Le Fantôme

Game, set, Roland Garros, Julien Benneteau.

"Ok, Rui, I'll play on one leg and making an ugly face. That's your advantage"

Poor Scottish-Portuguese Rui Machado, could not make a meal with the one-set advantage Jules gave him. Paid the price – 4/6, 6/2, 6/3, 6/1. Benneteau will get rid of Ferrer next.

I have nothing more to say – there are no sufficient words to talk about Le Fantôme.

HOWEVER, I had written a post about him, for a blog I had some time ago. It was long forgotten, but Steve, from Shank Tennis (you will find a link for his blog on my Blogroll), somehow rediscovered it. I translated it. Follows.

“More than a simple tennis player, Julien “Jules” Benneteau, also known as ‘Le Fantôme’ is an entity. The Phantom, in free translation, earned his nickname for always being an ever-dangerous player, though he’s never on the spotlight – when you think he’s gone, boom, he’s back to terrify the top-dogs.



Julien's response

Owner of a unique style, admired by generations ranging from Fred Perry’s to Grigor Dimitrov’s, Benneteau is accounted by many as the French Sportsman of the Century. However, he humbly refused the nomination: “There are so many outstanding French athletes out there”, said the Master. “An inspiration”, echoed Zizou, in response to this statement.


Still in plain activity, reports state that the job of French Minister of Sports was offered to him, promptly refused by Jules. “I’m way better holding a racket than wearing a tie. I rather travel around the world, introducing tennis to children’s life, so they can escape from a life in crime and in the streets.” A true icon.


In this post, I, proudly the Founder and president of the first official worldwide Julien Benneteau fan club, bring to you some stats and trivia of the career of this magnificent sportsman, whose last deed was an informal dispute for the label of GOAT against Roger Federer, at the Bercy Masters in 2009. Needless to say the better player won.




– When Julien Benneteau and Pete Sampras played the Wimbledon final, it was a wild battle. In the fifth set, when the American was getting ready to serve at 12-11 for the title, Benneteau rose his hand and calmly said: ‘can  I take off the blindfold now?’


– One day, Benneteau taught an young Swiss how to perfectly hit a shot, apparently judged by many players as one of the hardest ever: the Gran Willy.


– Some years before that, Benneteau had taught Guillermo Villas how to perfectly hit the Gran Willy.


– In fact, this tricky shot isn’t named ‘Le Grand Juli’ because Benne is too humble.


– Once, in Roland Garros, Benneteau tired Rafael Nadal so much that Rafa had to leave the court on a stretcher, dehydrated and totally worn out.


– Last time Jules played Roddick, A-Rod fired a 144mph first serve. Benneteau returned a winner. A backhand winner. One-handed. While drinking juice. Orange juice.


– In 2013, Roland Garros won’t be held in Paris anymore. Not only the venue will change, but also the name of the main court: It will be called Court Julien Benneteau


– Until 2009, when he felt bored, Julien Benneteau would put on a wig and play the WTA circuit under the alias Amélie Mauresmo.


– Benneteau is also accounted as the creator of the tennis doubles matches. He used to play two opponents at the same time.


– The World Tour Finals, in a primitive format, used to classify nine players: the best eight players of the year tried to beat Benneteau.


– The real quality of a player isn’t measured by his titles, but in how many times he’s ever beaten Julien.


– Born left-handed, Roger Federer learned how to play right-handed only to follow the steps of his idol.


– Before turning pro, Julien Benneteau used to play in a disguise: wearing a blonde wig and a hairband. Back then, people used to call him “Bjorn Borg”.


– Roger Federer, wrongly called the GOAT for many, played Benneteau in the second round of Paris Indoors, in 2009. Informally, that match was worth the hegemony of world tennis. Well, the results never lie.


– The Hawk-Eye technology was supposed to be called ‘Bet with Jules’, but that would sound very impartial.


– DO NEVER ask Rod Laver about his match against Julien Benneteau at the ’65 Australian Open.


– Tired of depending on his countrymen, Benneteau, certain year, when he was the French Davis Cup team captain, played by himself all the matches of the final tie. France won, 5-0, winning 13 sets and losing none.


– Asked about the longest tennis match ever, which lasted 11 hours and a half, Benneteau answered: ‘Remarkable, but I have already won the US Open in half of this time’.


– If you win all the four Majors throughout your career, you have a Career Slam. Added an Olympic Gold medal, you have the Career Gold Slam. All in a calendar year, “Golden Slam”. Now, if you win the four Slams + the Olympics + Bercy Masters + Masters Cup + Davis Cup in the same season, you will accomplsih the Benneteau Slam.


– Benneteau is the honorary president of the FFT.


– Gasquet is known as ‘Baby Federer’. Roger Federer is known as ‘Baby Benneteau’.


– Before, the Grand Slam defenses were like Boxe’s: the champion fighting a challenger in a single match. After 127 successful defenses, Julien Benneteau finally lost. Ever since, a Grand Slam main draw has 128 players.


– Julien Benneteau has a Steffi Graf of Grand Slam titles…


– …and a Martina Navratilova of general titles…


– …and a Jimmy Connors of indoor hard court wins.


– Julien Benneteau has as many Roland Garros titles as letters in “Roland Garros – the French Open and the second Grand Slam of the year, powered by BNP Paribas”.




– Novak Djokovic’s streak will last until he gets on Benneteau’s way.

Nole’s conditioning. OFFICIAL: Gluten-free diet. ACTUAL: Started working with Jules as his advisor.


For now, this is all. But as Jules is still active, new records can be broken at any moment. And if you, somehow, know something I don’t (not easy), please get in touch. I thank you for the visit. But, more than that, Benneteau THANKS you.




To finish some pics of his winning career:”


After beating another disciple. Notice the embarrassment look on his face

"Hey, Agassi, are you finally going to beat Jules today?" Once again, take notice of how embarrassed is Le Fantôme

"I'm sorry Roger, I can't help it...

"...maybe next time, aye?"

Originally posted on anyrandomthought.wordpress.com, on November 10th, 2010.


About Pete S. Liguori
Pete was born in São Paulo, Brasil. Loves sports - pigskin fanatic, tennis lover. One of his most famous quotes is "I'm no Tolstoi, but I love the Dallas Cowboys" His favorite quote of all time is "I'll keep playing", unknown author.

One Response to Le Fantôme

  1. Pingback: Amelie Mauresmo – Backhands in Slow Motion | Best of Tennis

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