The tennis news of the past week, day after day, mixed with news from the real world. A week made of Roland-Garros, bretzels sent to space and unusual meetings in Paris.
Monday, May 28th
Roland-Garros has already started. And to start off the week well, the tournament was gifted with Marco Trungelliti’s nice story, as the Argentine was a very lucky loser : called back at the very last minute to play against Bernard Tomic while he was having a barbecue in Barcelona, the Argentine drove all the way back to Paris…and won (6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4) ! The complete opposite of Stan Wawrinka, who was the finalist of the previous edition but who lost in the first round (2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-7, 3-6 against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez), Victoria Azarenka, who was recently allowed to leave the US, but lost against Katerina Siniakov (5-7, 5-7) and of David Ferrer, who was in the final five years ago but lost against Jaume Munar (6-3, 6-3, 6-7, 6-7, 5-7). Some players seem to disappear as discreetly as these prisoners, who escaped from their jail in Geneva after filing down the bars of their cells. However, Novak Djokovic didn’t disappoint and crushed Rogério Dutra Silva (6-3, 6-4, 6-4). As for style, we’ll wait for later.
Tuesday, May 29th
« I still live in a fantasy world. I’ve always dreamt of being a super-hero. In this, I feel a bit like one. » But what is Serena Williams talking about ? Of her new catwomansuit, of course ! For her big return, the American honored her new warrior outfit and went back to her old habits against Kristyna Pliskova (7-6, 6-4). Rafael Nadal, on his side, made a very tenacious Simone Bolelli respect his status (6-4, 6-3, 7-6). Enough to picture himself in the stars in a week in a half, like these two bretzels sent 30 km above the ground by seven students of the engineering university of Strasbourg. To, among other things, measure the temperature, analyse the pressure and observe the humidity. Welcome to the Roland-Garros galaxy.
Wednesday, May 30th
It’s sometimes hard to adapt to the capital of France. Especially when you only get to visit the touristy places. After being knocked out by Dominic Thiem (2-6, 6-2, 4-6, 4-6), Stefanos Tsitsipas had a…special experience. « This year, all of my prize money won at Roland-Garros was spent for this ice-cream that I ate on the Champs-Élysées », he joked on Twitter, as he couldn’t believe the prices on the most beautiful avenue in the world. Another unbelievable thing was the match between Daria Kastakina and Kirsten Flipkens, which was programmed on three different courts (!) because of the bad weather and numerous changes in the schedule. But this Wednesday was the day of five-sets battles : Jérémy Chardy defeated Tomas Berdych (7-6, 7-6, 1-6, 5-7, 6-2), Kei Nishikori got rid of Benoit Paire (6-3, 2-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3), Grigor Dimitrov turned things around against Jared Donaldson (6-7, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 10-8), and Alexander Zverev got the best of Dusan Lajovic (2-6, 7-5, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2). These two lost sets didn’t mess with the German’s good mood, as he engaged in a nice conversation with a journalist during the press conference : « Where are you from, buddy ? Yorkshire ? If there is a tournament there, I’ll come just because of your accent. I love it. Even if I didn’t understand a word you said ! » No need to answer, then.
Thursday, May 31st
Another fashion case for Williams. But this time, there’s nothing to do with tennis as the American is launching her own clothing brand. The name ? Very simple : Serena. Quick, let’s get back to our lucky-losers : Jürgen Zopp, the world number 136, reached the third round after defeating Ruben Bemelmans (4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4). A third round which Denis Shapovalov, the great hope of world tennis, won’t see, after being knocked out by Maximilian Marterer (7-5, 6-7, 5-7, 4-6). As he’s only 19, the Canadian still has plenty of time to achieve a better performance in Paris. Take this : a soviet pilot who crashed his plane in 1987 has just been found in Afghanistan. The incident happened twelve years before the birth of Shapovalov !
Friday, June 1st
If you had booked a flight to go from the Canary Islands to Amsterdam this Friday, you were very lucky. Or…you’re one of the unlucky ones and you will remember this day for ever. One of the Transavia aircrafts had to make an emergency landing in Portugal because…of the smell of one of its passengers. Problematic. But this bad smell could have probably help Damir Dzumhur to notice the ballboy he crashed into in the middle of his match against Zverev, as he was trying to reach the ball at the same time as the young man. Zverev who needed five sets again to qualify (6-2, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6, 7-5). Which enabled Fabio Fognini to criticize some of the board members of world tennis who tend to admire the NextGen : « This NextGen thing is bullshit. I really don’t like all this attention given to young players. » And to add that he didn’t understand why Shapovalov was programmed to play on the court Suzanne Lenglen in his first round : « Ok, Shapovalov is the world number 25 and he’s improving. But Rafa had already won Roland-Garros at the same age (…) It makes you think. » Is Fabio jealous ?
Saturday, June 2nd
Paris, the place to be for the weekend. The city which managed to reunite ten of the most important men in the world in the same place. The city which will see an immense duel between Williams and Sharapova after the first defeated Julia Goerges (6-3, 6-4) and the second one knocked out Pliskova (6-2, 6-1). The city which will get to see Juan Martin Del Potro in the fourth round, thanks to his win against Alberto Ramos (7-5, 6-4, 6-1), and knowing that the Argentine hadn’t been that far at Roland Garros since 2012. The city which, however, didn’t host the French football national team, as they defeated Italy in Nice (3-1). And which, on the contrary, cried for its French tennis players (no French player qualified for the fourth round, a first since 2007) and applauded the Italians (two players in the fourth round with Fognini and Marco Cecchinato, a first since 1976). Thankfully, there is still Caroline Garcia…
Sunday, June 3rd
Paris, the place to be for the weekend. A city which managed to unite 16 000 people in a secret location for the most prestigious picnic in the world. The city in which Zverev is now used to playing in five sets (another win against Khachanov ; 4-6, 7-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3). The city which sees the rebirth of Djokovic, who qualified for the quarter finals after defeating Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-4, 6-2). The city where the surprise guest, Cecchinato, also qualified for the quarter-finals after defeating David Goffin (7-5, 4-6, 6-0, 6-3). The city which wonders if Dominic Thiem, after his triumph against Kei Nishikori (6-2, 6-0, 5-7, 6-4), has the shoulders to resist against Nadal. The city where you had to be during the last seven days. And where you’ll have to be during the next seven.