Tennis star who struggled with alcohol in tears after securing French Open spot

Tennis star Lucas Pouille burst into tears following his qualification for the French Open after overcoming a battle with alcohol problems and depression.

The Frenchman, ranked as high as world No.10 in 2018, secured a spot in the main draw at his home Grand Slam with a 1-6 7-5 6-0 win against Jurij Rodionov.

Pouille, 29, was seen crying on his bench after Thursday’s victory saw him return to the main draw of a major tournament for the first time in a year, in a stunning comeback for a player who has fallen to his current ranking of world No.670.

The former Grand Slam semi-finalist dropped outside of the world top 500 amid injury and subsequent surgery – and admitted before this year’s Roland-Garros qualifying that he had turned to alcohol and was struggling with depression.

‘I started to have a darker side and go into a depression that led me, after Roland Garros, in England, to sleep only one hour a night and drink alone,’ he told L’Equipe.

‘It was impossible to close my eyes. I was all alone with [my coach] Felix. I would go back to my room and look at the ceiling. I was sinking into a creepy thing. I stood up with my eyes blown up.

‘Every morning, Felix asked me: ‘Don’t you sleep?’ – ‘Yes, yes, I have allergies, carpet, pollen, grass…’ I was lying to him.

‘I locked myself in, I didn’t tell anyone… I was in a bad phase. And I made the decision to say stop.

‘Otherwise, I would have ended up in Sainte-Anne, at the crazy house. For my mental health, I had to stop.’

Following his win over Rodionov, Pouille, carrying his young daughter, was given a guard of honour in a video shared on social media.

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