An update from Day 3 of Roland Garros qualifying.
Although I can’t be at Roland Garros this year, I’m excited to have some tennis friends sending me pics and updates for the blog.
This update, including the photos, was provided by @lizcurran girl-on-the-spot in cold, hail-stoney Paris. Liz is a great friend who also completed her fan slam in 2012.
I had never really appreciated the importance of the Grand Slam qualifying tournaments until I went to Flushing Meadows the Friday before the start of the USO12. I saw the final day of qualifying and I really began to understand the passion that goes into winning one of those 16 coveted Main Draw places.
The 132 qualifying tournament entrants are whittled down to just sixteen through three hard fought rounds held over four days.
Today at the French Open (Day 3, Thursday 23 May) it was all second round matches so everyone had already won one round and was striving to get to within one win of the main draw. There was plenty of passion, and a few broken rackets (Andrea Petkovic stamped on hers when she lost ) amidst the tough cold conditions with intermittent rain/hailstorms.
The French Open even has its own logo and branding for the tournament and its own leaderboard of who has won what matches exactly the same as the main draw tournament does.
The other bonus about going to the qualifying tournament is that you get the opportunity to see the players who are taking part in the main draw practice. Today on Suzanne Lenglen I saw Milos Raonic practicing with Richard Gasquet and Maria Sharapova playing sets against Yevgeny Kafelnikov.
Suzanne Lenglen will definitely not be this empty when the main tourney kicks off
I also saw Alexander Dolgopolov practising very briefly before the rain set in again and sent him running from the court. He was sporting a nice customised Adidas tshirt saying ‘Dog is all in’ and whilst his hair was tied up in his customary ponytail I think it looked like he had had a bit of a haircut. I’m just waiting for Adidas to bring out some customised Andy Murray tshirts for the Andy Murray fans. We wait in hope (we are used to waiting!).
Clothing on an unseasonably cold Parisienne day
My phone tells me that the maximum temperature today was 12C and that it’s now 6C at 11pm.
Actually in the sunshine it was pretty warm, it is almost midsummer after all so the sun is high in the sky, but the sunshine was intermittent and when the clouds and the rain (hail storms on three occasions) and the wind came it was pretty horrendous.
This meant there were some interesting clothing combinations and lots of cold people on display as we determinedly stuck with our favourite sport through thick and thin!
The women mostly chose to go with leggings and long sleeved tops. But there were a few exceptions notably Paula Ormachea (who defeated Laura Robson to win the crucial Fed Cup GB v Argentina tie last month) who defied the cold spring conditions by wearing her trademark sunglasses and a skimpy dress with no leggings. Brave woman! Most of the other women looked pretty good in their leggings under skirt/dress combos but Andrea Petkovic, who lost a heartbreaker in 3 sets in a hailstorm, loses style marks for wearing black leggings with her navy and white skirt/top combination.
And of course there is no evidence of how I looked today – wrapped up in everything I had with me in my bag including a woolly hat. That look is staying secret!
Around the site
A couple of final pictures from around the site. Firstly I spotted a mobile phone charging station just in front of Suzanne Lenglen – I think this is new from last year and by the end of the day it was not surprisingly surrounded by a group of teenagers happily charging their phones. I think Roland Garros needs to install more than one!
Secondly there isn’t much for vegies and even less for vegans so I suggest you bring your own food if you don’t eat hot dogs or burgers. There are a few cheese options if you don’t eat meat but you know….this is France.
Huge thanks to @lizcurran for this update. It’s made me even more excited for the main draw to start next week.
Until next time
Grand Slam Gal