May 28, 2015

Vamos Rafa!

It is first and foremost a social event, I dare say, more than "just" a sports tournament. By mid-May Paris starts buzzing with the Roland Garros fever. Traffic becomes more intense and the topic of the day is the gossip around the celebrity players.

Lucky me, my Flamenco friend invited me to watch "Il toro español" try to reclaim his glory of the past decade. Upon our arrival at the grounds, we headed straight to the players lounge, to have lunch at the bar side-by-side with old-time players such as Cedric Pioline and Guy Forget. Oh, did I forget to tell you, I was officially an invitée of M. Nadal himself! We cruised around and next to Nadal's ever present family, I also spotted my compatriot Stanislav Wawrinka which made me smile. He must be as Swiss as I am with a name like that, right?

We had the honour of watching the match from the players' tribune right behind Nadal's trainer and uncle. Rafa played against a charming 18-year old French who's game was refreshing to follow. Quentin Halys really gave Nadal a run for his money!

The atmosphere on the court was tense but the audience was here to have a good time. Cheering and clapping for both parties who were a pleasure to watch.

And although Rafa is much loved by the Parisians, the young challenger gained more support every time he popped up with a new creative answer to Rafa's bomb services of 190 km/hour.

Sitting in the Spanish player's box, I had to keep my enthusiasm in check but not the rest of the audience who by the third set were making a lot of noise for Quentin. However, as we went into the end of the set and the audience were just getting warmed up, it was clear that experience trumps over youth... and when Rafa's mum got up before the end of the match, we all knew where he was heading towards... victory! Vamos Rafa!!!

My magic braclet

Waiting for the star to arrive

Focus is everything

A 190 km/h serve

Uncle Tony looking on

Roland Garros: it's always a pleasure

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