Mag By So Press
The tennis news (but not only) of the week: Nadal, Barty and a parachute
Monday, June 3rd
The second week of the French Open has only just started, but there are no French players left on the Parisian clay: Paire and Monfils were both knocked out, the first walked out with the honors after losing against Nishikori, while the second was destroyed by Thiem. In the men’s quarter-finals, we’ll find the top five players in the world, along with Nishikori, Khachanov and Wawrinka. A great cast! In the women’s draw, Halep is now the clear favorite, and Anisimova the youngest, with the worst ranking (she’s the number 51 at the WTA ranking). Otherwise, we’ve received some great news ahead of the (short) season on grass which will start next week: Murray will play in the doubles at the Queen’s, before, hopefully, saying his goodbyes to tennis at Wimbledon. Donald Trump, on his side, was on an official visit in London. We don’t know if this came as a direct consequence, but Mount Etna woke up in Italy, and started producing impressive geysers of magma. Could it also be to celebrate Rafa Nadal’s birthday, as he turned 33 today?
Tuesday, June 4th
The first quarter-finals gave their verdict at Roland-Garros: Vondrousova and Konta qualified in the women’s draw, and Federer and Nadal did the same in the men’s draw, to confirm their long-expected duel in the next round. The Swiss sounded impatient, and even admitted that he had only thought about facing his lifelong rival when he started preparing for his big return on clay. The other heroes of the day were the protesters of the Tiananmen Square, 30 years after they rallied, and this American father, who saved his daughter by punching a shark in the face. But the queen on this June 4th, is Serena Williams, whose 225 million-dollar fortune officially makes her the best-paid female athlete in the world, and earned her a spot on the cover of Forbes magazine.
Wednesday, June 5th
While waiting for next year and the installation of a retractable roof above the Parisian central court, the heavy rains of the day at Roland-Garros forced the organizers to postpone the remaining quarter-finals. A break which gave the ITF a good occasion to honor Gabriela Sabatini for her engagement with UNESCO and UNICEF, and Rafa Nadal the opportunity to deny the rumors surrounding his wedding with his partner, Xisca Perello. In England, the commemoration of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy started. And finally, in New Delhi, India, a mountain formed by waste is now officially higher than the Taj Mahal.
Thursday, June 6th
Even if the weather in Paris was still very uncertain, the matches planned for the day before were programmed to be played today, and ended with very quick wins, as the four winners of the day – Djokovic, Thiem, Anisimova and Barty – didn’t even lose a single set. The huge surprise of the day was the qualification of Anisimova, who defeated Simona Halep, the title-holder. Not too far from the French capital, on the coasts of Normandy, the commemorations of June 6th, 1944 were up and running, with all the survivors of this turning point of the Second World War attending. Among them was the American Tom Price, 97, who recreated the parachute jump which he made 75 years earlier.
Friday, June 7th
The bad weather spoiled the party a little more in this end of the 2019 edition of Roland-Garros: in a frisky atmosphere, Rafael Nadal cruised to win his long-expected confrontation against a helpless Roger Federer in three sets, while the match between Djoko and Thiem couldn’t finish in time. Earlier during the day, Barty and Vondrousova respectively defeated Anisimova and Konta to qualify for an unprecedented final. In ohter news, it’s not too late to plan your summer holidays, with a new unusual destination: the international space station, which is now opened to (very rich) tourists. In terms of exoticism, it’s hard to do better.
Saturday, June 8th
A word of tennis and gossip, with some very sad news: the romance between Elina Svitolina and Gaël Monfils seems to be over, as the first has unfollowed the second on her social networks, and their joint Instagram account has been suddenly deactivated. Enough to make Djokovic feel blue, as he ended up losing his semi-final against Thiem. There wasn’t enough time to get over this result, as the women’s final started just after that, with Ashleigh Barty clinching the title against the surprise-guest, Marketa Vondrousova. A huge reward for the Australian, an ex-cricket player, and ambassador of Aboriginal people, who is overall considered to be one of the nicest player on the circuit. Less nice, Teresa May’s possible successor, Boris Johnson, announced that he wanted to get the Brexit over as quickly as possible, and without his country paying anything. Still with geopolitics: the Toronto Raptors are only one win away from offering Canada a first historical NBA title.
Sunday, June 9th
An 18th Grand Slam title, the 12th at Roland-Garros: Rafael Nadal remains the undisputed master of the Parisian clay. For the second time in a row, Dominic Thiem had to surrender in the final, even if he managed to win a set against the Majorcan King. Enough to say our goodbyes to the clay which stains our socks, and say hello to the grass! Federer and Djoko will be seeking their revenge, Serena Williams will be looking to win a last Grand Slam tournament: we already can’t wait. And while we’re on the subject of grass and botany, please note that the tree which has been planted by Donald Trump in the garden of the White house at the start of his term has died.
By Régis Delanoë