So the season has officially ended for women’s tennis and things closed on an immense high with the final of the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas.
In Strasbourg it was a weekend to remember with some of the most outstanding women’s tennis of the year being played. It went right down to the wire as the Czechs defeated France 3-2 to win the title for the third straight year, the fifth time in six years and the tenth time overall.
Such glorious tennis was played in an atmosphere that was superlative.
Both nations have such close knit teams and the players have so much admiration and respect for their captains, Amelie Mauresmo for France and Petr Pala for the Czech Republic. The way they have brought their girls together cannot be faulted and while that is absolutely admirable, I could not help but notice with French tennis there was something even more commendable.
French tennis once again highlighted what a family it is. No other prominent tennis nation, or for that matter almost no other high profile player, sees such a crossover of players providing support for one another. The French women will be there cheering on the men and the French men will be there cheering on the women.
During the weekend in Strasbourg it was amazing to see the likes of Henri Leconte and Paul Henri Mathieu there as well as French tennis’s iconic individual, Yannick Noah. They didn’t need to be there, they wanted to be there. Henri would Tweet his admiration of the tennis. Yannick never stood on ceremony taking a seat in the regular stand, transfixed on the wonderful level of tennis on show. He watched and enjoyed.
Rightly so Amelie was touched by the added support but for her seeing the French men players there in support is part of the fabric and essence of French tennis. The Federation Française de Tenis can only be praised for the remarkable job they have done over the years to have their players bond so beautifully.
It is not a case of men’s tennis and women’s tennis and never the twain shall meet, it is tennis, a sport that we are all in together. If only all the national federations and associations were to take a leaf out of the FFT book, the sport would be better for it.
“It’s great, the world of tennis, the world of French tennis comes together at these moments at these events,” Mauresmo said. “We had the guys in the Davis Cup final a couple of years ago come and support us, it is always like this and the family of French tennis comes together … it’s always like this and it is great.”
It truly is.
Possibly the only other time you might see a male player supporting a female counterpart would be at Hopman Cup as they are part of a two-person team which includes playing mixed doubles, but how wonderful it would be if the sport witnessed it on a more regular basis.
In men’s tennis really just one current player genuinely goes out of his way to support the women players of his nation and as the new world No.1 Andy Murray’s effort might just open a new window. It could only be good for the sport.