France's softly-spoken 'English gentleman' next hurdle for Scot

 

Having beaten a brash racket-throwing American in his first match, Andy Murray tomorrow faces a softly-spoken Parisian whose fellow countrymen regard him as an English gentleman. Edouard Roger-Vasselin's father, Christophe, a former player, had an English mother and French father. Born in London, he spent his first 15 years in Putney before moving to France.

"I love England," Roger-Vasselin Jnr said yesterday. "When I was a kid I often went to London for the weekend. I always love going back to England for the grass season. When I was a kid I always spoke in English when I was with my grandmother. A lot of French players have said to me: 'Why don't you play Davis Cup for Britain?' But the British have never spoken to me. When I thought about it I knew it wouldn't be right. I'm a Frenchman."

Do his English connections inspire a taste for warm beer? "Not particularly, but I like a lot of stuff in England," he said. "At Christmas my father always brings bread sauce. It's not that good, but he brings it every time."

Roger-Vasselin Snr reached the French Open semi-finals in 1983 by beating Jimmy Connors. A bright future was predicted for his son after he reached the third round at Roland Garros and Wimbledon in 2007, but he has never risen above No 82 in the world rankings and is currently at No 101. His victory yesterday over Xavier Malisse, who retired with an arm injury after the first set, was his first here.

 



Although skilful with a solid all-court game, Roger-Vasselin lacks the big shots to trouble the best consistently. It is said that he is too nice to be a winner. "I don't know what it means to be too nice," the 28-year-old Frenchman said. "I've maybe started to be more aggressive in my behaviour on the court. It's good to be nice off the court, but I know that on the court I have to be like a dog. On the court you have to be nastier. Perhaps with me my 'English attitude' as a 'gentleman' comes through."

Since Murray lost to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the first round here in 2008, the Scot has won 36 out of 37 matches against French players. He likes playing them because most are flair players. "I don't give them that many mistakes and play solid all of the time," Murray said. "I think that's why my game has matched up pretty well."

Murray admitted that his French speaking had not improved over the years, but added: "I've been trying to learn Spanish. I got the Rosetta Stone stuff in December and I was doing it religiously for five or six days.

"Then it went pear-shaped because I was always doing it in the evening when my girlfriend was sleeping and I would be on the computer speaking Spanish to the computer.

"She got fed up with it so I'm blaming her, because after four or five days of it, she was saying: 'Just turn the bloody thing off.' I haven't done it since."

Suggested Topics
Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
Arts and Entertainment
tv

Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife
film

Matt Smith is set to join cast of Jane Austen classic - with a twist

News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmWhat makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes hobby look 'dysfunctional'
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week