Tuesday I was lucky to be able to attend Roland Garros via a friend of a friend. It was definitely on my bucket list for many years to go to Roland Garros. I love red clay, tennis, Paris, French. I went with three other people, two of whom were guest of my host, as I was. The grounds of Roland Garros are quite small compared to the other slams, only a few acres and it was quite crowded even though there were few matches in the outside courts other than junior and senior events.
After a cup of tea in the lounge, we separated till lunch and I went to watch some American juniors. I saw Taylor Fritz, who lives near me, practicing, then watched the first set of Michael Mmoh’s match…he was the 6th seed. Taylor was the second seed and is in the final, his first final in a junior slam. Mmoh meanwhile reached the semis along with a third American boy.They are coming!
After an elegant lunch…three courses…(the lemon cake was divine) we went to watch the first match, a quarterfinal between Svitolina and Ivonovic. Our seats were courtslide and one row up…I had red clay from the court all over my clothes at day’s end! It was super windy but Ivanovic powered through the wind and played great. There was one critical rally early where Svitolina tried to break down Ivanovic’s backhand, couldn’t and Ivanovic then went on a roll. Her team was loudly encouraging here, but never were called for coaching violations.
The Nishikori/Tsonga match was next and started as a dud…Nishikori seemed flat footed and frozen, but the wind changed all that…it blew down a part of the scoreboard and there was a 40 minute delay while the area was evaculated, cleaned and made safe…only one person was hospitalized though. When the players returned to court, Nishikori or Tsonga was a chaned man…but by then I was watching Federer/Wawrinka. Wawrinka played great, and was able to power through the wind, and overpowered Federer, who hung in gamely in the third, but was outmatched in the tiebreak. Federer was really struggling hitting into the wind.
When the match ended, I went back to the main court, Chatrier. I was surprised the match was still going on, but as I arrived, Nishikori was close to taking it to a fifth set, which he did. The fifth set though, the crowd was amazingly…good for Tsonga and bad for Nishikori. It was like there was a third person on the court and he wasn’t helping out Nishikori…the crowd pulled Tsonga through that match.
Watching a French player play a fifth set at Roland Garros was fantastic, even though I was rooting for Nishikori. The energy was huge.
It was a wonderful day.