The DNA of every tennis tournament contains elements of the location of the tournament — whether it’s the raucous night crowds at the US Open or the Royal Box at Wimbledon. Being on site here at Roland Garros has been fascinating – here is what I’ve observed so far.
1. People Take Dinner Time Very Seriously.
For the last two days, the highest seed scheduled for the day on Court Philippe Chatrier has been the last on — Andy Murray yesterday and Serena Williams today — both of whom were set to start their matches at 7:00 pm local time.
But, by the time the match was to start, the stands were less than half full. While the chilly weather may be partly to blame, the refrain I heard the most around me was that it was time for dinner, and that was that. Granted, not having a night session may mean that day ticket holders are just too tired to spend the night there as well, but it’s hard to imagine such an exodus anywhere else. But knowing this, it is puzzling that the schedule continues to feature big names at a point in the day when people are leaving for dinner.
2. Rafa in Siberia
One would think that winning Roland Garros 9 times would inspire some admiration for Rafael Nadal here, but once again he found himself beginning his tournament on the second largest court, Court Suzanne Lenglen, rather than on Chatrier. His straight set victory today did make the highlight reel thanks to the tweener he managed to pull off, though, so maybe he’ll get a better first round court assignment next year!
3. There Are Never Too Many Canapés
While I generally am a pretty DIY tennis fan, this time I went with a ticket package to come to Roland Garros. Instead of my usual foraging for good lunches to bring with me, I learned to love the lounge and its free flowing champagne and canapés. Not that it was difficult to learn, mind you. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still be hunting down food finds come September in New York, but during a rainy few days here in Paris, the lounge was a welcome respite from the elements. And, after some arduous field research, I can definitively say that you really can’t eat too many canapés.