The first couple of days at Roland Garros have been your typical slam-openers. Court invaders, gossip outbreaks, underhand serves on a stadium court, scary piegons… you know, the usual.
After Roger Federer complained about security when he had to fend for himself against a fan who approached him on centre court for a ‘selfie’, a few of the players weighed in on the situation but naturally, Ernests Gulbis’ views were the most enlightening.
Asked if those kind of incidents worried him, the charismatic Latvian said with a laugh: “No, I’m gonna react. Maybe if somebody is big I’m going to run. Maybe if somebody smaller I might stay.”
Elsewhere, Russian veteran Mikhail Youzhny revived his head-banging days when he lost it early in the first set while facing Bosnian Damir Dzumhur.
Youzhny got broken in the fifth game and slammed his racquet against his forehand repeatedly – a scene reminiscent of his fit against Nicolas Almagro in Miami in 2008. He didn’t bleed this time but still, how is hitting yourself in the head a good idea mid-match? He retired in the second but contrary to what we might think, it wasn’t due to concussion.
“I saw it once before, he did it a few years ago, I couldn’t believe it. But then when I saw it today on the court, I was just ‘wow’,” said Dzumhur of Youzhny’s bizarre behaviour.
Elsewhere, Frenchwoman Virginie Razzano also rolled back the years, reminding us of Martina Hingis’ infamous final against Steffi Graf in 1999, by serving underhand, not once but twice.
— racket swing (@racket_swing) May 25, 2015
Razzano even did it on a match point, double-faulting as a result, but still ended up winning her first round, on Suzanne Lenglen stadium nonetheless.
The last match of the day on Suzanne Lenglen saw Sloane Stephens get a scare, not from her opponent Venus Williams, but from none other than a piegon. The American’s reaction was priceless.
When pigeons be so disrespectful pic.twitter.com/uPC6moDnQG
— WTA Reactions (@WTAreactions) May 25, 2015
“It was a very dramatic moment, I would say,” said Stephens. “I thought the bird – first of all, I didn’t know what it was.
“I thought it was way closer to me than it actually was. So that was another, why I screamed so loud. And I don’t know, in the moment, you know, things just happen and it was just scary and I was like, ahhh and a scream came out. And then she probably wasn’t happy because she probably would have hit an ace and it was just a weird moment.
“I’m afraid of anything that comes swooping down from I don’t know where.”
Like I said, a typical first two days at the French.
Since we’re in Paris, fashion is definitely a hot topic and while Andy Murray’s Under Armour kit is disappointingly a range of black and dark grey shirts and shorts, someone like Victoria Azarenka made things quite interesting with her choice of pants on Kids’ Day.
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The Belarusian ex-world No1’s pants had one leg in aqua and the other in orange tie-dye. Definitely a bold decision on her part. Puts Dustin Brown’s shoe antics to shame.
Roger Federer was equally daring in his kit as he showed up for his first match yesterday wearing a purple shirt and bright fuchsia shorts.
“I like the outfit. I think I went through a bright spell the first few months of the season. Obviously it's going to change when Wimbledon comes around because rules have become ridiculously strict over there. I love Wimbledon, but they have gone too far now,” said Federer, referring to Wimbledon’s ever-increasingly strict all-white policy.
“That's why let's enjoy the colour while we can. And then we will see what comes after that. Clearly you always want to make a statement in a nice city like here. I think people enjoy it. I think it's powerful. We will see how many times I can wear it. I hope seven matches, so we will see about that.”
Murray, who signed with Under Armour at the start of this season after his contract ended with Adidas was asked whether wearing such dark colours can affect him, especially that there are no night matches at Roland Garros and it has been particularly hot when the sun was shining here over the past few days.
“I have a white option as well if it is very hot. But also the material is like mesh material, so it's extremely light and is very airy. So I'm hoping that the black doesn't get too hot. I have practiced in it, and, you know, it's pretty cool material that they use. But I do also have a white option just in case it gets too hot,” the world No3 explained.
The French Connection
This year is Murray’s first Roland Garros with French coach Amélie Mauresmo in his corner and the Scot admits having a “local” guiding him in Paris has had its perks.
“Aside from the tennis, she's helped with a few good restaurant choices near the hotel, which has been good,” joked Murray.
“But, yeah, for me, that's one of the benefits of working with a player that's just played in the slams and done well in the slams is that they are also aware of the pressures and stuff that come with, you know, trying to win an event like this. Amélie obviously put a lot of pressure on herself there which probably wasn't beneficial for her performances, and can obviously give me advice and input based on her experiences of playing in these tournaments.”
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