Our three journalists present at Roland-Garros award the good points and the worst for the 2020 edition.
By Jean-Julien Ezvan, Gilles Festor and Romain Schneider,
For the first time in more than 40 years (the “Central” had hosted matches until 10 p.m. thanks to eight 12 m pylons between 1969 and 1974), Roland-Garros has this year scheduled night matches. . Thanks to 12 lighted courts (out of the 14 reserved for the different paintings). A configuration that offered photographers and spectators to capture lights and rare moments, to share a unique atmosphere. In small groups (gauge limited to 1,000 spectators by the authorities due to the Covid-19 pandemic). Just like the intense emotion felt during the qualification at 0h10 for the 2e Clara Burel’s turn (against the Dutch Arantxa Rus).
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Swiatek, the amazing queen of Roland-Garros
Like a hurricane. The young Polish, 54th in the world at the start of the tournament, won her first Grand Slam title on Saturday, slapping the American Sofia Kenin (6-4, 6-1). From Romanian Simona Halep – seeded number 1 and winner in 2018 – to Sofia Kenin, winner of the Australian Open, no player has been able to take a set, not even more than five games! And to think that before appearing at Roland Garros, the Polish had no title to her list and had only reached a final on the WTA circuit… The young woman of 19, who was still studying at high school, he Not long ago, his joie de vivre and his carefree spirit took to Porte d’Auteuil and also impressed with his tennis and mental solidity. She will have to be counted on in a women’s tennis in search of stability.
The roof of Philippe-Chatrier court
Without him and given the very rainy weather in the capital for two weeks, the tournament could have turned into a fiasco. The roof of the Philippe-Chatrier court could not have dreamed of better circumstances for its inauguration this year. The new equipment, its eleven panels 105 meters long (for a total cost of 55 million euros) retractable in about fifteen minutes, fulfilled their mission perfectly. The wide side openings allow air currents (and sometimes a little rain) to pass through, giving the new court a soul and playing conditions all its own. We can not wait to discover the whole with the sweetness of the days of May and, above all, with 15,000 spectators. One downside, however, is aesthetic, with the shade cast during the day by the roof on the court when the sun floods the Porte d’Auteuil.
Only 1,000 people but still “people” for the Roland-Garros final
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Hugo Gaston and his amortized
If a blow symbolizes the autumnal Roland Garros, it is well cushioned. And if a player now embodies this move, it is obviously Hugo Gaston, the tricolor revelation of the 2020 edition. Gaston almost made Dominic Thiem goat with his cushionings. The young Toulousain has tried no less than 58 against the recent winner of the US Open with a success rate exceeding 70%. during the 3h30 match of his fight lost in five sets in the round of 16. This lethal weapon had already disgusted Stan Wawrinka in the 3e tower. Little Gaston (1.73m) showed that he had more than one trick up his sleeve and delighted the handful of spectators present.
The successful organization despite the context
A tournament postponed to autumn, a terrible weather with rain and cold, a gauge reduced to 1000 spectators (35 times less than usual) a few days before the kickoff of the event, all in a context of extremely burdensome health restrictions. Despite strong headwinds, the organizers did better than save the furniture even if the atmosphere in the stadium was, necessarily, quite gloomy. With the exception of a few players who pointed out the conditions of their stay in Paris, isolated in their sanitary facilities in their hotel, the athletes praised the exemplary work of Guy Forget, tournament director and Bernard Giudicelli ( President of the French Tennis Federation) to maintain the event at all costs by welcoming with enormous relief the presence of an audience (even a small one) in the stands.
The whims of Shapovalov
Ejected by the 101st player in the world, Denis Shapovalov had the head of the bad days in a press conference after the second round. We imagine that this frustrating defeat after five hours of play is for a lot in his violent charge against the direction of the tournament. Inconsistent schedule of matches, non-waterproof health bubble, new unplayable balls, the Canadian took out the bazooka to denounce a “terrible organization” while the vast majority of players clenched their teeth in a difficult context. “We’re in a Grand Slam, I don’t want to sound spoiled rotten, but we expect the tournament to help us play. They could have planned things better, that’s not acceptable, ”regretted the No. 9 seed who referred to the scheduling of his doubles match in the wake of his elimination. Released (6-2, 6-2) with Bopana, “Shapo” was able to return to his native Canada earlier than expected.
Terminus at 1:26 am,the failure of programming
Traffic jam. Referee Rémy Azemar and the tournament management committee had scheduled 5 matches on the Philippe Chatrier court on Tuesday April 6. The meetings have stretched, in particular the standoff between Diego Schwartzman and Dominic Thiem, in straight sets and 5h8. Rafael Nadal and the Italian Jannik Sinner, scheduled at the end of the program, entered the court at 10:30 p.m. The Spaniard concluding victoriously, grimacing, at 1:26. A failure in a program that managed to pass between the drops to bring this autumn edition of a new Roland Garros to port.
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Bullets, a few days of controversy
“I wouldn’t give them to a dog to chew on,” Briton Daniel Evans quickly stormed. Rafael Nadal also criticized the balls used, Wilson (partner of the US Open since 1978) after Babolat since 2011. The controversy rebounded at the start of the tournament, before dying out, disappearing from the concerns of the players, for leave room for spectacular matches in all tables. A fortnight concluded in a masterly way by the king of the earth, Rafael Nadal, ruthless in the final. It was then more a question of series, records, than balls …
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Gael Monfils and his ghost
The performances of Hugo Gaston (20 years old), Clara Burel (19 years old), or even Fiona Ferro (23 years old), gave a little color to a rather pale French tennis. Like the French number one Gaël Monfils, slapped in the first round. Never seen before for him since his first participation in 2005, at 18 years old… The 9e world, at a standstill, which had bypassed the American tour, has still not won a match since the resumption of the circuit in mid-August and seems to have its head elsewhere. The other blue chances hardly shone. Ugo Humbert, 38e world, yet inspired by Rome and Hamburg, has disappeared from the start. Out of form, Benoît Paire stalled in 2e tower. For girls, Caroline Garcia did the job but she showed limits in 8e final against Elina Zvitolina, visibly more concerned by the tournament than her partner Gaël Monfils …