Things We Learned on Day Nine of the French Open


1. This is my favorite thing ever. Tommy Haas talked today about his hilarious 2007 meltdown, and about how Roger Federer knows the entire video and they joke around about it. Here’s the original rant:

And here’s the quote from Tommy:

His fourth-round opponent, Mikhail Youzhny, took out his frustration on his racquet on Monday at Roland Garros, and the incident prompted Haas to recall some of his more famous on-court meltdowns. The 35 year old was reminded by the press of a minute’s worth of chuntering during a sit down against Nikolay Davydenko at the 2007 Australian Open, which has proved a YouTube sensation among his fans.

“It is a funny video,” conceded Haas. “I have seen it a few times because people or fans of mine, they enjoy that video, as well. It’s funny, because Roger [Federer] and I actually joke about the video quite a bit, and we know it pretty much by heart now. It’s one of those moments where you just kind of let go. But it was positive. Look at the next point. That backhand down the line was pretty good.”

2. Sloane Stephens compared herself to Miley Cyrus. Oooooookay.

“I don’t live in the real world, so I don’t know,” she gushed. “But hopefully it never stops. I mean, there are no other 20 years olds like me. Might be a few, like Miley Cyrus or something, but other than that I’m pretty much riding solo on this train.”

3. Federer answered Twitter concerns about his ankle. Apparently, all is well.

4. Federer wants to invite Rafael Nadal to the Swiss mountains and “take care of him.” Oh the fanfic this will inspire.

5. Richard Gasquet firing up the French crowd during his match against Stan Wawrinka was amazing and glorious, and I am currently GIFing it, and will update this with a link when they’re done.

Juan José:

1. Victoria Azarenka is playing extremely well on the red clay of Paris. Francesca Schiavone, a former champ who had been showing glimpses of past excellence, seemed like a tough challenge for the World No. 3. And after the first six games of the opening set, most people would have thought we were in for a tight battle . However, that’s when Azarenka took it up a notch and simply rolled through Schiavone’s defenses. It was a thorough demolition from that point on.

Victoria will now face off against Maria Kirilenko, whom she’s handily beaten in the last three matches they’ve played. Down the road, Azarenka could find Maria Sharapova, whom she’s tormented in the recent past (albeit not on clay), and of course, Serena Williams. I’m quite intrigued to see just how far the two-time Australian Open champ can go here. Her ceiling looked quite high today.

2. Tommy Haas is in impeccable physical condition. Two days removed from a 10-8 finish in a fifth set against John Isner, Tommy Haas destroyed Mikhail Youzhny (who had beaten Haas in Rome just weeks ago), and advanced to a quarterfinal date with Novak Djokovic. In fact, given how poorly Youzhny played, you would’ve thought that it was the Russian who was struggling to recover from a tough match in the previous round (when in fact Youzhny beat Tipsarevic in straight sets). Back to Haas: he’ll get another crack at the World No. 1, whom he demolished in Miami earlier in the year. It’ll be interesting to see if Haas can back that win up, or if Novak Djokovic exacts some revenge.

3. I shouldn’t liveblog an entire day of action ever again … if the matches start at 4:00 a.m. I couldn’t resist falling asleep after the first matches were through (I blame Youzhny for this), and later I had to wade through the nonsense of the TV/online coverage (more on that later). Finally, my cable and internet went out for around four hours. Lesson learned, Tennis Gods.

4. Jerzy Janowicz might be on his way to a Grand Slam semifinal in doubles, or even a final. The Polish team of Janowicz-Bednarek defeated the Spanish team of Gimeno-Traver/Bautista Agut today in straight sets to book their ticket to the quarterfinals. There they will meet a team from the Rio de la Plata, composed of Nadal-slayer Horacio Zeballos and Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas (who, it should be said, won the 2008 doubles title at Rolly G with Luis Horna). Should the Poles overcome the South Americans, they could meet either the French team of Llodra and Mahut, or the Spanish “M&Ms” duo of Granollers and López. That would be a huge challenge for the Poles, but one that I hope I’m allowed to watch by NBC, ESPN, or the Tennis Channel. Of course, I just hope I get to watch some of tomorrow’s quarterfinal match first!

5. Roland Garros might like Rafael Nadal more than we think it does. After the birthday boy finished off Kei Nishikori in straight sets today, the French crowd sang their happy birthdays not once, but twice, to an ever-smiling Nadal. Not only that, but the Spaniard was presented with this monstrosity of a cake (more pics can be found in the liveblog):


It was all rather surreal, but quite amusing.

6. NBC was absent from today’s coverage, but their spirit lingered. Something truly strange happened today: ESPN was streaming all the courts, but once their coverage window ended, all streams were shut off except the one for Philippe Chatrier. The Tennis Channel picked up the slack, so I assumed they would have their usual array of streams available. No dice: all their streams were down, too. So you had this bizarre scenario in which you could watch Gasquet-Wawrinka on TV on the Tennis Channel, or Sharapova-Stephens online via ESPN3. I was hoping Court 2 had a stream so I could catch Janowicz’ doubles match, but that was an impossibility, it seems.

But then, things got ugly: The Tennis Channel stuck with the fourth set of Wawrinka-Gasquet, which was hugely rewarded by glorious tennis from both gentlemen. And as Stan forced a fifth set, I feared the worst: they would surely switch to Chatrier to show some of Sharapova’s match. Which they did, and it wasn’t a bad move at all: Sharapova was set to serve out the first set. Which she did, at love. The Tennis Channel went to a commercial, and since Richard Gasquet took a medical timeout, I thought the Tennis Channel would once again switch to Lenglen to show us the fifth set between the Swiss and the Frenchman.

That didn’t happen. The Tennis Channel somehow went back to Chatrier, showed two games of Sharapova-Stephens, and by the time Sharapova went up a break, five games had been completed over at Lenglen.

Here’s my main point: if people want to show Sharapova because she drives the ratings, fine. But it’s 2013, so at least have the decency to offer streams so that people who want to stick with the five-setter can do so. Plus, you could collect some nice ad revenue from the streams, right?

I have no idea why the Tennis Channel and ESPN killed off their streams today. NBC wasn’t involved, so it couldn’t have been their fault. Both channels have platforms set up to make streaming happen, and yet they chose not to do it. This shouldn’t be this difficult, and I’m getting very tired of writing a rant every day about how the tennis coverage keeps being shambolic. Get it together, people.


1. American girls went 0-3 today, but it was still pretty incredible that there were three of them playing this late in the draw! Of the three I have to say that I was most impressed with Sloane Stephens.

Sloane competed with Sharapova today, even though she didn’t have enough firepower to make Sharapova sweat. Still, she showcased great variety and focus in tough conditions, and the match really only came down to a few points. Overall it was nothing but a positive tournament for Sloane, who certainly needed some positivity desperately.

(But OMG the Miley Cyrus quote was insane.)

2. Goodbye, parity. Thanks for the memories.

3. As a Radwanska fan, I’m pretty obsessed with this quote from Errani. Also, I really think that their match is going to be a lot of fun. Crafty, thinking tennis from two of the players on tour who do it best. Radwanska is probably the healthier player, but Errani is way better on clay, so the balance should be fun.

4. After so many heartbreaks this year, it was so much fun to see Stan Wawrinka come out on the right side of an epic match. However, I really hated that it was against Richard Gasquet. Gasquet has had his share of heartbreaks over the years, and I have often questioned his heart and desire, but he really showed a lot of both today. He just didn’t quite have the stamina to keep up with a painkiller-powered Wawrinka.

The second half of that fourth set was some of the best and most dramatic tennis I’ve ever seen. Rarely do players produce so many clean winners in such tense conditions. Both players have had their mental strength questioned before, but in that set they both showed what they are capable of, and it was just a joy to watch.

Tennis is awesome.

5. I was very excited for both matches this morning–Haas vs. Youzhny and Azarenka vs. Schiavone. That was very stupid of me.

6. I missed this over the weekend as I was wedding it up, but apparently Tipsarevic asked a fan, “Are you f—ing stupid?” during his loss to Youzhny in the third round.

That’s not good.

His apology, via Beyond the Baseline, left a lot to be desired:

“I just snapped, because you could really see they didn’t really care what the score was or even who was playing,” Tipsarevic told reporters. ”They just wanted to look nice and be at the French Open. They had no respect to the players in terms of being quiet or whatever.

“So at one point I was getting ready to serve at, I think, 30-15 and one of the guys just started screaming, calling somebody to the stands.”

The match was played on Court 7, a more intimate venue compared to the vast expanse on Court Philippe Chatrier or Court Suzanne Lenglen. The fans were reportedly ejected.

“There is no excuse for my behavior,” Tipsarevic said. “I think basically the problem was that I used the F word and that was not pretty. But, on the other hand, I just snapped. It happens to everyone.”

7. Kirilenko made it to her first French Open quarterfinal, and is likely in the Top 10 now. That’s pretty awesome. Apparently her on-court post-match interview was quite epic.

8. There was a huge fail by the Tennis Channel Facebook page earlier today. It has been deleted, but I screencapped.


3 Responses

  1. Ana
    Ana June 3, 2013 at 11:32 pm |

    I’m trying really hard to like Sloane Stephens but it just isn’t working 🙁

  2. RZ
    RZ June 4, 2013 at 1:52 am |

    This website is useful for when ESPN3/TC/NBC streams fail:
    (Actually, I use this stream even when the other streams work. I usually watch a European feed so I don’t have to listen to nonsensical chatter over every point)

  3. Dae
    Dae June 4, 2013 at 8:03 pm |

    Seeing what you’re saying about NBC, i’ve got to congratulate France Television for their rather smart covering of the multiple matchs ongoing at Roland Garros. Also, there is a stream for every court on their website ( so you can pick your favorite, and all matchs are available on replay afterwards. But sadly I doubt it’s available to people outside of France.

    About Nadal’s birthday, French TV interviewers also offered him some olive cake during the post-match interview.

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