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'Are you serious? Did you watch the match?' Frenchman congratulated after French Open loss

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PARIS - Poor Nicolas Mahut. Probably was deflating enough that he lost his first-round match at the French Open. Then the Frenchman went to his news conference.

That began with this curious exchange with a reporter, according to the official transcript, which wound up making the rounds on Twitter:

Q. Congratulations.

NICOLAS MAHUT: Congratulations? I lost.

Q. You lost? Okay. So what happened out there?

NICOLAS MAHUT: Are you serious? Did you watch the match?

Q. No, I didn't. I was told that you won. I'm sorry.

— Howard Fendrich, http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

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NO REMATCH: So much for John Isner vs. Nicolas Mahut redux.

Those two men met in the longest match in tennis history — more than 11 hours spread over three days in the first round at Wimbledon in 2010, with Isner winning 70-68 in the fifth set — and then, incredibly, were forced to play each other in the same round at the same tournament a year later.

They were drawn last week to have a possible third career Grand Slam meeting in the second round of the French Open. But it won't happen, because France's Mahut lost his opener Monday, 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-4 to Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin. Isner, an American seeded 10th, won his first-round match Sunday.

Mahut said the thought of facing the 6-foot-10 Isner once more did cross his mind, "because everybody talked about it."

"Obviously," Mahut added, "would've been very nice to have played Isner."

Said Isner: "We always seem to get near each other when it comes around this time of year. ... He's such a good guy, so I'm always rooting for him to win."

— Howard Fendrich, http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

___

STAYING IN SHAPE: Samantha Stosur sewed up her first match at the French Open in straight sets Monday, five days after getting her leg sewn up.

The 19th-seeded Stosur said she had an accident at the gym last week and needed five stitches in her left leg, causing her to play her opening match at Roland Garros with a shin pad inside a huge bandage.

"Cut my leg pretty bad," said Stosur, who beat Monica Puig 6-1, 6-1. "I've got a guard on there so that if I hit myself it's not going to hurt so bad."

Stosur said she fell while doing box jumps.

"I actually don't know how I managed to do it, but I missed it and landed straight on my leg," Stosur said.

— Chris Lehourites

___

WHO'S THE FAVORITE: Prognosticators, step aside, please, and let the professionals go to work.

Eight-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal won his opening match at Roland Garros and was soon asked if he or Novak Djokovic was the man to beat in Paris this year.

"You care; I don't care," said Nadal, who is trying to become the first man to win five straight French Open titles. "I don't have to write. ... So write whatever you want, whatever you feel. Because for me, the only thing that matters to me is I won today."

Djokovic, who is looking to complete a career Grand Slam at the French Open, also won Monday. He was asked if Nadal was the favourite.

"Yes," Djokovic said, then paused to laugh a bit at the question. "Yes. After eight times that he has won here, I think he deserves that role."

For anyone who would rather play the guessing game, check back on June 8 — the day of the men's final — and see if you're a winner, too.

— Chris Lehourites

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French Open Watch follows tennis' clay-court Grand Slam tournament in Paris as seen by journalists from The Associated Press. It will be updated throughout the day.

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