On a day that witnessed few upsets but lots of drama and emotion, Andy Murray had his favourite argument with the umpire about the Spidercam, Eugenie Bouchard showed up late to her match, and Juan Martin del Potro melted hearts worldwide.
Murray had a tough time on court against an inspired Martin Klizan before he advanced in four tight sets. During the match, the world No1 threatened the umpire he would sit down if the Spidercam kept turning up in his line of vision while he was serving.
This is not a new pet peeve of Murray’s. He hates that thing. He elaborated once again in press.
“I don’t like it when the Spidercam is – I don’t know how many times I have spoken about it in here. You guys know, I don’t like it when it’s in my ball toss. And it was there at the beginning of the match. It was the same thing yesterday in the first round. It happened three or four times in the first round where it was there. I asked for it to be moved. They moved it. Then it comes back,” said Murray.
“I just don’t like it there. It puts me off, and I asked a few times today, and it kept coming back. I just said, If it’s there in my ball toss again, I’m going to sit down and wait for it to move, you know, because I just don’t feel I should have to be asking for it every change of ends to not be there. It’s quite a simple thing to change.”
We apologise on the French Open’s behalf, Sir Andy!
Meanwhile, Bouchard turned up several minutes late for her second round against Anastasija Sevastova on Court 2. Players usually step on court together so it was a bit unusual when she didn’t show up on time.
She explained later what happened.
“Well, there was a retirement before (Almagro retired on the same court against Del Potro). So, I mean, I had to do my whole routine. I had to get my ankle taped. I can’t just do everything in 10 minutes,” said the Canadian.
Asked how her opponent got there before her she said: “She ran ahead of me, I don’t know.”
In a heartbreaking moment in the Nick Kyrgios press conference, a reporter asked him if he could talk about his late grandfather who passed away five weeks ago. Kyrgios was very close to his grandfather and told us it’s been difficult to find motivation for tennis since his death.
In attempt to respond to the reporter’s question, Kyrgios said without looking us in the eye: “I mean, it was — yeah, when I was back home, it was tough. I mean, I can’t talk about it. I can’t.”
We were all smart enough to let him go after that.
Here’s a look at how day 5 went down at Roland Garros…
There were plenty of impressive points today, but I prefer to highlight these two atrocities from Tatjana Maria and Martin Klizan instead.
Maria did this:
While Klizan did this to get broken while serving for the fourth set:
Can't tell which one was worse, this from Klizan or Tatjana Maria's pic.twitter.com/Y6zn9jcEPw— Reem Abulleil (@ReemAbulleil) June 2, 2017
19 — weeks since Agnieszka Radwanska had won back-to-back matches prior to Thursday
30 — men aged 30 or over reached the second round in Paris, an Open era record at a Grand Slam
67 — unforced errors committed by Martin Klizan in his four set second round defeat to Andy Murray
78 — minutes, the length of the fourth set between Murray and Klizan – longest set of the day
“I wish. It’s not that easy, especially comparing me to Federer, let’s come back to reality.”
– Agnieszka Radwanska when asked if she would ‘pull a Federer’ and skip the clay season altogether in the future
“Get me a beer now. Get me one right now. Honest to God.”
– Nick Kyrgios, on court, after dropping serve in game three of the fourth set in his loss to Kevin Anderson. Because, why not?
“No. I could be close, between you and me.”
— John Isner when told his next opponent Karen Khachanov is married at the age of 20 while the American was not. Not sure how Isner thought his answer would be “between him and the reporter”.
Karen Khachanov bt. Tomas Berdych  7-5, 6-3, 6-1
Playing his first Roland Garros main draw, and just his third Grand Slam overall, Khachanov upset 2010 semi-finalist Berdych in a two-hour 13-minute affair.
Anna Chakvetadze and her fellow Eurosport presenters/commentators went around asking Roland Garros fans to pronounce difficult Russian surnames. Which is a hilarious idea. It all went well until Chakvetadze decided to say ‘arigato’ (thank you in Japanese) to a woman from Taiwan. It’s beyond me why they didn’t edit it out.
Selima Sfar, the only Arab woman to ever rank in the top 100, believes her Tunisian compatriot Ons Jabeur is the perfect person to pass on the baton to after the 22-year-old made history by reaching the third round at Roland Garros.
Jabeur became the first-ever Arab woman to reach the last-32 at a Grand Slam when she upset No6 seed Dominika Cibulkova at the French Open on Wednesday and Sfar, who is now retired and works as a commentator for beIN Sports, could not be happier for her countrywoman and friend.
“I am extremely proud, I’m extremely happy for her but proud and happy not only for her but all the Arab women, Tunisians, Arabs and Muslim women. This is an amazing message. It’s been a long time that I’ve been waiting maybe to pass (the baton) to someone and Ons came – not only I found somebody to pass it, but to somebody great, somebody with so much talent,” Sfar told Sport360 in the video message above.
“What happened, during such a symbolic tournament, on such a big court, it can’t be better, so congratulations to her.”
Jabeur, who made it into the French Open main draw as a lucky loser, faces Swiss No30 seed Timea Bacsinszky in the third round on Friday (fourth match on Court 1 from an 11:00am start), looking to keep her fairy-tale going.
Her coach, Mislav Hizak, whom she teamed up with at the end of last season, has been pleased with her progress so far this year and can only see her moving onwards and upwards.
“I believe she is an amazing player and it was amazing to see her at this level, to compete and to win,” Hizak told Sport360 of her win over Cibulkova – the first top-10 win of her career.
“I feel like she deserved it throughout all the hard work that we’ve put into it, just day-in, day-out, the things that we’ve been doing.
“This for sure is the best moment of her career and I’m happy for that, the things that she’s improving. She’s a young player, she has many more years of good career, and I know she will only be better.”
The Croatian coach has seen notable differences since they’ve started working together, particularly with her discipline and work ethic.
“She’s a good character, an open person, a very communicative person, no doubt about it, a very big character,” he says.
“I think she picked up her professionalism to a higher level, her discipline, all her attitude, I think it’s grown in her. She understands what needs to be done, she’s making some choices for herself, and some sacrifices, and some right choices. She’s also letting go and communicating with me and trusting me as well. She knows it’s a path, it’s a process and she’s making these things for herself.”
Jabeur’s friend, Daria Kasatkina, the No26 seed in Paris, also vouched for the hard work the Tunisian has been putting in. They spent their preseason together in Slovakia with Empire Tennis Academy and even did some altitude training in the mountains to prepare for 2017.
“That was a good one, I was watching yesterday on my phone, she was playing very well I think,” said Kasatkina of Jabeur’s triumph over Cibulkova. “I’m really happy for her because she deserves it. I know how hard she works, we worked together in my academy, so what she has, she deserved. And I hope she can go further and further.”
Jabeur impressed with her serve in her second round against Cibulkova, as she dropped just two points on her first serve, and saved one of the two break points she faced.
“That’s a weapon. She has a very good motion on the serve, I think it’s a big weapon for her and her game that we based and we did a lot of work on that in the times that we had for training,” said Hizak. “We emphasised a lot of her things on the serve as well as on the return – I think we improved that aspect a lot and we’ll still keep on improving it to be really solid as a base of her game. When you have good motion and a good technical movement, you’ve got to use it on this level, it’s a big advantage.”
Jabeur has had trouble with her fitness in the past but Hizak believes those days are now behind her as she has made significant progress in that area.
“It’s better. I cannot say it’s the best, of course it can be better and I think she knows that too but since she already improved, she’s not really worried about it because she knows she’s on the right track and I think it will just become even better,” he explained.
Nick Kyrgios is still suffering from loss of motivation since his grandfather’s passing in April and admits he must hit the practice courts if he plans on getting back on track for the grass season.
The 18th-seeded Australian was knocked out of the French Open second round on Thursday by Kevin Anderson 5-7, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 after leading by a set and break earlier in the contest. It is his second consecutive round two exit at a Grand Slam this season.
“I thought he played pretty well. He was really aggressive off returns. I mean, it’s the type of match where I’m not going to get much rhythm. I was good for a set and a half,” said Kyrgios after the match.
“But I haven’t really put together any good training in the last couple weeks. Obviously, just trying to manage some niggles.
“And, obviously, I haven’t really structured any good training in the last five weeks. So I don’t think I was match-ready to play best of five sets, but he played well today. So he was too good.”
Kyrgios dealt with a hip problem in the build-up to Roland Garros and he also felt a pop in his shoulder during Thursday’s match.
But besides his physical issues, the 22-year-old concedes that he hasn’t been in the right headspace to train hard since the death of his grandfather five weeks ago.
Kyrgios, who had been coach-less for the past three years, started working with Sebastien Grosjean, who has been with him in Paris this week. Having been alone for so long, has he been able to make use of the Frenchman, especially after a loss like this one, or is it tricky for Kyrgios to let someone in so early in their partnership?
“He was just chatting to me in the locker room. But, I mean, he hasn’t really been working with me that much. It’s not to the point where, you know, we’re doing every training session together and he knows me great,” explained Kyrgios.
“Obviously, he just says the right things after that kind of loss. He knows that things have been difficult for me. But he knows firsthand that I haven’t put in enough work to have gone deep here. The whole team knows it.
“You know, and the surprising thing is, I was in a winning position today and I still could have won. It doesn’t even matter how underdone I was. I still could have won. He knows – we both know that I’ve just got to practice. You know, during Indian Wells and Miami time, I was practicing a lot.
“Yeah, I mean, after my grandpa passing, I just lost a lot of motivation to do anything, really.”
During his match against Anderson, Kyrgios hit 16 winners but lost his serve six times. He was unable to convert any of the six break point opportunities he had in the fourth set and he let his frustration get to him at some point, going on a racquet-smashing frenzy while sitting at his bench.
A young fan sat behind him looked to be particularly amused by it.
“I don’t know if that’s the best role model you want,” admitted Kyrgios. “But, I mean, I’m not trying to show anybody really my frustration. I just do it for myself. I’ve been doing it my whole career, really. I think, yeah, it’s just a habit now.”
Kyrgios is still in action in doubles, alongside his compatriot Jordan Thompson, and will hold off making plans for the grass season until he finishes his campaign in Paris.
“Tomorrow I’m not playing for myself. I’m playing for Thomo as well. And he’s the type of guy that will try his best for every single match. So tomorrow I know that I’m going to have to just put my singles out of the way and get back out there and compete. And I think that’s a positive, just getting straight back out there and trying to get better, I guess,” added Kyrgios.
He feels there’s enough time for him though to get ready for Wimbledon which is just over four weeks away.