FRENCH winners at Roland Garros have become as rare as British successes at Wimbledon. Yannick Noah (1983) is the only Frenchman to win the singles title in the last 44 years. No French woman has triumphed since 1967, the year of Francoise Durr.
Born on Christmas Day 1942, in Algiers, Durr was among the outstanding doubles players of her generation, balancing an unorthodox serve with clever ground strokes. She won the German singles title in the same year as her Paris triumph, when she also reached the last four of the US Championships.
She married Boyd Browning, an American tennis player, and lived in the United States for 10 years. Two years ago, she left Phoenix, Arizona, for Compiegne, north of Paris.
Last November, Durr became the technical director for women's tennis in France. 'It is challenging and hard, and depressing sometimes, but I'm happy to give back something to the game that gave me so much,' she said.
Durr, who before her appointment was 'a housewife playing a little tennis', has a boy of 14 and a girl, aged eight. 'The younger one is starting to play now but I will not be pushing her into a life as a professional,' she said. 'When I played we did so because we loved the game, but the pressure is such now that some players do not enjoy it at all, which is sad.'
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