French Open fun May 27: Nadal, De Minaur, Williams, Delbonis, more

What happened beside matches on the second day of Roland Garros' main draw?

by Alice Cimino
French Open fun May 27: Nadal, De Minaur, Williams, Delbonis, more

Leaving the second day of the Roland Garros main draw behind would be unfair without revisiting some of its best off-score moments. Funny facts, curious throwbacks, surprising appearances, here is a recollection of the best May 27th moments at the 2019 French Open.

1- De Minaur ready to hire a new, very young coach: Australia’s Alex De Minaur was about to leave the court after his 6-1 6-4 6-4 victory over Bradley Klahn, when he remembered that some youngsters in the crowd had encouraged him animatedly.

He came back, signed a few autographs, and asked one of the children in a very clear French, “How are you? Do you want to be my new coach?”

The Australian will face Pablo Carreno Busta for a pass to the round of 32. The Spaniard defeated Joao Sousa in his first match. Their current head to head score is 0-0.

2- Similar hit, different outcome: It looks like Rafael Nadal should be more careful with his head during Grand Slams. Playing in a new stadium means there are new features around, but the Spaniard didn’t pay much attention to them.

In consequence, he gifted himself a bump on the skull with one of the cameras. Maybe it’s for this reason that Rafa was a bit cooler than others on his praise to the remodelled Court Philippe-Chatrier. While Nadal had lost the Wimbledon match which followed his famous head-bang in 2017, he triumphed 6-2 6-1 6-3 over Yannick Hanfmann this time.

Nadal's next opponent is German Yannick Maden who defeated Kimmer Coppejans 7-6(0) 7-5 6-3.

3- Delbonis bringing 2010 back: Many would cringe at the thought of using an old identity picture for formal reasons, and yet, Argentina’s Federico Delbonis offered himself the pleasure of some melancholy. To illustrate his 2019 player pass, he used the same photography as the first time he had played the Roland Garros qualies, nine years ago.

However, much has changed for the South American in this timespan: he is the father of two children, World No. 75, and did not need to stop by the classification rounds for a place in the main draw.

Delbonis debuts his French Open campaign on Tuesday against the Spanish qualifier Gabriel Garcia-Lopez.

4- Express painting: Despite the unfortunate hit, Nadal still offered nearly two hours of game to his fans. During this time, one of the spectators was quick enough to paint a very pretty picture of the match, and got rewarded with the Spaniard’s autograph right on the canva.

Even if Roger Federer started his Roland Garros evolution on Sunday, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, and Kiki Bertens were here to attract the crowds today.

5- Mesdames et Messieurs... When you’re king or queen, you most likely speak your land’s language. Serena Williams—three-time French Open titleholder—and Novak Djokovic—2016 trophy lifter—both delivered their on-court interview in French, to the joy of their fans.

While the former expressed her happiness to have recovered her spirits and tipped the balance in her favor after a lost first set, the latter praised the new Court Philippe Chatrier. Dominic Thiem, one of this year’s favorites, also showed off his French pronunciation.

Kristina Mladenovic’s boyfriend thanked the crowd for its support. He was even so emotive (and maybe exhausted from the four sets win against Tommy Paul) that he almost forgot how to! Luckily, his quick mind is not a game-only feature.

6- Stars in the crowd: Thiago Silva, Rudy Gobert, and Ndamukong Suh represented the soccer, basketball, and football universe in Roland Garros’ public today. While the former two sent their greetings to the crowd, the recently engaged Suh directed his warm message to fellow American Serena Williams.

Minaur Roland Garros