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This is the first time for us to attend the French Open Tennis tournament (see earlier post about Serena Williams). The Stade Roland-Garros is situated at the outskirt of Paris on the west near the Porte d’Auteuil. The entrance to Roland-Garros was about 10 minutes walk from the train station.

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There were no lines to enter as we arrived in mid-afternoon after the matches started at 11am. But the public areas around the stadiums (the Allees) and open courts were quite crowded.

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We bought some souvenirs and found our seats in the main court – Court Philippe Chatrier. A couple of friends who arrived earlier greeted us and provided us with sandwiches!  Nice.

This is the broadcasting open air studio on the main court.

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By the time we settled down, we missed two earlier matches played by Victoria Azarenka (seeded third) and the Frenchman J0-Wilfried Tsonga (seeded 6th). The first game we saw was a men’s game between Ernests Gulbis (ranked #40) of Latvia

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and Gael Monfils (ranked #81), a Frenchman who has a reputation for doing goofy things on court.

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The match stopped for about 10 minutes due to rain.

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The match was tense which took four sets to decide the winner – the Frenchman who received much support throughout the match won.

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For a while, there were discussions about moving the French Open tournament to another location due to the size of Stade Roland-Garros. In 2011, it was decided that Roland-Garros will undergo major renovations by 2018. Court n°1 will be demolished, while 2 new courts will be built. In addition, a retractable roof will be installed on the Philippe Chatrier court (point proven during this match). For more info about the renovation, see this recent NY Times article.

This is the overhead camera masquerading as an emirates jumbo jet.

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We never saw a match played on a clay court live before. The clay and the white lines offers direct and immediate evidence where the ball landed – there is little need to rely on electronics.

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The clay court was “ploughed” between games. According to Wikipedia:

Clay courts slow down the ball and produce a high bounce when compared to grass courts or hard courts. For this reason, clay courts take away some of the advantages of big servers and serve-and-volleyers, which makes it hard for these types of players to dominate on the surface. For example, Pete Sampras, known for his huge serve and who won 14 Grand Slam titles, never won the French Open – his best result was reaching the semi-finals in 1996. Many players who have won multiple Grand Slam events have never won the French Open, including John McEnroe, Venus Williams, Stefan Edberg, Boris Becker, Martina Hingis and Lindsay Davenport.

Roland Garros-12Water was sprayed onto the court presumably to keep it from being kicked up as dusts.

Roland Garros-11After the Serena match (see earlier post), we walked around the outside courts. Some other matches were still playing.

Roland Garros-15This is Monica Puig (#87) playing on Court 7.

Roland Garros-14Overall, it was fun and the atmosphere was great. Weather was not friendly however – it rained and was cold.



  1. How did you get so close to the players? Great camera or great seats? And the fun continues…

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