French Open Expert Opinions: Volume III
Published May 25, 2014 12:12
PARIS, France - Check in with four of our experts - Mark Hodgkinson, Courtney Nguyen, Nick McCarvel and Ravi Ubha - about a variety of French Open topics. And read Volumes I and II too...
What is your favorite French Open memory?
McCarvel: There really have been some wacky moments in Paris for the ladies, haven't there? I would have to say my favorite is Jennifer Capriati's 2001 triumph, when she backed up her Australian Open win with a 1-6, 6-4, 12-10 effort over Kim Clijsters, who was then just 17. What is that scoreline?! I remember watching this one on TV and neither player really being able to hit through one another, even with their powerful groundstrokes. Melodrama at its best!
Nguyen: Steffi Graf beating Martina Hingis to win in 1999. That match was nuts for a number of reasons - Hingis crossing net to challenge a call, the cruel French crowd, Hingis in tears and having to be summoned back to the court for the trophy ceremony by her mother - but I knew that was it was for Steffi. As a Graf fan, watching her defeat a teenage phenom to win her last Slam was cool.
Ubha: Francesca Schiavone's run to the title in 2010. Schiavone played with swagger, her delightful variety was in full flow - and no one expected the Italian to become a Grand Slam champion.
To a fan who has never been, what would you say is a "must see" aspect of the French Open?
Hodgkinson: Court Suzanne Lenglen is one of my favourite courts anywhere in tennis - I love the design.
Ubha: Watching a high-profile French player in action. The French public knows their tennis and of course will vociferously back the locals. However, they're not shy to jeer one of their own - and loudly - if the effort isn't there.
Nguyen: Other than the exorbitant food prices - 13 Euro for a hotdog? - and ushers who look like they spend their off time walking the Paris runways? I'd go with the elevated walkway between Courts 2 and 3. Climb up there and get a prime spot and you can watch two matches at once in an intimate setting.
McCarvel: I think Roland Garros gets a bad wrap compared to the rest of the Grand Slams a lot of the time because the grounds themselves are smaller, but that is actually one of the main reasons why I love the French Open so much. Everything feels so intimate, so accessible. Court 2 is really my favorite though: It sits in the shadow of Court Philippe Chatrier and has this quaint, historic aura to it that oozes French tennis. And Court 3 overhangs it a little, too, so you get that community aspect and it really can get rocking.