Saturday 4 June 2011

Sunset in Roland Garros

Wow. How can I sum up a day like today? I'm pretty much drained emotionally right now (plus, it's 1 a.m.), so forgive me in advance if this post turns out to be not too coherent ;) All the photos you're about to see were taken with my phone, so sorry for the quality... But there are better ones coming (probably in about a week).

So, the day started with us (my family and me) getting a little bit lost on our way from the Metro to the stadium. That's because I decided to use the etrance that was described as the less crowded on the RG site, and so we were the only ones going to the stadium from that specific Metro station. We'll use the main entrance on Sunday, and then I'll be able to compare what's better.

After arriving, we checked out Suzanne Lenglen (Wilander & Pernfors against McEnroe and Gomez). The Legends were still warming up, so we left quickly, watched a few minutes of a Juniors' match on a nearby court, and continued on a walk around the grounds. Within 5 minutes, I already bought myself a RG hat (expensive, yet so comfortable).

The next thing on our list was watching practices. The guys all practiced on Philippe Chatrier, so we couldn't watch them, but we did get to watch a bit of Na Li, who was hitting with her husband on court #4, both laughing and smiling.

Then we found out that Francesca Schiavone was training on court #8, and quickly headed out there. She was absolutely adorable, and at one point gifted a tennis ball to a small child (~2 years old, I'm guessing) near the court. (Awwwwww...)
After her practice, her coach gave out a few tennis balls, as well - and since my brother was almost the only child there at that moment, he got one :) Then she signed both the ball and in my brother's tennis-autographs-notepad. So, Forza Francesca!!! ;)

Next, we got back to Suzanne Lenglen to catch some of that Legends doubles action. McEnroe was his usual angry self when missing shots, and we got lucky enough to see a racquet chucking :D

 After grabbing something to eat, and watching a bit of a Girls semifinals match between Irina Khromacheva from Russia and Monica Puig from Puerto Rico (those girls are damn impressive!), we met those two young ladies outside of Philippe Chatrier:

I have to say, the scene itself was kind of horrible. They stand there for long minutes, surrounded by photographers and a whole crowd of spectators, and they have to pose for the cameras in some ridiculous positions. But I guess that's the price you have to pay for being a Grand Slam finalist, and all that.

Then it was the money time. Philippe Chatrier for 7.5 straight hours. Nadal beat Murray, 6-4, 7-5, 6-4, in a very very very long match. But you know what, despite of the extreme hate he gets sometimes, Murray isn't world #4 for nothing. The guy can play some great tennis, and it was a very enjoyable match today. He broke back a couple of times - it seems that the tournament has a curse which can be summed up as "If you're serving at 5-2, you're going to get broken". But in the end, Rafa got his first birthday gift - a victory and a ticket to the finals.

(I promise to have normal photos later, where you can... like... see the players.)

During this match, the crowd was pretty calm. More Rafa support, but good level of applause on Andy's finest shots. As it should be. In the second match, on the other hand...

Well, Federer won against Djokovic, 7-6(5) 6-3 3-6 7-6(5). Talk about a close score... Obviously, this result wasn't the best part of my day, to say the least... But they had a wonderful match, so different from the first one in its speed and style, and with some incredible rallies. Those are truly two of the best players in the world, and you could see it in every shot they hit. As much as it pains me to say it, the best man on court today was the one who won. I don't know if it's the long break from play (thanks again, Fognini), or the disappointment in losing the first set, but after a shaky start to the match, Novak's level dropped considerable in the second set.
The Novak of the 43-0 streak appeared again in the third set of the match. It was like seeing a different player entirely - the backhand was doing wonders, the balls found the court in all the right places, and he wasn't broken back at all. The fourth set could have been better (well, obviously), as every break wasn't consolidated - which particularly hurt in the end, when he was serving for the set. But I think I'll hate tie-breaks from now on. When it was 6-3 in the last set, I said to my brother "You'll see, even if Nole gets those next two points, Roger's going to end it with an ace". And that's exactly what happened. So, another birthday present for Rafa, who gets to keep his #1 ranking a little longer - unless Roger beats him in the final.

The final score is pretty indicative of what we saw today, I think. It was a very close match, but Roger was better, I can't deny it. The only thing that bothered me, as you might have guessed, was the crowd. There were SO MUCH more people rooting for Roger than for Novak. I did my best with some "Ajde Nole"s, but the level of applause for the two players couldn't be more different. One had the whole crowd behind him, and the other one scarcely got anything from most of the French. There was a bunch of Serbs in the crowd, I would've wanted to sit with them, but they were too far away :P

So, the day ended on a sad note for me, but it was great nonetheless. We're going back on Sunday with a grounds-pass - so we'll see the finals on a large screen. I'll try rooting for Roger this time, but I'm afraid it won't be easy :P

Anyway, thanks for helping me plan my future trips abroad, Roland Garros!

(Photos by me. Sorry again if the post contains mistakes, too tired to spell proof at the moment. Good night Paris!)

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