reborn from their ashes: a quick overview of the Atlantis’ of French tennis...

Paris Tournament (1967/1982)

The ancestor of the BNP Paribas Masters at Paris-Bercy. An indoor tournament held at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin in the autumn in the French capital as a sort of low-key consolation prize to Roland Garros. Rod Laver, Arthur Ashe, Stan Smith and Ilie were among the winners in the late 60's-early 70's, before this hard-court event fell into oblivion and died a slow death. The creation of the Sports Centre at Paris-Bercy gave it an offspring. More modern, more prestigious, better endowed...  

Open of Lorraine (1979/1989), alternating between Nancy and Metz

In the wake of the democratization of tennis in 1977, courts, mainly hard-courts, started sprouting up almost everywhere in France. Yannick Noah and the great Gene Mayer gave it some prestige with their victories in the first two editions and Pat Cash won it in 1987, the year of his triumph at Wimbledon. However, the Open de Lorraine quickly disappeared, to complete indifference, in the late 80s.  

Grand Prix of Lyon (1987/2009)

Born under the impulse of Gilles Moretton, a former teammate of Noah in the Galéa Cup, the Grand Prix of Lyon initially attracted some massive names of the sport - Noah, McEnroe, Sampras (three times), Kafelnikov... In the early 2000s, it started to splutter and struggled to reinvent itself and then, in 2009, the majority shareholder of the tournament (Canal + Events) fired Moretton and appointed Patrice Dominguez. The tournament moved to Montpellier with a large grant to support it, like a vulgar NBA franchise.  

Nice Open (1971/1995)

Nice International, International Championships, Craven, Nice International Championships, Montano-Snauwaert Championships, International Open Championships of Nice, Donnay Open International Tournament of the city of Nice, Nice International Open, Open Swatch, Philips Open, World Series Philips Open ... twelve different names in twenty-five editions, no less. A good summary of the chaotic life of a tournament that counts among others, Nastase, Orantes, Pecci, Borg (twice), Noah as winners. It has just been reborn from its ashes, a couple of years ago, under the name Open of Nice Côte d’Azur...  

Bordeaux Tournament (1979/1995)

The Bordeaux tournament was very much like its provincial peers: a fine start in a mythical place of tennis, the Primrose Villa, glorious winners (Noah, Gomez, Higueras, Muster, Lendl...) and then the wear of time, economic difficulties and oblivion. As with the Nice Open it has been reinvented, but as a challenger event, under the name BNP Paribas Primrose Bordeaux since 2008.  

Adidas Open of Toulouse-Midi-Pyrénées (1982/2000)

The Tournament of Toulouse is now held in ... Metz. Blame it on the explosion of the AZF plant in September 2001. In the Ville Rose, we cherish the memory of a Connors-McEnroe final in 1989, two victories each for Noah, Boetsch and Connors and even a hat-trick of titles for Guy Forget. But this is history...  

Tournament of Aix-en-Provence (1978, 1983, 1984)

Probably one of the finest eccentricities of the world circuit: The Tournament With The Uncertain Scheduling. Three winners rest inscribed for eternity (Vilas, Wilander, Aguilera) and since then… nothing, except for a Challenger tournament in its place on the tour schedule.  

The Galéa Cup at Vichy (1952/1994)

The equivalent of the Davis Cup for the under-twenties, the Galéa Cup was very popular back in the early 90s. The precocity of the young champions led to a change in the formula: a final phase comprising eight countries (instead of the initial four), a reduction of the age requirement (from U-20 to U-18) and a merger with the Valerio Cup, its Italian counterpart. Worse: the tournament moved to La Rochelle. And while many of the top juniors continue to attend, the team event takes place in an atmosphere of polite indifference. As if the tournament left its heart in Vichy…  

The National (1951/1990)

To designate the best French player of the year, the French Tennis Federation created the National shortly after the war. The cream of Gallic tennis would play in a new city each year at the end of the season. The loss of interest of the best players (Noah, Leconte) and the temper of the times were enough to bring its death to the competition in the late 80s. Gilles Moretton (see Lyon) and some former players tried to revive the concept under the banner of  "Masters of France" in 2008 in Toulouse. Two editions, two winners (Simon, Benneteau) and then the same fate as its predecessor...  

The Masters (1971)

Here, we’re messing a little with words. The Masters Tournament, played at the end of the season, was held in France at the Stadium Pierre de Coubertin (see Paris Tournament above), more than four decades ago. It followed an incredible tournament concept – seven players, no final and Nastase as MC. We want more of this! Forty-one years, eight countries, four continents and twelve cities later, the Big Dipper has not passed back through Paris yet. Too bad...   By Rico Rizzitelli