Things We Learned on Day Six of the French Open


1. Tommy Robredo is not going away quietly. The 31-year-old saved four match points and came back from two sets down to beat Gael Monfils in five sets. It was amazing. I think he was happy (and tired).

I don’t know if I ever remember seeing that much emotion from Tommy, and it’s just generally cool to see a tennis player react like that to winning a match at a slam. It’s the reason we watch.

2. Well, you can’t say Rafa’s latest Roland Garros press conference was boring. Per

“I cannot play third after men’s and girls when our possible opponents plays second after girls,” Nadal said. “That’s not fair. And today I was playing almost three hours on court, and my opponent was watching the TV in the locker room. So if you told me that’s fair, I say that’s not fair. Only thing that I can do is be positive, smile, and try to win my match and try to be ready for tomorrow. But that’s not the right thing. And I hope they accept the mistake, because girls plays best of three. For them is a normal tournament. Even if they play Grand Slam and all the matches of the career and all the tournaments, they play best of three they have to play two days in a row, is not a big deal. For us it’s completely different. That’s the excuse they told me was because [Fognini’s opponent, Lukas] Rosol have to play doubles. I am sorry, but that’s a joke. You have one more week to play doubles if you want to play doubles. Why do you want to protect the player who has to play doubles? So I’m going to write myself on the doubles draw then and I have the priority to play? I don’t want to keep talking, because it seems like I am the bad guy saying that, but that’s the real thing, and everybody here knows that’s not right.”

3. This is hilarious (via @unseededlooming).

4. Andy Murray’s boredom continues.

Juan José

1. The first rounds at slams are the fat that needs to be skimmed. Weeks like these make me wonder if slams really need a draw of 128. It seems to me that the draw of 96 used at Indian Wells and Miami is the perfect fit in order to get good matches right away. For the first time since the French Open started, I’m actually excited for matches that will take place … tomorrow (Paire-Nishikori, Djokovic-Dimitrov, Janowicz-Wawrinka, but also Bartoli-Schiavone and Stosur-Jankovic). It’s taken us six days to get here! I should add this paragraph to what I wrote here.

2. Much was made of the fact that Grigor Dimitrov finally made it past the second round of a slam for the first time in his career after his win yesterday. Well, today Jerzy Janowicz made it into the third round as well after defeating Robin Haase in four sets, but this marked the third time the young Pole has made it this far. In fact, Janowicz has made the third round of three of the past four Majors he’s played. The streak started at Wimbledon last year, when Jerzy came out of qualifying to knock out Ernests Gulbis in the second round. Incidentally, that was the first time Janowicz made it into the main draw of a big one: he had tried earlier that year at Rolly G, and played qualies at all four Majors in 2011.

Janowicz is now 6-3 in Grand Slam play, while Dimitrov is 7-10. Both are 22 years old (Janowicz is half a year older). Janowicz is ranked No. 23, while Dimitrov is at No. 28. The main difference between them? Dimitrov has played 132 ATP matches, while Janowicz is only at 61 matches. I find that discrepancy fascinating.

3. I’m really not a fan of Agniezska Radwanska’s Blonde Phase.

4. I can’t wait until Rafael Nadal becomes the President of the Player’s Council. It’s going to be fun! As Amy noted, Nadal laid into the French Open scheduling, among many other things in his post-match presser today. As someone who continually rants about slam scheduling, I agree with all his points, particularly the part about doubles. Still, I appreciate whenever players let The Man know that mistakes won’t go unnoticed. In the end, noting when these things happen inevitably improve the event, and that’s a desirable outcome, no?

5. Kerber and Lepchenko are fun to watch … but I already knew that. I was not thrilled about missing the deciding set of the battle of the lefties, but what I saw was quite enjoyable. Too bad only one of them could advance.

6. Speaking of Kerber, her Round of 16 match against former Rolly G champ Svetlana Kuznetsova will be quite a bit of fun. Sveta has been flying under the radar so far, but since she hasn’t crashed out yet, one has to wonder if we’re in store for one of her crazy, unpredictable runs of excellence. Should Kuznetsova get past Kerber, Serena looms. And that’s when we’ll know if we’re in for a Sveta Experience or not.


1. So here’s something I meant to mention yesterday, but completely forgot (I am going to blame bus-brain, a very serious medical condition). Yesterday Rendy Lu, to use his prefered American nickname because I am painfully American, withdrew before his second round match with Philipp Kohlschreiber due to an ankle injury. Lu only made it to the second round because his opponent in the first round, Simone Bolelli, retired during their match due to an injury. According to sources, Bolelli had his injury before the match, while Lu was injured during their match–but he probably would have retired if Bolelli hadn’t.

(Sidenote: The win via retirement in the first round was Lu’s first EVER victory at Roland Garros.)

Kohlschrieber’s opponent in the third round will be Victor Hanescu, who is through to the third round via two retirements–Tomic in the first round, Tursunov in the second round. Overall that one tiny section of the draw has had three retirements and one walkover. Out of six matches to reach the third round, only two have been completed!

I just found that bizarre. We harp on injuries during the hard court slams and constantly blame the surface, but clay is no cakewalk either. Tennis is a physical game, and there’s a lot of financial incentive to show up even when you’re not at your best.

2. I could not be more thrilled for John Isner, who got a humongous monkey off his back today as he finally won a tight five-setter at a slam. Including Davis Cup, he’d lost six straight five-setters since the Australian Open last year, which is absolutely demoralizing for anyone.

He stayed calm when Ryan Harrison torpedoed through the first two sets (I was very impressed with Harrison today, it must be said) and found a way to get aggressive on big points late in the match, something he has failed to do a lot in the last year.

I’m excited for his match against Tommy Haas in the third round, but mostly I’m just excited that he made it to the third round. Baby steps. Giant, giant baby steps.

3. Tommy Robredo deserves a statue in his honor after his win today over Monfils.
To come back from two sets down against Monfils on clay in front of the French crowd at his age and after all the injuries and time off that he’s had is just absolutely, positively unreal. It was great to see the emotion pour out of him after he won too.

Unfortunately I will confess that I didn’t get to watch much of it because I was at a bridal luncheon drinking sweet tea and eating tiny french toast in a bowl and talking about china patterns and makeup. Seriously. But I did get home in time for match point, and my heart did swell.

For Robredo to be the guy to come out of the section with Monfils, Berdych, and Gulbis is just perfect–he’s a guy who has made the most of his talents and his career, and keeps working hard even at the ripe old age of 31. The other three guys in his section could learn a thing or two from the veteran.

Also, this is a pretty amazing stat:

11 Responses

  1. Max
    Max May 31, 2013 at 12:00 pm |

    Nadal’s entire career is based on things working in his favor yet he still whines about every single details that somehow doesn’t go his way.

    Bad scheduling happens to every player (well, maybe except Federer).
    Madrid was custom made for him this year because he whined so much in 2012.

    Suck it up, Rafa.

    1. Tennisfan
      Tennisfan May 31, 2013 at 7:26 pm |

      Yeah I gotta agree.

      I see why Gulbis calls Nadal at least boring. The complaining will never stop. The thing is that it wasn’t even Nadal it was a tonne of other players but no he had to go to media once again. It will never end with him.

    2. rafaisthebest
      rafaisthebest May 31, 2013 at 11:43 pm |

      Oh he will suck it up alright, all the way to his forehand! Then somebody gotta pay…….Have a feeling his usual punching-bag will not have to bear the brunt though, Ferru will see to that in the semis. Whine away, Rafa!


  2. Ophelia
    Ophelia May 31, 2013 at 12:03 pm |

    I learned that Monfils will always be a terminally maddening player no matter how well he’s actually playing, but that it’s impossible for me to get *too* mad when his opponent expresses such genuine joy in winning over him. Also that Tsonga and Ferrer have been flying very, very far under the radar, but they both have a legitimate shot at a semifinal berth with the way they’ve been playing so far.

  3. harmeen
    harmeen May 31, 2013 at 3:38 pm |

    Heres a stat that shows that, even by Monfils standards, what happened in this tournament is just insane.

    For his entire career, before this tournament, Monfils had only two matches go to 5 sets after he won the first two sets (there were 34 matches where he led 2-0. So it only happened 5.88% of the time).

    Just in this tournament, in 3 rounds, he had two matches go to 5 sets after he had won the first two sets. There were only two matches where he won the first two sets (meaning, it happened 100% of the time).


  4. RZ
    RZ May 31, 2013 at 4:11 pm |

    Amy, what did you think of Rafa’s reference to the women players as “girls”? He’s not the only player to do it, and many of the women players use “girls” too (Kim Clijsters would always refer to her colleagues as “girls”), but I have to cringe when I read the phrase “I cannot play third after men’s and girls when our possible opponents plays second after girls.” Sounds so demeaning to the women players (though I’m sure he didn’t mean it that way).

    1. Amy
      Amy May 31, 2013 at 4:15 pm |

      I’m inclined to give Rafa the benefit of the doubt. He likely has no idea that there’s any bad connotation in using the word girls vs. women in English. Definitely don’t think he meant it to be demeaning whatsoever.

  5. Tennisfan
    Tennisfan May 31, 2013 at 7:25 pm |

    Haha, so “Rolly G” is a thing now eh? Murray still making an impact even though he’s not even physically there. He’ll be devastated over La Monf then, wonder who is going to cheer and search youtube videos of next.

  6. Joseph
    Joseph May 31, 2013 at 8:15 pm |

    Rafa is the whiniest player ever. It’s pretty pathetic, especially considering how the majority of the time the draws have been in his favour. Every little thing that doesn’t fit perfectly with his needs, he complains. The worst part is that he pretends he is doing it for the good of the tour.

    What really annoys me is that his fans will blindly defend him, and all the tennis commentators and journalists will give him a pass, the same way they have in the past with many questionable MTO’s or excuses (Rosol and Soderling spring to mind). But then when the women say anything, they are destroyed by the media. Look at Azarenka or Sloane.

    1. rafaisthebest
      rafaisthebest May 31, 2013 at 11:46 pm |

      While his fans blindly defend him, you blindly criticise him. Seems like a fair trade to me, no? I mean, did you even LISTEN to what he had to say?

  7. Foot Soldiers of Tennis
    Foot Soldiers of Tennis June 1, 2013 at 2:53 pm |

    Don’t lose the 128 draw, it’s an important thing that makes the Slams different from every other event.

    It is right that every player should have to win 7 matches for their part in tennis history.

    Just revert to 16 seeds instead for better early contests.

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