The best of the past week, on and off the courts, day after day, only for the readers of We Are Tennis by BNP Paribas. With a Caroline Garcia in the form of her life, Rafa Nadal confirming his world number 1 status, the final sprint towards the Masters, and Mariah Carey slouched on a couch.
Monday, October 2nd
« I doubt that there will ever be a film based on Rafa and I, but if there is one, I’d like Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio or a James Bond-type guy to play my role. » Roger Federer exposed his wish, while visiting the Zurich film festival for the projection of the Borg vs. Mc Enroe biopic. Nadal, who, on his side, has other things to focus on than imagining which actor could play his part in a film. « My heart bled all day long », said the world number 1 after the troubled Sunday in Catalonia, with a self-determination referendum which hasn’t been authorized by the Spanish authorities. But it’s nothing compared to the stress felt by the British player Laura Robson, who confirmed on her social networks that she attended the country music festival in Las Vegas which was the target of the massacre perpetrated by a retired gambling-addict. « I'm okay, she said. We were right there. Sounded like fireworks at first then everyone started running. Scary. » Meanwhile, Donald Trump is throwing paper towel rolls into the crowd of victims in Puerto Rico like a basketball player scoring free throws. EVERYTHING. IS. FINE.
Tuesday, October 3rd
Who on earth came up with the idea of asking Mariah Carey to comment the Las Vegas massacre ? And what was she doing, slouched on this couch with a christmas tree (?!) in the background ? So many questions left unanswered. One absolute certainty however on this October 3rd : Marion Bartoli formally denied that she was returning to competition, as french media had announced. It must be said that the future of French women’s tennis is looking good, with Alizé Cornet putting on a show against the former world number 1 Angelique Kerber in Beijing. In Men’s tennis, Gilles Simon fired his team after another below-average performance ; Dan Evans has been suspended for a year after testing positive on cocaine and Samuel Ribeiro Navarrete has been suspended for eight months for illegal betting. Do you have a comment, Mariah Carey ?
Wednesday, October 4th
Try not to cry : there is practically nothing left of the mythical court number 2 of Roland-Garros, which has been destroyed by bulldozers to leave some space for the extension of the central court of the Porte d’Auteuil. Butterfly effect : a few thousand kilometers away from Paris, the title-holder at the French Open, Jelena Ostapenko, has managed to qualify for the Singapore Masters. In the women’s draw, there’s only one remaining ticket…but one thing is for sure, it won’t be for Sharapova, who lost against Halep in Beijing…In the Men’s circuit, the sportsman of the say isn’t a tennis man but a runner. His name ? Jozef Urban, who finished the Kosice marathon, in Slovakia, with a very, very short pair of shorts. What a finale !
Thursday, October 5h
The great initiative of the week came from Nick Kyrgios : the Australian has decided to help Monica Puig’s relief fund to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. How does it work ? 50 dollars of prize money are donated every time the player hits an ace, until the end of the season. Kyrgios managed to qualify for the semi-finals of the Beijing Open, where he’ll meet Zverev. Nadal, on his side, is getting ready to face Dimitrov after having defeated a very impressive Khachanov. In the women’s draw, the title-holder Radwanska lost in the third round and left Halep and Svitolina be the two main favorites for the win. In Stockholm, it’s time to hand out the Nobel prizes. The Nobel prize in literature is awarded to the Japan-born British writer Kazuo Ishiguro who has an impressive list of publications. The Remains of the Day, notably, is an absolute classic which has been turned into a film, in 1993, by James Ivory. A little bit of culture never hurts.
Friday, October 6th
French men’s tennis annus horribilis : Gasquet is destroyed by Goffin in the quarter-finals in Tokyo, while Tsonga has already withdrew from the Shanghai Open. Thankfully, in Tokyo, Mannarino confirms that he is the best French player of the moment by defeating the local Yuichi Sugita to qualify for the semi-finals. But Gasquet’s defeat against Goffin isn’t a good omen for the French who, remember, will face Belgium in the BNP Paribas Davis Cup final… A competition which has slowly been readjusted, with a few new rules : the teams in the world group will be allowed to call up five players instead of four, and the matches in the groups I and II will be played out of two winning sets instead of three…In Stockholm, the jury is still awarding prizes and Ican (International campaign to abolish nuclear weapons) claims the Nobel Peace Prize. It was tight with the football player Andres Iniesta who signed a lifelong contract with FC Barcelona. Mes que un jugador.
Saturday, October 7th
The semi-finals have given their verdict in Beijing and in Tokyo. In the women’s draw, Garcia will face Halep. In the men’s, Nadal battled hard to defeat a spectacular Dimitrov, despite this incredible passing shot scored by Dimitrov while falling on his behind ! In Tokyo, Mannarino achieved the feat of knocking out Cilic to qualify for another final against David Goffin. But Saturday is also the day where doubles finals are being played with Martina Hingis winning her 64th title, and her 9th since the start of this 2017 season. The Swiss, 37, deserved all our respect…In Barcelona, a peaceful protest called for a dialogue between the two opposed parties and Nigeria became the first African country to qualify for the Russian World Cup.
Sunday, October 8th
Three trophies were at stake on Sunday in Asia. In Beijing, Rafa Nadal easily defeated Nick Kyrgios to clinch his 75th title in the singles, while Caroline Garcia confirmed that she is the player of the moment by winning a second title in two weeks against the new world number 1 Simona Halep. The French entered the world top 10 and she might earn the eighth and last ticket for the Masters ! In Tokyo however, the French didn’t triumph, as Mannarino lost against Goffin in his fourth ATP final. The Belgian, on his side, won his fourth title. Four more than his opponent of the day… It’s all beautiful, but not as beautiful as the Women Wage Peace, a march for peace which united thousands of Israeli and Palestinian women and which ended in Jerusalem this Sunday, with a common will of living peacefully together. Which gives us the idea of ending the summary of the week by paraphrasing John Lennon : « All we are saying is give peace a chance. »
By Régis Delanoë