Friday, May 30, 2008

Roland Garros

Thursday was our day for French Open tennis at Roland Garros. The weather forecast was dire. Rain was moving up from the south and it looked like we were going to have a soaker. But we sucked it up and braved the crowds and got ourselves into the grounds and to our seats in Court Philippe Chatrier (center court) anyway.

The first match: Venus Williams vs. Selima Sfar.
Viewed from our seats during warm up.

We had a leaden sky but stayed dry for a while. Promptly at eleven a.m., Venus Williams and a Tunisian woman named Sfar took the court and play began. Venus played pretty well and dispatched her opponent in straight sets. Still dry.

We spotted Bud Collins across the stadium doing commentary during the Williams match.

Next up was Amélie Mauresmo. She and Carla Suarez-Navarro went at it, but Amélie was not at the top of her game. She missed easy shots and just didn't look like she was in control. She lost in straight sets to the great disappointment of the crowd. On the bright side, we were still dry.

Amélie has a bad day.

The third match was Roger Federer vs. Albert Montanes. By the time they began warming up it was raining. But clay court tennis is quite tolerant of a little rain and play started. It was five games all in the first set when the rain intensified and the umpire stopped play. The stands were pretty full (everybody loves Federer) and the umbrellas, including mine, were all deployed.

The numéro un mondial takes the court.

It didn't take long for nearly half the fans to get out of the rain and down to the boutiques, food stands, or dry stairwells. We sat for a while in the rain to see what was going to happen. After about fifteen minutes the grounds crew pulled the tarps over the court. That was our signal that they thought the rain was going to last for a while.

On a vu les bâches.
The rain tarps are deployed.

So we packed it in and headed out. After a wine stop at a nearby café, we got on the métro and headed for the apartment. I turned on the tv to see that the match had resumed - the rain had stopped after about an hour - and Federer had a commanding lead. We watched him win in the fourth set.

We were supposed to see another match (Fabrice Santoro vs. David Ferrer) which didn't get televised because Gaël Monfils was playing on another court in a more exciting match.

We might have toughed it out in the rain and stayed to see Federer win, but as we watched the win on tv, sipping wine in relative comfort, we were not unhappy with our decision!


  1. Mary and I saw Mauresmo play at Amelia Island last month. She won that match but didn't play well. I think her problem is mental--making the wrong decisions on her shots. We also saw Sharapova who played pretty well (clay is not her surface) but we were struck with her height (6'2") and force of her strokes.

  2. I hope that you get more live tennis in. Are you staying until the finals?

  3. gabby, I know what you mean about Mauresmo. She doesn't seem to be focused.

    victor, I'll be watching the rest of the tournament from home. I got tickets for only the one day. But it was fun, nonetheless.

  4. You must have enjoyed this, Walt! Tennis fan that you are!


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