At the French Open, the so-called night session takes place on ten evenings during the two-week Grand Slam tournament. The matches in the floodlights so far have been as follows: On Monday, defending champion Novak Djokovic played Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka. On Tuesday, fourth in the world rankings Stefanos Tsitsipas against Italian Lorenzo Mussetti. On Wednesday, 13-times champion Rafael Nadal faced France’s Cortin Moutet. On Thursday, two women were allowed into Philippe Chatrier’s court for the first time. From the organizer’s point of view, this allocation was also quite logical.
There was little to be said to send 24-year-old Latvian Jelena Ostapenko to the biggest stage here in a second round match. She won the title in Paris five years ago, yes. But other names sell better, with all due respect. There is no denying the fact that tickets, quotas and commerce are at stake: Amazon Prime broadcasts the nightly games. Ostapenko, ranked 13th in the world, played against the 40th seed, who would also have spoken against choosing this duel on this court. But: the number 40 is Alizé Cornet. French girl.
The game went exactly as the organizers like to see it. Perhaps the first group was a bit fast, 6:0 for Cornet. But it sparked enthusiasm. Ostapenko won the second set, which was good for longer match and TV coverage. Cornet won 6:3 in the third set. At one time the crowd raged so loudly that Ostapenko put his hands over his ears in a wonderful theatrical fashion. When I shook hands, I hardly looked at Cornet, left the place confused, while Cornet exclaimed: “I have chills and almost tears in my eyes.” Moreover to liberateThe great sports daily rejoiced in its headline: “Cornet stops hurricane.” This match was once again an example of how it works at Roland Garros. It can be said that the French professionals are preferred.
On Tuesday, ten French players were divided between the three largest arenas
Now it is in the nature of things that in the Grand Slams that are held every year, every host is doing their best for their countrymen. They do it no differently in Melbourne, Wimbledon and New York. Thus the FFT, the Fédération Française de Tennis, does not miss the opportunity to strengthen its players. It starts even before the French Open. Six wildcards each, free starting places for the main field, went to the French. In qualification, 18 wildcards were awarded to representatives of their own association. In Berlin, at the WTA Championships, 2013 Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki had to fight for a wild card to qualify for the tournament in June. The French Football Federation is doing everything possible to help its players, and this means above all: they must take advantage of the house advantage, support and gain experience in front of a large crowd, which works very well in practice.
On Tuesday, for example, ten French players were distributed over the three largest arenas. Cornet was allowed into Center Court for the first time, and veterans Richard Gasquet and Jill Simon allowed themselves to push themselves to win Court Susan Lenglin and Kurt Simon Mathews. The boisterous Hugo Gaston, who was constantly stopping, probably wouldn’t have made the third lap if the spectators hadn’t carried him away to Susan Lenglin. After his thrilling victory over the world No. 19. Alex de Minaur of Australia asked Gaston, No. 74, to have everyone sing a birthday song for his girlfriend. Of course everyone sang.
Moutet produced a great match on the same court by defeating former Paris champion Stan Wawrinka. Diane Barry also outdone herself, ousting defending champion Barbora Krejkova of the Czech Republic at Court Philippe Chatrier. While a spectacular men’s duel like the one between Canadian Denis Shapovalov and young Dane-Holger Ron, who shot through the roof, was crammed into Court 12 and queues were falling, Tessah Andriangavitrimu, No. 141, was playing at the same time Simon Mathieu’s court.
Of course, there is never complete justice when it comes to appointments at Grand Slam, which is why they are often the subject of debate. Additionally, the FFT must be protected. Your players fill the stadiums to the end. They take these liberties because they are allowed to, and there are no regulations for appointments, except for unwritten appointments. Nadal and Djokovic – including Roger Federer when he was there – only play once on Court Suzanne Lenglin, except on Court Philippe Chatrier. In addition, all the decisions of the new tournament director Amelie Mauresmo are not wrong. Some French players deserve nothing more than praise in the arenas.
French men’s tennis in particular is facing a turning point. For 15 years, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gasquet, Simon and Gael Monfils carried the nation’s hopes, had an impressive career, even without the long-awaited victory in the Grand Slam, after all they won the Davis Cup as a substitute. Tsonga, 37, quit, and his last match against Norway’s Casper Ruud became a center-court celebration, Marseilles sung, and tears shed as family and companions took to the field and Federer congratulated Tsonga via a video message.
Simon, 37, will retire at the end of the season, and he has also made clear what factor the setup in Paris is for him as a Frenchman. On Tuesday he played against Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta until after midnight and after 6:4 in the fifth set he said he won for the fans who cheered him late. When he then also beat American Steve Johnson at Court Philippe Chatrier, he said: “Whenever I felt like I didn’t have more energy at the end, I used the crowd.”