So I made it to Roland Garros! The raison d'être for the trip. Of course, our tickets happened to be on the day after our bar crawl through Oberkampf. Of course they did. I was not feeling so swell that morning but nothing could stop me from the French Open. I woke up really early that Sunday for some reason, and the streets were empty when I ventured out to get Gatorade. This trip was nearly disastrous, as I turned down an aisle in a tiny grocery store and almost fell into the open cellar door in the floor. Thank God I looked before I took a step. Was not expecting that! That would be an especially stupid way to go.
Later we went to a patisserie, and I stood in line while Joe got cash. I made a beeline for the display of sandwiches, getting closer to try to see what kind I could get. Turns out I had managed to make my way behind the counter and a saleswoman was yelling at me but I was too dense to realize that. She shooed me back into the line, walking toward me, waving her hands and tsk-ing the way you would shoo an errant raccoon from a trash can. It was the only way I would understand, apparently. Highly embarrassing!
It looks like we are about to get sprayed with water in this picture. Between sets and after matches, the courts were watered the same way you water your lawn, and then workers smoothed the clay with a section of net. These are the things you don't see on television!
Since we were on the outer courts, we didn't see anyone particularly famous play, but we did see some good matches, including an entire 5-setter with Michael Berrer, who went from two sets down to beat the number 30 seed, Jurgen Melzer. We had an awesome seat for this one, practically on the court. I personally think our cheering helped Berrer come from behind for the win.
I find tennis tournaments to be somewhat stressful in the early rounds since so much is going on at once. You always wonder, is there a better match somewhere? If I leave my seat at this match, will I be able to get back in, and will I regret leaving?
We waited in some long lines to get into the side courts but that could be chalked up to the disorganization of the first day. If I went again, I would probably get a ticket for one of the bigger courts (which aren't that big compared to the U.S. Open's Ashe Stadium). I bought the Roland Garros tickets before the plane tickets, I kept it conservative since I wasn't sure I would actually go. But honestly, we had a lot of fun on the side courts and got to experience the atmosphere of the tournament. I don't think we missed much, the first day is usually a cakewalk for the top players anyway. Except for Roddick, who promptly lost in the first round that day.
We got to watch some of Venus's match on the big screen in the courtyard.
And guess what? We timed it just right to see Djoker's practice session! I'm still not sure about the Uniqlo duds but I guess they drove a dumptruck full of money up to his house. This was a highlight, to see him in person and get to watch his 10-person entourage stand on the sidelines as Djokovic hit serves.
I think Roland Garros wins for the most adorable ball kids of any major. They seemed younger than our American ball kids for some reason. My favorite is the little one with the curly mop of hair in the front of the line. So cute!
Gotta love the Lacoste outfits on the umpires. This guy looked beyond cool with his glasses and the sneaks.
All the officials had 1920s-era Lacoste outfits too. They were all so attractive. The dudes looked dashing, and the women had perfect makeup to match their drop-waist white dresses. The only problem: they didn't look that authoritative. Give me a frumpy middle-aged woman in a wrinkled polo shirt and khaki shorts with a walky talky around her neck and I'll show you someone who means business. Not once but twice did we see fans brazenly flouting the rules. First, a pack of guys pushed past a ticket-taker who was (seemingly arbitrarily) holding up the line. They walked by her when she turned her back and then she chased after them but it did no good. Then later, when all the matches concluded, an old man walked back into the stadium, ignoring a guy who told him not to do that. He looked at the official, made some sort of raspberry noise combined with a shrug of the shoulders, and kept on walking. See, no one takes them seriously in those outfits!
It was amazing to be there after seeing it on television all these years. The landscaping was gorgeous.
Wimbledon and Melbourne are next on the bucket list!
At the end of a long day, we went to a little bistro chock-full of Parisians, but the food was terrible. Strange. Nice atmosphere though.