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RG Day One: Mixed Fortunes for the French

Posted by gauloises1 on May 24, 2010

Mixed bag for the home players today at Roland Garros. While Clare Feuerstein, Mathilde Johansson and Stephanie Foretz all lost in straight sets, the new queen of French tennis, Aravane Rezai, absolutely steamrollered Heidi El Tabakh of Canada 61 61 on Philippe Chatrier. Maybe she really isn’t intimidated by the prospect of playing at home.

“People are expecting me, and it’s a pleasure,” said the player who is based at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy just outside Paris and regularly practices with Britain’s Laura Robson. “I like this feeling. I like to be expected by people, and I want to do the best I can. I want to fight every day, and I want to please them.

“However it’s not pressure at all. I have a personality like a fighter. I like to fight on the court and enjoy it. But that’s my character. I think that’s the best way to improve, and that’s what I do all the time.” […]

“I’m in my bubble; I’m doing what I should, and I don’t think I can have a better preparation than to win a big tournament before Roland Garros,” she concluded. “I feel confident, but I know that won’t suffice for winning matches at Roland Garros. I’m going to have to erase all that and look ahead and try to forget what happened, because I’m going to start fresh like all the players in the tournament. But I’m going to battle like I did in Madrid.”


Destiny awaits. Or crushing disappointment. One of the two.

On the men’s side, things were similarly up-and-down, with Laurent Recourdec and Stephane Robert losing in straight sets to Robin Soderling and Tobias Kamke respectively, while Olivier Patience was on the wrong end of a pretty thrilling four-set encounter with Thiemo de Bakker.

Eduardo Roger-Vasselin of Delpo-beating fame beat Kevin Anderson 61 in the fifth, while Josselin Ouanna, the shy Frenchman who beat Marat Safin at his final Roland Garros last year, beat Poland’s Lukasz Kubot in four.

But apart from Julien Benneteau’s aforementioned victory over Ernests Gulbis, the real fireworks of the day were provided by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who found himself embroiled in a five-set contest with Daniel Brands of Germany on Philippe Chatrier. Reportedly not feeling well, Jo really had to dig in and let the crowd help him in surviving some really inspired play from Brands. I’ve followed Brands a bit – mainly unwillingly and entirely due to whitelinefervor, who adores him and thinks he’s a thing – but I was really impressed by how well he played and kept playing even after going two sets to one down. Had he not wobbled crucially right at the end, things might have been very different.

Still, I’m glad Jo survived and I hope he makes the most of his rest day(s) before his next match. I know his celebrating gets up some people’s noses, but I find his exuberance heartwarming and I love his game. I also love the clear affection he has for Roland Garros – a tournament he’s often been prevented from playing through injury.


9 Responses to “RG Day One: Mixed Fortunes for the French”

  1. kefuoe said

    I was so worried about Jo-Wilfried today. I’m so glad he made it through this tough match. Seeing him win a rather lack-luster match in Miami, yet still doing his trademark celebration, I wondered if he’s kind of stuck with that. What a drag to have to do that after every win, regardless of how you played or how you felt.

    Re Rezai: I thinks she’s 100% behind being at home on center court. The girl likes to be noticed.

  2. naughty T...urbane gentleman said

    and what a drag for us to have to watch him do it..regardless

    • gauloises1 said

      Well, like I say, I like watching it.

      • lauren said

        Me too. I can understand why it would irritate people, but it always gives me the happy grins. On the other hand, Masha’s kisses to the crowd make me want to slap her repeatedly and send her to her room. I guess I’m weird.

  3. Nic said

    I love that he says the colour goes well with his skin tone. I honestly believe that was at least partly his own thinking. I think Jo is one of the best dressed dudes on the tour. Jo regularly looks young, comfortable and current. Like he belongs in his own clothes. Dude has style. And he scrubs up well in a suit.

    …And that is my ode to Jo’s wardrobe. As for the rest of him, I don’t feel any particular attachment.

    • mina said

      in a suit, Jo beats Fed for me. having said that, it’s actually pretty weird that i don’t fangirl over him.

      • Nic said

        Agree. Because:
        a. Oh. Surprise surprise. Fed in a suit. Again.
        b. The once very nicely fitted tailoring is starting to look dated and a caricature of himself like ‘This is Anna Wintour Fed. He sells coffee and wears a Rolex,’ and
        c. There’s much more of that teen movie coming down the stairs transformation factor with Jo. Like, I didn’t know you could look that good, although I can’t see why I’m surprised.

        But that aside, hell, that included, I’m still a Fed fan.

        • mina said

          “But that aside, hell, that included, I’m still a Fed fan.”

          gaspshockhorror… you are?! LOL kidding. you know i love His Hairness, right? but let’s be clear: the hair on his head. and the shoulders. and the walk. maybe that’s what Mirka saw… *dreams abt being BFFs with Mrs Federer*

          • Nic said

            Hey! Sometimes I’m so subdued, even I forget.

            I dream that Makiri and I are besties, and Igor is available to pick us up after a big night out, so I don’t have to negotiate the nightride. I don’t know why.

            And with that, I’ll stop destroying this posts comments.

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