Saturday, May 29, 2010
FRENCH OPEN Day 6 - G,S,M goes to Roland Garros
When it rains in Paris during the French Open, it generally means misery for everyone from the players, to the tournament organizers, to the spectators, to the media. However, the washed out schedule on Thursday at Roland Garros meant that the Friday schedule just got mind-blowingly awesome for someone who was actually going to Roland Garros... And yes that someone was me :D
For a true tennis fan, any given day at the French Open is suffice to change one's life, however; attending Roland Garros on a day that has Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, Murray, Tsonga, Verdasco, Ferrero, Cilic, Youzhny, Serena, Henin and Sharapova, all in action, is a religious experience...
After Nadal posted a routine win over Horacio Zeballos on Chatrier, I went to see Juan Carlos Ferrer play a super long tie-break against Pere Riba on court 6. The beauty of the small courts at Roland Garros is that you are extremely close to the players and can see every single facial expression they make while they're playing and between points. Which is kind of cool!!
I head to court 3 after that and caught some of the Marin Cilic-Leonardo Mayer match which was pretty incredible. I was particularly impressed by Mayer who served huge against the towering Croat, especially in that second set which he won. The sun was out and the conditions seemed to make the court faster as both players served big and played some amazing net points.
I left midway through the Cilic match and met up with a commentator from Eurosport Spain, who generously offered to show me around. We went through the media entrance at Chatrier and I literally started getting the chills from the people I was seeing just hanging out in the lounge taking breaks from their work. From Conchita Martinez to Mats Wilander, to Karim el Alami to Annabel Croft... We even stopped for a quick chat with Heinz Gunthardt, Ana Ivanovic's coach, who is doing some commentating for Swiss TV.
I watched the Jo-Wilfried Tsonga match against Thiemo De Bakker from the media gallery and I gotta say, the atmosphere for that match was simply great! The crowd really pulled through for Tsonga, who suffered from muscle pain towards the end of the second set but kept on fighting against the impressive Dutchman, until he won 6-7(6), 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-4.
After that I went to the production zone where most channels have on-site studios for their live coverage. I visited the set of Game, Set & Mats where I saw Barbara Schett, Annabel Croft and of course Mats Wilander. No words can describe how charming and elegant Wilander is. He is a true natural on camera too. I watched a short live session with Croft and Schett, who gave a quick midday update, then moved on to catch some more tennis action.
I was torn between returning to court 3 to catch the rest of Cilic-Mayer or heading to court 6 to watch Youzhny-Troicki. I chose the latter and I didn't regret it. Both players were playing really well but the match was eventually halted cuz of the darkness and was resumed the next day. Youzhny ended up winning in 5. Youzhny's crazy reactions to his bad points are really funny up close I gotta say. Again the net play was rather impressive as the conditions remained fast all day.
All in all it was one hell of a day. I hope I can go again before the tournament ends although my work schedule is pretty mad. At least my job involves watching the matches all day, so that's definitely a consolation.