Tennis Prose



French Dynamo Moutet Emerging At Roland Garros


Corentin Moutet first caught my eye last year when he beat Ivo Karlovic twice. He’s only about 5-9, another one of those smaller guys but he wins matches via smarts, talent, mindset and precision.

I wrote about him previously on this site because of play style and his off court interests in art, boxing, piano. He’s a different player and person.

I had the pleasure to see him play live in Tallahasse Challenger this year.  He was struggling at the end of last year and into this year where he lost in the first round of Australian Open qualies to Chris Eubanks.

Moutet won a Challenger in Chennai in February, beating Lloyd Harris in the final 63 63.

In Tallahassee he beat Alejandro Gonzalez in the first round 62 42 retired but declined to do a Biofile interview with me because “I need to win a few matches” before I do any media interviews.  Which was an interesting response. He actually seemed to feel he didn’t deserve to say anything until he started to win. I looked up his results and he was a mediocre 5-5 in his last ten pro matches. I also said he reminds me of Marcelo Rios, the super talent lefty from Chile who was world no. 1 in 1998, Moutet humbly replied that he doesn’t have nearly as much talent as Rios.

But I see big things for Moutet. He was ranked around 144 earlier in 2019. I told him basically that the day would come soon when it would be more appropriate for him to do any interviews, he was going to win eventually, and when it does happen I’m going to hold him at his word, in other words, I really would like to do a Biofile with Moutet and you better keep this promise after you achieve the big results I expect soon. We smiled on our unsigned agreement.

Moutet’s coach is Manu Planque, the Peter Lundgren lookalike only with the darker hair and beard. Manu used to work with Lucas Pouille for years but they parted ways last year and now he’s guiding his next talented young French player Moutet.

Planque is a sharp guy. After the win vs Gonzalez, I commented that Moutet used the drop shot eleven times and he corrected me immediately, “Ten.”

Planque walked by the next day and said he was reading for a half an hour ( I had given him a card).

Moutet won three rounds in Tallahassee, also beating Alejandro Tabilo and Sumit Nagal before losing to Emilio Gomez 61 64. Moutet also played Savannah and beat Thai-Son Kwiatkowski and Cannon Kingsley but he lost to Nagal.

Moutet next played a Challenger in Uzbekistan and made the finals where he lost 76 76 Joao Menezes, ranked 355.

Now ranked 117 he got a wildcard into Lyon and beat Reilly Opelka 76 in the third, 12-10 in the tiebreaker. Then he lost to ATP no. 21 Roberto Bautista Agut 64 46 36 but that loss showed Moutet was playing top 25 ATP level tennis.

A wildcard opportunity  into Roland Garros was capitalized on. Moutet won his first round match in four sets against qualifier Alexey Vatutin and today Moutet stunned the 19 seed Guido Pella, who won the most clay matches this season, in four sets.

Next up for Moutet will be Juan Ignacio Londero and if he can win that very winnable match, a showdown with his tennis hero looms in the round of 16…Rafael Nadal.

Suddenly, Moutet is on the verge of stardom. Just a month ago he was struggling with confidence issues and losing to unknown players like Emilio Gomez and Sumit Nagal.

It shows how delicate and random tennis can be, how a player can suddenly gain that spark of energy which inspires the best surge in a young career. Moutet is proving it now.






  • Hartt · May 30, 2019 at 8:40 am

    Scoop, it was very interesting to learn more about Moutet. He is on my secondary youngsters list, but I rarely get the chance to see him play, so it was great to see him do well in this tourney.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 30, 2019 at 11:07 am

    Hartt, Moutet is one of those players that is quiet and looks normal but something about him stands out and shines and makes me think he has something special. Fourth round vs Nadal would be massive boost for his career. Very interesting player.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 31, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    Nice feature on Moutet on the RG site.

  • Hartt · May 31, 2019 at 4:03 pm

    Thanks, Scoop. That was an interesting article. I will be paying more attention to the youngster. France needs some young blood to fill the shoes of the French oldies, and he looks very promising.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 31, 2019 at 5:36 pm

    Hartt, at first glance he does not look like anything special but you watch him play and you notice he is different. To get to within a few points of the fourth round of what I believe is just his second or third major main draw is fantastic and for sure he will do even better soon.

  • Dan Markowitz · May 31, 2019 at 7:37 pm

    Does anyone serve n volley on the clay as much or as well as Federer? The guy is amazing. He employed this tactic so well today against Ruud who was standing way back behind the baseline to return serve. Watching Fed play on clay is amazing. He ripped one forehead 96 mph from well inside the baseline. I’m not saying he’ll do it, but if Fed wins the French this year it’ll be the singles greatest feat in tennis history.

  • Hartt · June 1, 2019 at 9:40 am

    The old RG thread is long, so I will post this here.

    Stan and Grigor had a terrific match that Stan won in 3 TBs. Both guys made a lot of terrific shots and there were some very entertaining points. Stan was a bit better on the crucial points. Stan is back to peak Wawrinka. If he keeps it up he will be a real threat to any player.

    I was glad to see that two of my faves, Sascha and Stefanos, both won today.

  • Dan Markowitz · June 1, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    Didn’t see any of the tennis today except for some Fognini, who’s playing well. Zverev is such a disappointment, to have to go five with Lajovic when he was up two sets to none is not a good match. Tstsipsas was having his troubles today too with Krinjovic who could have made the match go five, but couldn’t serve out the fourth set.

    Big win by Kenin who both Scoop and I like a lot. And Anismova at 17, wow, the young female Americans are looking. Thankfully, the Russian transplants to the US, Kenin and Ansimova, Kenin came over from Russia at two and Anismova’s parents came here shortly before Anismova was born, aren’t playing like Stefan Kozlov.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 1, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    Three and a half years ago Kenin was losing in the QF of Eddie Herr to Tamara Zidansek 57 in the third and in the first round of Orange Bowl to Olga Danilovic also 57 in the third. Now she’s into the 4R at Roland Garros. Very very nice girl, very friendly with strangers. Nice to see her having this outstanding success. I wasn’t overly impressed by her play back then, but it proves Mary Pierce’s point, how some of the juniors who look amazing don’t make it and some of the ones who don’t do make it.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 1, 2019 at 6:08 pm

    I missed it all today too because of playing an intra club match and then two sets of doubles. Good win for Zverev, Lajovic is tough on clay and any surface, Zverev is gutting out these tough marathon matches lately and this will yield a big result soon. Fognini is a darkhorse and has a good shot to beat Nadal if he can get there. Stanimal is back now and everybody better watch out including Federer. Tsitsipas could make a big move, I consider the Greek Jesus to be a leading contender and he’s beaten each of the big three before.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 1, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    Stefan Kozlov update: He just won a USTA money tournament open in delray beach, beating Axel Nefve of Notre Dame 06 64 10-8 four days ago. Last week he won a doubles money tournament with Treat Huey. Back in the win column.

  • Dan Markowitz · June 2, 2019 at 1:25 pm

    What a shot by Wawrinka to win 8-6 in the 5th set and to hit a backhand passing slice shot that hit the line (even though Tststsipsas circled a ball mark that was out and the umpire came down to correct him). Wawrinka served eight break points in final set.

    Tstsi is a little crazy, no? The guy likes to punch himself in the face. Also, he’s got to beef up his serve if he’s going to be a great player. Right now, he wins no free points on it. Wawa v Roger in quarters.

    Women’s draw, besides Sloane, Murguruza, Halep and Keys it’s a little light, no? Women’s game is definitely suffering from lack of really good young players and signature players.

  • Hartt · June 2, 2019 at 1:30 pm

    That Wawrinka vs Tsitsipas match was amazing – over 5 hours of high level play and nonstop drama.

    It’s a good thing Stan has a day off – he must be beyond exhausted.

  • catherine · June 2, 2019 at 2:42 pm

    Dan – I don’t know if the women’s game is really much different now from previous years but because you’ve still got Federer and Nadal around and competitive it skews the perception a bit. There aren’t any older women players still marquee names and the younger ones are still ‘promising’. There’s a bunch in the middle who are pretty inconsistant. Wouldn’t say Muguruza and Keys are examples of players who pack the stands. There’ve been some good matches at RG this year but in the main they’ve featured players who aren’t exactly household names.

    GS tournaments don’t always showcase the women’s game – a large draw (too large ? Used to be 96) means a first week which can be pretty routine. Then there were a few withdrawals this year (Kvitova, Andreescu), Serena underwhelming, same with Osaka, Kerber (who should have stayed at home)and I would agree it hasn’t been stellar.

  • Hartt · June 2, 2019 at 2:51 pm

    Tsitsipas was totally gutted by that loss. He admitted to crying after the match, in fact his eyes were still red when he was in the press conference. It must be incredibly tough to lose a long, close match like that where he did have his chances to win.

  • Dan Markowitz · June 2, 2019 at 6:58 pm

    Tsitsi is just giving up in the service department. He’s got to beef up that first delivery else he’s winning nothing on grass and hard courts. It hasn’t been a very good year for Tstsi. I know he’s no. 3 now and only still 20, but you give him the win over Fed Down Under, he’s had a pretty bad year. Loses to Felix first round of Indy Wells; Shapovalov in the third round of Miami and now he’s out of the French in the fourth round.

    You look at his year off the dirt and the best players he’s beaten besides Fed are Monfils, Goffin and RBA. I’m sorry that’s not getting it done and he’s going to have to get a better serve.


    I know you like to say that the women’s game today is pretty much the same as it’s always been and I always disagree with you. Here’s the top 6 seeds, for example, just picking a year, of the 2002 French Open Women’s draw:

    United States Jennifer Capriati (Semifinals)
    United States Venus Williams (Final)
    United States Serena Williams (Champion)
    Belgium Kim Clijsters (Third Round)
    Belgium Justine Henin (First Round)
    United States Monica Seles (Quarterfinals)

    Four of these players reached the quarters or better. They’re all Hall of Famer’s, in fact, they’re all probably in the Top 10 of Greatest Women’s Player of All-Time. Now look who’s in the Quarters of this year’s Women’s French Open. Halep might be a Hall of Famer; Stephens maybe, after that possibly no one else. There are no historic players doing well anymore in women’s tennis.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 2, 2019 at 8:06 pm

    Stan vs Tsip was one of the best matches of the year or years. Seemed a grudge match and super intense high quality, both really wanted it. Both Grand Slam champions, one already, the other a future great. Tsip is so close to winning a major, Stan could do it now, but he has to play Federer with the same intensity and working the crowd and fist pumps and being vocal but he never does it vs Fed, he’s afraid to upset Fed. Fed hates when players grunt and get vocal against him but Stanimal is at his best when he’s grunting and playing emotional passionate tennis. This is one of my favorite matches of the decade, instant classic.

  • catherine · June 3, 2019 at 1:33 am

    Dan – well, distance lends enchantment to the view and 2002 is quite a while ago. Players who seem ordinary now may look a bit different in 17 years time. I was actually saying that this year is not a great one at RG but Kvitova did not play and Andreescu and Osaka may well be future H of F. We’re in a kind of interregnum between the Williams and older players who are nearing retirement and a younger generation who haven’t done much yet. People were saying the same kind of things when Navratilova and Evert left the stage but somehow the game carried on.

  • Hartt · June 3, 2019 at 7:48 am

    Catherine, I agree. Hopefully there will be a few exciting WTA players in the next few years as the younger ones develop.

  • Dan Markowitz · June 3, 2019 at 7:57 am

    I think what’s happened to the women’s game is unlike the men’s where players are developed outside academies and you see players like Tstsi and Shapovalov who have distinctive games, the women all play the same. Where is the woman today with the one-handed backhand? Where is the woman who charges the net or plays with finesse (this is where I like Martic because she actually does play with finesse)? Andreescu could be another outlier, but if you look back at Henin, Mauresmo, Hingis and Clijsters, they all played differently from the top women today, and of course if you go back to Navratilova, my favorite, you’ll see a player who is basically non-existent today, in the midst of all the Kerber’s, Halep’s, Wozniaki’s and even Williams’s sisters.

  • catherine · June 3, 2019 at 9:02 am

    Dan – years ago when Martina (and I) were young everyone moaned that women ‘all played the same’ – ie served and volleyed. Their models were BJK and Margaret Court. And that was so more or less until Chris started winning and after her s/v began to die out. Coaches taught baseline play and then that developed into power play. Only rare girls had one-handed backhands (Federer has some comments on that topic – see Tennis Now) and unless a truly dominant player comes along who’s one-handed I can’t see that changing.

    Who knows ? The Kerbers, Wozs,Haleps and Williamses are all getting old and maybe some new Steffi will come along and liven things up. Steffi, by the way, seemed to have very little influence on playing style. Maybe because she was just impossible to copy.

    Is it true that more girls are developed in academies ?
    I don’t think Naomi was although I could be wrong. It’s not something I’ve ever researched.

  • Dan Markowitz · June 3, 2019 at 9:14 am

    Sure Osaka was developed in academies, more than one. Osaka’s a perfect example of a player who was cloned to be Serena Williams, maybe not in her stroke form, but in the style of her play, totally. You had Steffi, Henin, Amelie, all these women had one-hander’s. There can be another one-hander women’s champion again.

    And that’s not true everyone back in the 60’s and 70’s played like BJK and Court, there was Chrissie and Goolagong and Wade, they didn’t play solely serve and volley. The point is not only in playing style, but most of these women today are vanilla, there’s just little to no personality to them. Take Kenin, she looks like a robot out there. Keys I like, she’s got some personality and so does Stephens, but you’ve got the Ova syndrome in tennis and it’s hard to find a lot of these women likable or watchable. Where’s the next women’s player with some fire and style?

  • Harold · June 3, 2019 at 9:50 am

    Been awhile, but had to comment
    watch Barty play sometime, shes different than all the other female bots.
    Another thing:
    8 years ago you buried Fed when he turned 30, saying it was over for him, now you’re his biggest fan..good call..

    Lopez has payed in 69 straight Slams..should be proud, but Fedjust played his 400th slam match, Lopez 163 ..think Fed is more of a” Slam Beast

  • catherine · June 3, 2019 at 10:12 am

    Well, I agree with you about lack of personality etc but I’m not sure what anyone can do about it. It’s not something you can teach.

    As I explained, I thought, Chris brought a new style into tennis. She never served and volleyed. She was different. Girls copied her.

    Evonne’s game was modelled on serve/volley. That was the Australian style. Unfortunately she didn’t have a great serve. Virginia Wade was also a serve/volleyer in basic style.For her day she had a good serve before she changed her action late in her career. Not my favourite player. BJK played the purest serve/volley but few women could compete with her there.

    Blame the WTA for crushing the personality out of players and producing assembly line cutouts.(Luckily Petko has avoided this fate but she’s not a top player.)Kerber has a personality but you dislike her (you’ve said) so you don’t see it. Or perhaps you do see it kind of subliminally and that’s why you dislike her. You don’t seem to be alone there.

    What’s better – having a good game and no personality or a terrific personality and a ropey game ? Seems to be one or the other at present.

  • catherine · June 3, 2019 at 10:17 am

    Just saw Harold’s post. I agree with him about Barty.

  • Dan Markowitz · June 3, 2019 at 11:09 am


    Good to hear from you, buddy. Man’s got the best tan outside Nick Bollettieri in the Western World. And yes, you know I guess you, Catherine and I think alike, I was just thinking of Barty, who I like a lot in though her personality is muted too, she is the outlier on the women’s tour today. I hope she goes on to being a Top 5 player.

    Kerber I don’t like, ever since I sat courtside next to her coach at least five years ago now and Kerber and her coach, a tall Sam Querrey look guy, were pretty sour folks.

    I’ve come around to Federer because he’s become less high al’mighty in my opinion and his game is just too exquisite not to like.

  • catherine · June 3, 2019 at 12:14 pm

    That was Angie’s coach at the time, Torben Beltz, and her current coach, Rainer Schuettler, seems cut from the same cloth. Angie can be pleasant but she can also be choosy about who she’s pleasant to and there’s a fair distance between her public face (on Twitter, PR etc)and the one she keeps for private life.(I don’t know her of course but I can make a fair guess). Sometimes you can see both when she’s playing. She’s not someone I’d speak to casually, even if I were press. You’d never know if you were on her ‘be nice to’ list. I don’t think she’s two-faced – it’s how she survives.

    Most public people have this kind of split, otherwise they’d go mad, but some are able handle the public/private aspect without any problems.

  • Hartt · June 3, 2019 at 4:37 pm

    Regarding Angie, a poster on MCM quoted a transcriber working at RG as saying the super nice players included Rafa, Petra, Simona and Angie. So perhaps she is nice behind the scenes. 🙂

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 3, 2019 at 5:29 pm

    The Return of Hairload, still poking in those jabs 😎 good memory of Dan writing off Fed years ago but he does give him just credit. Will do a recount on Lopez I had 67. Welcome back Harold, hope you’re well.

  • Hartt · June 3, 2019 at 5:45 pm

    Perhaps Bianca Andreescu is the player who can combine good play with a lively personality. She does show emotion on the court – we’ve all heard the “drama queen” statement by Kerber.

    She loves the spotlight off the court. After her Indian Wells title, she threw out the first pitch at a Blue Jays game, plus similar things for Toronto FC and the Raptors. (And her pitch was pretty good.) She said she would like to do those things again. She has done a lot of interviews in Canada, and comes across as positive, lively and engaging. She is outgoing, and seems to have a natural self confidence without being arrogant.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 3, 2019 at 8:00 pm

    Hartt, also worth adding about Andreescu is she is friendly and well liked by other Canadian players who all comment positively to her Instagram posts. Her mom even commented to or liked one of my photo posts of Andreescu at Citi Open a few years ago when she beat Giorgi. This is a player who has all the qualities to become a big champion.

  • catherine · June 4, 2019 at 2:29 am

    Hartt – I’m sure Angie’s nice at tournaments and in carrying out her various duties as a player – I’ve never heard she’s not completely professional and co-operative which is more than you can say for some.But there’s another side, there usually is, and Angie’s a complicated sort of person. Comes out sometimes in matches when she’s under stress (the incident with Cornet a couple of years ago eg)and Dan obviously picked it up as well.

    So although a lot of people seemed taken aback by the DQ incident as out of character for Angie I have to say, with my PhD in Kerber Studies, I wasn’t surprised.

    Bianca sounds a naturally outgoing person who’s comfortable with the spotlight but I imagine if she carries on to fulfill her promise and become No 1 she’ll develop her own public/private face – they all do. Except maybe Kyrgios. What you see is what you get with Nick 🙂

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 4, 2019 at 8:03 am

    If Kerber sneezes you will hear about it in in full detail 🙂

  • catherine · June 4, 2019 at 8:34 am

    Scoop – you’ll also hear about the brand of handkerchief she uses – something fashionable I’d guess 🙂

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 4, 2019 at 8:41 am

    Catherine we will even have high def photos of the handkerchiefs too 🙂



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