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Tennis News • Ricky Reviews Week One From The French Open For 10Balls

Dominic Thiem of Austria plays Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay during their men?s third round match during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 01 June 2019. EPA-EFE/JULIEN DE ROSA

The good, the bad, and the ugly during Week 1 of the French Open

 

By Ricky Dimon

 

It has been an eventful first week at the new-look Roland Garros. Courts have come, courts have gone, weather has cooperated, and most of the favorites on both the men’s and women’s side remain alive–albeit in many cases with plenty of trouble. Of course it hasn’t been perfect, but it’s been pretty darn great!

 

Here’s a breakdown of some–if not all–of the happenings so far at Roland Garros.

 

The Good:

 

The Bull Ring lives. Basically for every one of the past four years (including this one), they say it’s the final year of Court 1. But it’s still standing. King of like the old Grandstand at the U.S Open, which was rumored to be meeting its end every single summer starting around 2014. It finally did. Maybe the Bull Ring will, too. But for now it is still standing proudly as perhaps the best court on the entire rounds. Small. Intimate. General admission. Seemingly always home to great matches. Doesn’t get better than that.

 

Court Philippe Chatrier is renovated. Quite simply it is newer and nicer. Also the press seating is better–behind the baseline instead of on the sideline. Still not as awesome as that on Court Suzanne Lenglen, but an improvement for sure!

 

Year one of Court Simonne-Mathieu. It’s a long way away; you pretty much have to exit the main grounds and enter an entirely different part of Roland Garros. And it’s a ticketed court. But if you’re willing and able to get there, it’s worth it. Simonne-Mathieu has a Grandstand kind of field and so far it has already hosted plenty of fun matches such as Juan Martin Del Potro vs. Yoshihito Nishioka, Grigor Dimitrov vs. Marin Cilic, and Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. Hugo Dellien.

 

Week two is shaping up to be a big one. The top seeds on the men’s side have mostly cruised, while the female favorites have done well to battle through their early-round matches. Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, and Simona Halep have all dropped sets in unexpected fashion, but it’s all about surviving and advancing.

 

The weather has been AMAZING. It’s hotter this weekend, but still pretty much perfect. And even on days when rain was predicted at no less than 50 percent (Tuesday and Wednesday), the skies never opened up–at least not over RG.

 

The Bad:

 

The old Court 2 and Court 3 are gone. That’s not necessarily terrible for the public, as they were almost impossible to get into for any decent match. But it was the best seat in the house for members of the media, because you could watch both courts at the same time from the walkway in between the two. Oh well!

 

Injuries. Petra Kvitova withdrew. Felix Auger-Aliassime didn’t play. Neither did John Isner. Mid-match retirements already include Kiki Bertens, Kyle Edmund, and Pablo Carreno Busta. But, hey, it happens at every slam–and really every tournament. So it is what it is.

 

The Ugly:

 

Nike kits. Basically everyone–outside of top players like Nadal and Del Potro who is getting fitted by Nike is wearing an outrageous shirt with flowers all over it. Some are even wearing the same patterns on their shorts.

 

Dimitrov does not like the “Baby Federer” nickname. Late in the second set of his match with Stan Wawrinka on the Bull Ring, a fan shouted it at him–albeit in an encouraging. Clearly annoyed, Dimitrov shot back in disgust, “Do I look like a baby to you.”

 

Speaking of Dimitrov vs. Wawrinka, it got moved from Lenglen to the Bull Ring due to time constraints. Enraged Lenglen ticket holders who were trying (for the most part unsuccessfully) to get in protested their predicament in a unruly matter. Sure, it’s bad luck when you have a ticket for a ticketed court and a match gets moved to a non-ticketed court. But what do you want tournament organizers to do? Dimitrov and Wawrinka would not have been able to even start on Lenglen, but they got in two full sets–in tiebreakers, even–prior to darkness on Friday night. And it’s not like ushers can just start letting everyone into the Bull Ring. News flash: it’s MUCH smaller than Lenglen.

 

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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