The French Open: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Good 

How close you are to the action

In the first match we went to, we saw an unranked American, Donald Young, defeat the 26th seed Feliciano Lopez from Spain. We were 8 rows from the action. We could hear Lopez complain not only to his coach, but also to himself. Tennis is a great sport, that is, when you're not losing. Then it can turn into an ugly, self deriding, bitch fest. And we could hear every Spanish profanity that Lopez spat out. Don't worry, Steph was gracious enough to translate most of them. It was a learning experience, even for her. 

The Chair Umpire still matters

The last match we saw on the first day was between Verdasco and Cuevas. It was a tight match that went five sets with Verdasco finally pulling it off in the end. During the match, there were a number of a contentious calls. The French Open is the only Major where the chair umpire makes the call if a ball is in or out without the aid of a high speed camera. Chalk one up for the humans! Or for clay, because it allows you to see the mark of the ball. Either way. 

Hugs without arms (otherwise known as chest bumps or man hugs)

On the second day, we arrived at Roland Garros shortly after 11am. On this day, we saw a multitude of doubles games. One of the more interesting things to watch was the interaction between teammates. Almost always, they were positive to each other, even when the other screwed up royally. 

How loud the lines people scream

Suddenly you hear a booming voice. It's not amplified by any external source, yet it echoes around the stadium. It's the call from the line judge that the ball is out. I was never actually sure if they were saying "NO", "FAULT" or "OUT". It's loud, sharp and not understandable. 

Epic Matches

The French Open is the only Major that doesn't have a tie breaker in the 5th set. In theory, matches can go on in perpetuity. Obviously that will never happen, but Murray and the very German named Kohlschreiber took a good swing at it on our third day. They played until 9:30 at night before the match was suspended due to low visibility and had to be taken up the next day. Twenty two games were played in the fifth set before Murray finally bettered the German. 

Andy Murray's jazz hand

Because, who doesn't love jazz hands? Every time he would hit a forehand, his left hand - fingers spread wide - would hover to the side of his head. I have about 10 pictures of him doing this. 

The Wave

Did I mention that you get really tired watching the matches? Not yet? Well you do. The wave at least gets you out of your seat and makes falling asleep a bit more difficult. Even so, I was still able to manage it on at least two occasions. 

The Ball Boys (and girls)

It's quite an honor to work as a ball boy during the French Open, and these kids work hard at it. Outside many courts I saw them practicing their underhand throws, skidding the balls effortlessly on the ground so that they don't bounce. Kudos to the kids in the background that make this event run quickly. 

Unbridled, unapologetic French patriotism

If the French aren't as patriotic as American's, they certainly make it a close race. This fan stood up to show his allegiance during a match. He wasn't cheering for either of the players, as it was a game between a German and a Scotsman. No, in what I am sure was a nod to Kramer from Seinfeld, he was cheering for the Chair Umpire, who was from France. 

Tennis Clothing

It's great. That's all I have to say. 

The Bad

Parking in Paris

We thought, oh how lucky we are to find a spot in Paris only 100 meters from our hotel. When it seems to good to be true, it usually is. It was a loading spot for a supermarket. 156 Euros later, we got her car back from the impound lot. 

Falling Asleep

It's really exhausting sitting down all day. Really. 

The 4th Set of Monfils vs. Fognini

A great match overall, but the fourth set was so boring, that I wish I would have fallen asleep. Luckily it didn't last very long. In the third set, many games were 10 minutes a piece. The entire 4th set lasted only 24 minutes. That's because Monfils decided that he didn't want to play this set. He basically let Fognini win any point that would require a modicum of effort on his part. He went on to win the match, but it's a set that his fans would like to forget. 

This guy for being totally indifferent to what's going

Some people are just too cool for school.  

The Ugly

Tennis face 

I don't know what it is, but something happens when you hit a tennis ball. You transform into a hideous beast that is unfit for the light of this world. These are some of my favorites from throughout the tournament.  

This sandwich

Take it all in. All might be an overstatement. Just look at that puny thing. One measly piece of turkey, a rotting piece of lettuce that McDonalds would be ashamed of and three pineapple triangles stolen from your grandmother's fruit cocktail while no one was looking. It's pathetic and even worse, it cost 26 dollars for the meal. I felt violated when I received them. Someone stuck this joke of a wedding appetizer inside of a box and labeled it a meal. For shame French Open!

p.s. it tasted like it had been left out in the sun for two days. I ate two bites and, from my calculations, threw 18 dollars into the trash. 

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