THE LAST TIME AN AUSSIE MALE MADE THE FRENCH OPEN QUARTERFINALS


Photogrpah: Getty Images


As we embark on yet another French Open quarterfinal round this week, there will again be no Australian male in the singles draw, in fact, it has been that way since 2004.


That year Lleyton Hewitt would match his 2001 effort by progressing to the final eight, going down to eventual champion Gaston Gaudio 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.


Since then, Hewitt would reach the fourth round on two more occasions in 2006 and 2007, losing to Rafael Nadal on both occasions and no other Australian man advancing to the final 16 of the major.


Let’s have a dive back into what the world, Australia and tennis landscape looked like back when Hewitt progressed 18 years ago.


Tennis


Tennis was in the beginning of one of the most dominant eras in history, with Roger Federer’s ascension to world No.1 just three months before Roland Garros commenced with his second Grand Slam title at Melbourne Park.


Only four other men have seen the top spot since, with Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Daniil Medvedev the men to do so.


In the women’s rankings, Justine Henin owned the number one spot with Kim Clisters in second ahead of Amelie Mauresmo and Lindsay Davenport.


When talking of ages Rafael Nadal would turn 18 during that tournament, and had not yet played at the major that he has dominated since then.


One of the favourites at this year’s event, Carlos Alcaraz, was only one year old at the time, with women’s No.1 Iga Swiatek turned three during the tournament.


Politics


In 2004, John Howard was still the Australian Prime Minister, and like 2022 it was also an election year with Howard set to go head-to-head with Mark Latham for the top job, which he would succeed in retaining.


George Bush was also still in power in the USA in another election year for the superpower, he would defeat eventual Secretary of State John Kerry in the campaign.


The likes of Tony Blair and Jacques Chrirac would lead Britain and France respectively.


Sport


The 2004 Euros took place a month after that edition of Roland Garros, with Greece stunning the world much like Gaston Gaudio in Paris.


The English Premier League would be won by Arsenal in a historic season where Arsene Wenger’s men would not blemish across the entire campaign, Valencia would win La Liga, AC Milan would take home the Serie A title and FC Porto the UEFA Champions League.


In the motorsport world Michael Schumacher was in the midst of his seventh Formula One World Championship, while Valentino Rossi would take the MotoGP championship.


In AFL circles Port Adelaide would claim its maiden premiership that season, not to mention that 2004 was the year of Essendon’s most recent finals victory.


Popular Culture


When that edition of Roland Garros commenced, This Love by Maroon 5 was the top song on the Billboard Charts, with The Reason by Hoobastank hijacking first place during the event.


In fact, only five Star Wars movies were released with Revenge of the Sith still almost a year away from release.


Other movies such as Dodgeball and Spider-Man 2 were dominating the box office at the time.


Sean Penn and Charlize Theron were the reigning best actor and actress winners at the Oscars,


In television, Friends would be close to airing its final episode, while Frasier and Everybody Loves Raymond continued to dominate in some of the glory years of sitcom.


In dramas, Lost and House were at the top of the ratings, as well as Boston Legal and The OC.