French No.1 Kristina Mladenovic has described her “heart break” at the postponement of Roland Garros.
The final week of May is traditionally when the French Open begins, but due to the coronavirus crisis that has swept the world, the 2020 edition has been pushed back to September.
Nevertheless, France’s Fed Cup heroine from 2019, who stays just a stone’s thrown from the Parisian venue, is acutely feeling the absence of a tournament she says is her favorite.
“It’s definitely heartbreaking not to feel the magic of Roland Garros,” she explained on ‘Chatting With Daniela’. “It’s my favorite swing, the clay court season, with the tournaments leading up to the Grand Slam – Madrid and Rome.
“It’s obviously my favorite and it’s very special to play here. To have the stadiums empty and all this empty atmosphere, it’s very weird.”
The WTA World No.42, who won the doubles in 2019 alongside Timea Babos, has admitted that she missed the thrill of competition, having last played in Lyon in early March.
“It’s the adrenaline of great matches,” she said when asked what she misses the most. “It’s great events, it’s a period I’m always looking forward to.
“That feeling of tough, close matches on the clay. The wins, the losses, the process. When you’re a competitor, that’s what you miss the most. Working for a goal and going out there and trying to achieve that is missing.
“The biggest part is the whole package with the crowd and the emotions. There’s nothing like it. You can’t feel it unless you do sport at this level. I really hope it starts again soon.”
While some players struggle to contend with the pressure of playing in front of a home crowd, the 27-year-old has said it is a challenge that she embraces.
“It’s something I can’t describe,” she said. “I’ve been working on it and learning about myself.
“From the start, I had great experience from winning juniors Roland Garros. I remember the feeling of playing on Suzanne Lenglen. When you get this experience quite young, it helps you for your career.
“I have to be honest, every year is challenging. You want to go better and it’s something special for each player to have a tournament at home. It’s a Grand Slam and it’s lots of pressure and great motivation.
“I’ve been lucky and privileged enough to like it and to enjoy this kind of stress and adrenaline. I’ve felt comfortable on court most of the time, which is important to show your best tennis.”
She has not wasted her time in quarantine, though, explaining that she has developed some skills at home.
“I’ve pushed myself to be in the kitchen because I’ve never cooked in my life!” she admitted. “This was the chance to start. And in my family, everyone cooks really well.
“I started by helping them and then one day, a challenge came up that I had to prepare the dinner. I went for the most difficult thing, which was scallops and rice and some other things. It was great. I did well and I’m improving.”