Three weeks after the world's best tennis players descended on this city to begin preparing for the annual marathon that is the French Open, they have left zigzagging out of here in different directions.

Women's champion Chris Evert Lloyd and men's champion Mats Wilander took with them trophies and memories of a fortnight each will cherish years from now. Evert took something else with her -- the No. 1 ranking in the world, a spot Martina Navratilova had held since June 1982.

Others also left smiling: Gabriela Sabatini, the 15-year-old Argentine wonder who reached the semifinals and again showed the tennis world she might well be the one who succeeds Navratilova and Evert at the top of the women's game.

Also: Henri Leconte, who will be 22 this week, a quarterfinalist here in his home country who finally lived up to some of the great potential he has shown flashes of the last four years. Despite being ousted, Yannick Noah, the 1983 champion, had to feel encouraged by his play in two wonderful five-set matches: his third-round victory over Jose-Luis Clerc and his fourth-round loss to Leconte.

A couple of other names to remember: Andrei Chesnokov, the 19-year-old Soviet who shocked eighth-seeded Eliot Teltscher in the second round; Martin Jaite, the 20-year-old Argentine who reached the quarterfinals, and Baltimore's Elise Burgin, 23, who, one year out of Stanford, stretched third-seeded Hana Mandlikova to 7-5 in the final set before losing.

Others were not so happy as they left. Navratilova, although cheered somewhat by winning her eighth straight Grand Slam doubles title with Pam Shriver on Sunday (she also won the mixed doubles with Heinz Gunthardt), will spend the next few days in Spain relaxing. She also will be wondering how she let Saturday's match escape when she had Evert down, 0-40, at 5-all in the third set.

John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl and Jimmy Connors, the three top-ranked men's players in the world, each will spend the two weeks between now and Wimbledon trying not to look back at Roland Garros.

McEnroe, who was one set from the title a year ago, didn't reach the final this time, beaten Friday by Wilander's brilliance and his own mistakes at crucial moments. He and Connors failed in their attempt to end 30 years of frustration for U.S. men, who have not won a singles championship here since Tony Trabert's second victory in 1955.

McEnroe will skip pre-Wimbledon warmup tournaments in England largely because he is so uncomfortable with the British media. He will have to serve and volley much better at Wimbledon than he did here if he is to defend his title.

Connors reached the semifinals, something many people thought was beyond him at age 32. But, once there, he exited meekly, destroyed in a match in which Lendl never faced break point.

Lendl, after looking so strong in that match and throughout the tournament, showed his old Grand Slam form: "fading away," as Wilander politely put it in the final.

Lendl is 1-6 in Grand Slam finals and, since he allegedly shook his choker label a year ago by beating McEnroe, has lost to Connors in the semifinals at Wimbledon, lost a straight-set final to McEnroe in the U.S. Open and lost in the round of 16 in Australia to Kevin Curren.

Lendl is as baffled by his failures in big matches as anyone. He made no excuses Sunday, simply shrugging and saying, "It's very upsetting to me."

He will spend the next two weeks in England, where former Australian great Tony Roche will work with him on his volleying. Wilander's improved volleying was the difference Sunday and Lendl knows if he is ever to win Wimbledon, he must improve that part of his game greatly.

The victories by Evert and Wilander should make Wimbledon more interesting than in the last two years, when McEnroe and Navratilova dominated singles play.

Evert, written off by many last year after being drubbed in the final here by Navratilova, is playing the best tennis of her life and has split her last four matches with Navratilova. Given that each woman reached the final here without losing a set, it is a good bet they will meet again on July 6 at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.

Unlike last year, though, there will be some doubt as to the outcome.

The men's draw truly is wide open. Wilander has twice won the Australian Open on grass (beating McEnroe two years ago) and is a better fast-court player than ever with his more aggressive style. McEnroe still is the favorite but not nearly as prohibitively as he was a year ago.

As for the French Open, it will be remembered for its strange weather: cool and windy for five days; hot and muggy for five days; chilly and rainy for five days. It will be remembered for several superb men's matches and a theatrical atmosphere each time Noah and Leconte took the court.

But in the end, a tournament dominated for two weeks by the men will be remembered most for one match played by the women. It will be remembered finally as a time when Evert and Navaratilova took the women's game to a new plateau.