After the effort, relaxation. When the French Open ends, the tennis champions who reached the last four often go celebrate in the Parisian night. Parties where there are rounds paid with the prize money, dives in the pool fully clothed and go-go dancers.
1/ « I’ve invited everybody»
In 1966, for his first participation at Roland Garros, Ilie Nastase was sharing a hotel room with his compatriot Ion Tiriac. Six years later, in 1972, after his lost final against Jan Kodes, he won 4000 dollars and stuffed it in bundles of hundred in his racket bag. What happened next? "I went to Castel,” said in L'Equipe this regular of the most famous clubs of the Parisian night, “I was with Mick Jagger, Claudia Cardinale and a few bottles of whiskey. I invited everyone and spent all my money. At the time, the tour was more human. We stayed at the bar and we talked. Today, the players don't even know each other."
2/ Montmartre, sleepless night and double
Yvon Petra and Marcel Bernard. Two French, two tennis players, two hedonists who saw their career ruined by World War II. Before finally having, at the end this ordeal, a late glory. In 1946, Marcel Bernard, playing in double alongside Yvon Petra, no longer wanted to play in singles: at 32, he no longer believed in his chances. He therefore withdrew for the singles event, changed his mind following another player's withdrawal, and eventually won the tournament. After a sleepless night in Montmartre with his friend Yvon Petra to celebrate his victory, he returned to Roland Garros the next day alongside... Yvon Petra (!) to successfully win the doubles. A feat for Marcel, for whom it would eventually be the last title. But probably not the last night out...
3/ Bob Marley, Gerard Holtz and Greek statues
Sunday 5th of June 1983. Gérard Holtz, journalist for French television, was hosting on his show Stade 2 Yannick Noah, who had just won the French Open winner against Mats Wilander. While the host had planned to have dinner with friends, the hero of the day invited him to his home in Nainville-les-Roches, about forty kilometres from Paris, for a little party. "I asked if him if I needed a password to enter,” recalls Gérard Holtz, thirty years later. “He laughed and told me that it wasn't needed. I then took my motorbike." On site, some beautiful people: rock bands, actors, actresses, friends and family. All this assistance eventually ended up fully clothed in the pool, after singing and dancing all night on rock music or Bob Marley. And what about Yannick? Gérard Holtz salivating "Water dripping on his chest, it was worth all the Greek statues from the Louvre. It was hot, hot, hot!" Apparently.
4/ «I’ve lost everything»
412 500 euros. Or the amount of prize money earned by Ernests Gulbis at Roland Garros last year, rewarding his semi-final against Novak Djokovic. A nice amount that the Latvian player apparently spent as it should. "After the tournament, I went back to Latvia and, with my cousin, I went to the casino," he told the Italian daily La Gazzetta dello Sport. Result: "I lost everything." Not a problem for this son of a wealthy businessman, one of the wealthiest of Latvia, who once said that he was "too sophisticated to eat bad things with ketchup."
5/ «5 days to recover and celebrate the victory»
Love Question: Who are the ladies and gentlemen winners of the 1999 edition of Roland Garros? Respectively Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi. As life often knows best, both celebrate today their 13 years of marriage without any kind of cloud on the horizon. But at the time, the two lovebirds didn't know each other. The German wasn’t even single. A detail: Brad Gilbert, the coach of Agassi prophesied in the Concorde that took him back to New York after his Parisian victory “It is your destiny to end up together. It is your destiny to get married." He continued: "After the two weeks you've just had, can you tell me that there is something impossible?" Two weeks eventually ended by “five days to recover and celebrate the victory. Especially to celebrate." "The party never ends," wrote the Kid of Las Vegas in his autobiography, where he didn't fail to mention the presence of go-go dancers and the menu of the playlist. Frank Sinatra. That's life.