I had to try and work out whether Richard was fit mentally and physically to play. He had suffered from just about everything before the tie — a blister, a bad knee, a bad thigh — and all that got into his head as well. I had to see how he felt. I had the other option of Arnaud Clement but his form for the last month (in singles) has been so poor that I did not feel I could go that route. Then I heard from some French journalists that Richard had said he was only prepared to play the fifth match. When I spoke to him he told me that was true. He said he thought he had no chance again[st] Roddick. So [Paul-Henri] Mathieu was my choice.And now French tennis federation president Christian Bimes has publicly slammed Richard saying,
I’m disappointed about what happened this weekend in Winston-Salem. We’re considered as a nation capable of winning the Davis Cup and I see that for the past three years we have struggled to rely on our best players and they’re not always determined to win, which was our problem this weekend. You have to make the players understand that they need to fight, to make sacrifices, even if they are undermined by an injury. Guy Forget did what he could but next time, we’ll have to thump the table to make ourselves clear.
"Thump the table" - never heard that saying but it doesn't sound good for Richard. And, I'll be interested to see how the notoriously fickle French fans will receive their No. 1 at Roland Garros this year.
(image via Getty)