All that Roger Federer misses at Roland Garros for paradise

Roger Federer salta al agua durante sus vacaciones en el sudeste asiático / @rogerfederer
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PARIS – It’s not hard to understand why Roger Federer prefers the warm waters of Southeast Asia to six consecutive days of cold and rain in Paris, but the truth is that, beyond being retired from tennis and enjoying the (very) good life, the Swiss is missing out on big things at the French Open.

– Roland Garros is played in autumn: temperatures ranging between 10 and 15 degrees, frequent rain every day and the fortune that for this edition of the tournament the Suzanne Lenglen stadium has a retractable roof. In other words, even if it were to rain all the time, every day, Roland Garros would still be able to get through eight to ten matches a day. The tournament, of course, would be over by the start of Wimbledon. And that is not the plan.

Friday of the first week and the cold that intensifies at Roland Garros 2024 / SEBASTIÁN FEST

– Hooligans and flying chewing gum: the Belgian David Goffin has recently come up with an unthinkable image, that of tennis stadiums with smoke from flares and bare-chested hooligans shouting wildly. It is unlikely to come to that, but a spectator spitting chewing gum at him and several other situations in different stadiums led Amelie Mauresmo, the tournament director, to impose a ‘dry law’ (no alcohol in the stands) and to appoint the most experienced chair umpires for potentially explosive matches.

– Self-injury and withdrawal: Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech was on his way to one of the victories of his life and ended up suffering one of the biggest disappointments of his career. He was down two sets to one to Argentina’s Tomás Etcheverry when, frustrated at having surrendered serve for 0-2 in the fourth set, he kicked what he thought was a tarpaulin. It was, in fact, a wall. ‘You feel stupid,’ confessed the Frenchman, who abandoned and handed victory to Etcheverry, a 3-6, 6-7 (8-10), 6-1, 5-0 winner. Rinderknecht seriously damaged a toe on his left foot.

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– The hooligan was on the court: no one can say that the Belgians are boring. Goffin’s fear that the stands would be full of hooligans was answered by his compatriot Zizou Bergs with one of the most audacious celebrations in tennis history. After winning, Bergs stood in the middle of the court and shouted three times: ‘Waar is da feestje?’ (Where’s the party?), to which some of the crowd responded ‘Hier is da feestje! The chant is used by football fans in Belgium. In the end, Goffin was right: there are hooligans, but in Belgium!

The hooligan celebration of Zizou Bergs

Belgian Zizou Bergs harangues spectators at Roland Garros 2024

– Allergy to journalists: it is not that the protagonists love journalists, with whom they clash from time to time. But Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina set an interesting milestone with a disparaging comment about the questions she was asked: ‘Simple questions, simple answers. Anything else, guys? The response generated a bit of controversy. Chris Evert, winner of 18 Grand Slam titles, came to Rybakina’s defence.

– Djokovic’s book on Nadal: Beyond calling it the ‘most important rivalry’ of his career, Serbia’s Novak Djokovic’s response to a question about Rafael Nadal drew attention for another reason. The Serb went on for almost four minutes, with his analysis of what Nadal meant to him and Roland Garros could practically build the structure of a book.

The fashionable couple in tennis: Stefanos Tsitsipas and Paula Badosa / IG

– Love, love, love: after the announcement that the pair were parting ways, the love of Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas and Spain’s Paula Badosa seems stronger than ever. Tsitsipas hops down the stairs and, when asked by Alex Corretja in a post-win interview why he plays singles, doubles and mixed doubles, the Greek did not disappoint: ‘It’s all because of love. Love on both sides, it’s all about love. And combining love and tennis is something very exceptional’.

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