The tennis news (but not only) of the week: a teasing Rafter and a free panther.

Sep 23, 2019, 12:00:00 AM

We Are Tennis by BNP Paribas brings you the best of the past week, on and off the courts, day after day. With Nadal coaching Federer, Australian trouble, golden toilets and a black panther in France.

Monday, September 16th

The week started off with some very bad news. A the age of 75, Ric Ocasek, the singer of the band The Cars, sadly said his goodbyes to the music world as he passed away. Alizée Cornet, on her side, disappeared prematurely from the Osaka Open as she was defeated by… the world number 181, Viktoriya Tomova. And finally, it’s not the end, but things are not looking great for Sean Spicer, Donald Trump’s former White House Press secretary. Currently competing as a candidate of the new season of Dancing with the Stars, Spicer didn’t impress much for his first, as he danced a salsa on a Spice Girls song. « Like if he had been attacked by a swarm of bees », said the judges. 


Tuesday, September 17th

When he’s not doing anything to draw the attention to himself, others do it for him. After getting a 110 000 euros-fine, Nick Kyrgios saw Patrick Rafter ask for him to be suspended after his bad behavior at the Cincinnati Open a few weeks ago. « I don’t understand why it hasn’t happened yet… some things must be going on behind the scenes. He attracts the audience, but do we think that the crowd’s interest is the most important thing, or do we try to maintain a certain standard and a protocol which all the players must respect? » If he had to chose, the president of Real Madrid Florentino Perez would pick the first option as he announced that he was thinking of organizing a match between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer at the Santiago-Bernabeu stadium, in front of 80 000 fans. We’re not sure that the money he’ll make from ticket sales can pay for the golden toilets made by the Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, and which cost between 4,5 and 5,4 million euros. They were stolen from Blenheim Palace.  


Wednesday, September 18th

« Probably because wherever I play, the stadiums are filled and the tournaments are making money when I’m around. Not surprised Rafter has commented on this topic, guy loves hanging fellow aussies out to dry. Enjoy staying relevant champ! » It was expected, as Kyrgios always defends with striking returns. On her side, Karolina Pliskova is less loud, despite qualifying for the Shenzhen Masters after her triumph at the Zhengzhou Open last week. This six months-old black panther didn’t make noise either, but caught everyone’s attention by walking on the roofs of Armentières, in the north of France.


Thursday, September 19th

A safe inside of a fridge. That is the solution imagined by the British Dave Williams to stop his partner Stacey Lowe from eating his chocolate bars. Less than an hour. That’s the time taken by Matteo Berrettini to defeat Roberto Carballes Baena at the Saint-Petersburg Open. Two surprising, but comprehensible facts.



Friday, September 20th

Elders first: Samantha Stosur, on one side, who qualified for her first WTA final in two years despite being 35 and the world number 135. On the other side, a Game Boy which is still working and which has survived the Gulf war. Much younger, the Laver Cup is celebrating the start of its third edition this Friday. Now it’s her turn to find the secret of aging well.


Saturday, September 21st

The Laver Cup match between Kyrgios and Federer was tight, when Nadal decided to intervene. At the end of the second set, the Spaniard went to see the Swiss to tell him which tactics he should follow: « When there are less than five shots, you win more points than him. I know it’s difficult because the guy reads shots very well. Wait for the right moment and attack as he’s not missing a lot. » The result? The Australian lot the match during the super tie-break, despite having won the first set. « Rafa came to support and save me, I love the clarity of his advice. Behind the baseline, I had to find the right balance between being agressive and patient, said the winner of the day. He’s really good at finding solutions, and he’s not scared. We only have one minute and thirty seconds, so you must be really direct and say what you really think. It’s logical that we mutually coach each other, because it gives us confidence. If he tells me that I’m playing well, then I’ll know that I’m on the right path. If he tells me to change everything, I won’t take it personally. Rafa is very straightforward, I love it. Personally, I really enjoyed that moment. » The Matador is rarely asleep, and won’t be one of the snorers, which the production company Firecracker Films is looking to hire for its next TV show. Sofia Kenin and Daniil Medvedev won’t be available either, as the first won the Guangzhou Open after defeating Stosur, and the second qualified for his fifth final in Saint-Petersburg in… five tournaments played. What a summer for the Russian!


Sunday, September 22nd

Especially as he didn’t just stop there, as he lofted the trophy after crushing Borna Coric, winning his 24th match in the last month and a half. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, won his 18th trophy in Metz, Karolina Muchoa triumphed in Seoul, and Naomi Osaka won the women’s tournament of… Osaka. It was a defeat however for the ten Syrian migrants who were arrested at the airport in Athens, after trying to reach Switzerland by pretending to be a volleyball team.


By Florian Cadu