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French tennis players rush to Mahut’s rescue after Giudicelli’s criticism

Bernard Giudicceli attacked Nicolas Mahut, who had blamed him for his handling of the Davis Cup format change, in terms that did not please several French tennis personalities

Nicolas Mahut at the ATP Montpellier Open in 2022 Nicolas Mahut at the ATP Montpellier Open in 2022 Image Credit: JB Autissier / Panoramic

When Nicolas Mahut, a respected member of the Davis Cup France team for many years, was criticised by Bernard Giudicelli, the former president of the French Tennis Federation and a great supporter of the Davis Cup reform project in 2018, French players easily chose their side and supported their peer en masse on Tuesday.

Arnaud Clement, captain of the French Davis Cup team from 2012 to 2015, led the charge with the most offensive words but other players who have shared the court with Mahut also came to his defence.

“A great man of French tennis with a great career and an irreproachable state of mind on the one hand @nmahut, on the other a very small disrespectful, arrogant, smug, incompetent and embittered person. No there will be no match between the two. #réformerladavis,” Clement said in a tweet in French (which has been translated here).

“We cannot speak in these terms of a player who beyond his record (greatest French doubles team of all time with Pierre-Hugues Herbert) has always had an irreproachable state of mind …” tweeted Julien Benneteau while Edouard Roger-Vasselin tweeted “We don’t disrespect Nicolas Mahut like that”.

Support for Mahut even came from players from other countries as Belgian Ysaline Bonaventure said: “So that’s the respect of a former president of the FFT!!”

Guidicelli: “Mahut is good for retirement”

Mahut, the winner of the four Grand Slam doubles titles and a great supporter of the Davis Cup, had often expressed his disagreement with Giudicelli’s decision in 2018, which earned him the wrath of the 64-year-old former executive who told Tennis News that the former world No 1 in doubles “is ignorant”, that “it’s not a 41-year-old player who will explain to a 20- or 22-year-old player how things will have to work” and that “Mahut is good for retirement and maybe he becomes a journalist, it will give him the opportunity to make harsh criticisms, which he does quite well.”

The International Tennis Federation terminated its contract with Kosmos earlier this year and there will likely be changes next year onwards in the format supported by Bernard Giudicelli.

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