Men’s final this morning. I do love the time difference for the Roland Garros and Wimbledon finals.
Maria Sharapova recently announced on Facebook that she will serve as the flag bearer for Russia in the opening ceremonies in London for her first (!) Olympic Games. Her selection to represent Russia, however, may come as a surprise since she plays a sport dominated by her fellow countrymen, who allegedly label her a “passport Russian,” since she has lived and trained in the U.S. since 1994.
SI.com has a great piece about Sharapova’s decision to remain a Russian citizen. The criticism that she receives (that prompt jokes by Slate that the U.S. finally broke through at the French Open) is quite a contrast from the public’s reaction to Novak Djokovic, the upcoming flag-bearer for Serbia. Granted, we’re comparing apples and oranges: Serbia is a tiny country where Djokovic is idolized and whose own president talked to 60 Minutes earlier this year about his influence on the nation, despite the fact that Djokovic has lived in tax haven Monte Carlo for years.
Interestingly, this week’s cover story for Time, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter (and undocumented immigrant) José Antonio Vargas, chronicles the struggles of Americans in this country. They may not have passports, but they live here, work here, and arguably understand the concept of the American dream better than anyone who was actually born on U.S. soil.
So what makes everybody so much more willing to accept someone like Sharapova, who proudly continues to represent Russia, as an American, than any of these others who would jump at the chance to wave around Old Glory anywhere?
I’m sure everywhere else, that unoriginal title is accompanying most articles about Rafa’s record-breaking SEVENTH French Open title. He has surpassed his own record (previously tied with Bjorn Borg) at Roland Garros, and now Rafa has 11 Grand Slam championships, just like Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg. Not bad company… and Rafa just turned 26!
After yesterday’s rain delay, which came just as Rafa won a game after losing eight straight to Novak (what the hell?), I had no idea how today would go but am so happy for Rafa, who won 6-4 6-3 2-6 7-5 (yep, he finally lost his first set this year!). Kind of a shame that he won the tournament because Novak double-faulted (how anti-climactic), but hey, a championship is a championship!
I was very impressed by both players’ heavy use of French in the trophy presentation. Granted, as my friend Nicole pointed out, they probably just prepped what they were going to say (let’s be real, it’s always the same, “Thanks to everyone for your support, thanks to my team,” etc.), and Novak does live in Monte Carlo and Rafa has won this tournament numerous times, but it was still pretty cool and the crowd loved it. It was very impressive to see Rafa (whose English used to be so shaky) go from French to Castilian to Catalan to English with relative ease.
As the commenters pointed out, Rafa is playing at Halle, Germany, on THURSDAY to prep for Wimbledon. (Hasn’t he always played Queen’s?) Wimbledon, unbelievably, will commence in just three weeks, and tennis at the Olympics (again at Wimbledon) begins a month after that! Should be interesting to see how everything unravels this summer, now that Rafa has finally broken Novak’s dominance at the Grand Slams… and Federer seems less confident with himself!
One more thing. Regarding the fancy dinner that the champions attend: this is where Agassi and Graff danced together and met, right? Is it tradition for the champions to dance together? Can you imagine Sharapova and Nadal dancing? Kind of odd.
Bagels, coffee, bleary eyes… it’s the FRENCH OPEN MEN’S SEMIS!
My goodness… that Parisian weather. What was happening with the sudden downpours, which disappeared as soon as they came? I thought the rain delays would last longer than they did. Anyhow. I was super excited to see an all-Spanish men’s semifinal (many Parisians were not; as the commenters quickly pointed out, the stands were quite empty for this first semi… I mean, I know the French don’t love Rafa, but he’s Rafa!), although it’s too bad that the score (6-2 6-2 6-1) was so lopsided. He even made that crazy shot after slipping on his butt on the rain-soaked clay.
I expected at least four sets from Djokovic and Federer… alas, Novak won (6-4 7-5 6-3), despite a seriously weird second set where they kept breaking each other, after it looked like Fed was on his way to take it when he was up 4-2. What a demoralizing match, especially after wagging his finger at Djokovic and showing some rare emotion after winning last year’s semi. Kudos to Novak, for reaching his FIRST French Open men’s final!
So Sunday comes the fourth Djokovic-Nadal Grand Slam final in a row… that’s insane! As the commenters keep reminding us ad nauseum, HISTORY WILL BE MADE! Will Rafa become the first man to win his seventh French Open and stop the seemingly unbeatable Djoker? Will Djokovic be the first man since Rod Laver to simultaneously hold all four Grand Slam titles? Okay, okay!
Listen, I get that they need to drum up excitement for a sport that isn’t too popular in the U.S., but… with every fucking sports event with any two guys, history will technically be made. Calm down, commentators.
Can’t wait for Sunday. Obviously rooting for Rafa, who has yet to drop a set this entire tournament. We shall see.
Honestly, I get a little grossed out when tennis players (you too, Rafa) do that pelvic thrust thing after winning a match. It’s like they’re having sex with the air.
I caught the fourth set of the QF between Djokovic and Tsonga at the French Open. Holy expletive. Packed crowd of locals GOING WILD on Philippe Chatrier for the last remaining Frenchman, who’s playing the #1 tennis player in the world, aka the guy who beat him at his first (and only) Grand Slam final (2008 Australian Open)? FOUR MATCH POINTS? Tiebreak?
That was heartbreaking, really. It couldn’t have been closer. It didn’t feel like a fourth set, more like a championship final, the way these guys were slugging it out. Tsonga was trying to reach the semis for the first time at the French… and yeah, yeah, we all know that Djokovic’s going for his effing Novak Slam or whatever the hell actual sports journalists are calling what I grudgingly concede would be an amazing achievement. Whatever. I have to admit that digging your way out of four match points is pretty amazing and exactly why Djokovic is #1 and the reigning champion of three Grand Slams.
That fifth set though (6-1). Ouch. Poor Tsonga. He played his damn heart out. (So did del Potro against Federer.)
I’m just hoping that Fed gets the chance to do that finger wag thing again. Novak still hasn’t reached a French Open final. Anyway, both guys deserve this two-day rest.
(Funny how it doesn’t really seem like there has been major waves concerning Nadal. He’s yet to drop a set. Normal, I guess.)