We started with 38 countries represented in the men’s singles draw. Now that we’re down to the final 12 players, just eight countries have players still competing and of those, one country still has four players fighting for the title.
Of the 13 Frenchmen who made the trip Down Under, Jeremy Chardy, 14th seed Gilles Simon, ninth seed Richard Gasquet and seventh seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga remain.
It’s an amazing effort in a global sport. The only country to start the tournament with more players than France was Spain with 16, and that doesn’t include the absent Rafael Nadal.
For the record, Australia was equal third on the list with nine – five of whom were wildcards.
So how do the French do it? How have they developed this culture of success?
“I don't know,” said Chardy after his five-set upset of sixth seed Juan Martin del Potro. “We have a lot of good player. I think everybody start to play well this year. So I don't know. I don't know what is the thing.
“But we just play good. Maybe everybody win, so we want to fight more. I don't know.”
Looking at their results to date, they’ve played better than good.
It’s the first time since 1998 that four Frenchmen have made it this far at the Australian Open. And had Simon not drawn Gael Monfils – who he defeated in a four hour, 43-minute fourth-round epic on Saturday night – there may well have been a fifth.
The question now is, can one of the quartet go all the way? With all four on the same side of the draw, an all-French final is out of the question. But there’s a chance that one of them will at least make it to the second Sunday.
At least one is guaranteed to make it to the quarterfinals. Tsonga and Gasquet meet in the third match of the day at Rod Laver Arena on Monday, and for Tsonga, who was a finalist here in 2008, he’s not taking the opportunity to make it to the final eight lightly.
“I did some good results already, but, you know, I want to join the next step,” said Tsonga.
“It's maybe to win one [Grand Slam tournament]. Today I'm just working for that. I'm doing everything, you know, to achieve these things.
“I don't have too much goals. The only goal is to play well in that kind of tournament.”
Of the four, Simon has the toughest proposition – third seed Andy Murray who has beaten him nine times out of 10.
“I don't have to explain to you how strong he is,” said Simon.
“Of course it will be really, really difficult, but at the moment I just happy that I won the last one, and I will just try to go and take my chance even if – I don't have a lot of chance to win this one, but this is my job to go on the court and to do the maximum to bother him and to give him a hard time.”
Should Simon reverse the trend, he may well end up playing countryman Chardy in the quarterfinals, if Chardy can first get past Italian 21st seed Andreas Seppi.
Ranked just 13 spots lower than him, Chardy could well pull off his second big win in a row and find himself in his first ever Grand Slam quarterfinal. And does he believe that one of the remaining French four could be France’s first Grand Slam title winner since Yannick Noah?
“I don't know. Maybe me.”