PARIS (AP) — Veteran French players Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gilles Simon have been handed wild cards to play in the main draw at the French Open, organizers said Tuesday.
A former Australian Open runner-up, Tsonga announced earlier this season that he will retire after the clay-court Grand Slam event. Play begins at Roland Garros on May 22.
Simon said he is retiring at the end of the season after 20 years of playing professional tennis.
Tsonga and Simon are both 37 years old and helped France win the Davis Cup in 2017.
Tsonga reached the semifinals twice at the French Open, in 2013 and 2015. He has won 18 ATP titles and made it to the Australian Open final in 2008, losing to Novak Djokovic.
Tsonga reached a career-high ranking of No. 5 in 2012 but has dropped to No. 263 following his latest lengthy injury layoff. Simon has 14 career titles and a best ranking of sixth in 2009. He is ranked 160th.
“We wanted them to live their final Roland Garros in the main draw, in front of their fans," tournament director Amelie Mauresmo said. “And also to thank them for what they have done throughout their career."
The 12 wild card entries for the main draw announced Tuesday were allocated to French players. In addition to Tsonga and Simon, the French tennis federation said Lucas Pouille, Corentin Moutet, Manuel Guinard and Gregoire Barrere were also invited to play at Roland Garros.
In the women's draw, the wild cards were awarded to Tessah Andrianjafitrimo, Fiona Ferro, Elsa Jacquemot, Leolia Jeanjean, Chloe Paquet and Harmony Tan.
On Monday, Katie Volynets and Michael Mmoh earned the U.S. Tennis Association’s wild-card entries. The USTA and French tennis federation offer reciprocal wild-card invitations for each other’s Grand Slam events.
The French federation has a similar agreement with Tennis Australia. The two wilds-card entries granted to Australian players have yet to be announced.
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