I posted some photos on FB. I had Centre Court tickets, as well as freedom to roam the grounds, much like Wimbledon and the US Open.
Most tennis fans know that the French Open in Paris is played on clay courts. In fact, it is the only remaining Grand Slam event played on clay. Wimbledon in London is played on grass, while the Australian and US Open are played on hard courts. And it is my least favorite of the Grand Slam tennis events. I have been to both the US Open in Flushing Meadows, NY as well as Wimbledon, which I consider one of the three or four best sporting events in the world.
Why not the French Open? Among many reasons, it is held in Paris, not one of my favorite cities. I do not care for the long rallies on clay courts. And I have never been a big fan of playing on clay courts (Mexico, well as here in the US). But the one, and perhaps biggest reason I want to attend is the raucous behavior of the fans. In particular, the fans from various countries who come to Paris to cheer for their favorite countryman or woman. Their unbridled enthusiasm is the very essence of sports!
The French Open, often called Roland Garros, is held at Stade Roland Garros, named for the famous French aviator, Roland Garros. As the only Grand Slam played on clay, the tournament favors the best ground strokes, rather than big serves, or volleys. Clay courts slow the ball down and produce a high bounce than grass or hard courts. For that reason, notable tennis greats like Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Venus Williams, and Boris Becker, among many. But some all-around players have won both, such as Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andre Agassi, Rafa Nadal, Bjorn Borg, and Rod Laver.
While I may never make it over to Melbourne for the Australian Open, I think completing three of the Grand Slam events is enough of an accomplishment. I just happen to be “down the road”, so to speak in Croatia, Serbia, and Greece.
It was fairly easy to reach Roland Garros by Metro, one transfer, and a 10 minute walk. The grounds are very historic and beautiful. The biggest downside are the smokers, and people who stop in a walkway where we are trying to move from match to match, the WC, or food and drink.
I rooted for several Americans, all of whom won yesterday. I was sad not to see Naomi Osaka, since she lost to American Anisimova. The best player I saw was the big Greek, Stefanos Tsitsipas, on centre court, the famous Philippe Chartrier Stade.
Food and drink leaves much to be desired, and does not compare to the other majors. The best I could find was a burger and fries. I never found beer or champagne stands. But retail has taken over, with many petit boutiques, and a huge building just for retail, including shoes, rackets, stringing, and every article of clothing with a French Open logo.
But, I am glad I went. Today is one of my favs, the Musee d’Orsay, and some cafe’ hoping. Tonight, it is steak frites and champagne!!!!