Nearing the end of its first week, the French Open still offers plenty of on-court and off-score action. We offer you a stroll through some of the best moments that unfolded today, from Madison Keys (almost) nailing a quiz to Paire and Londero diving here and there for lack of a swimming pool.
1- Blast from the past: We know that you know it, because if by this time a tennis fan isn’t aware of that special fact, they might as well have had no connection in the past days (or have been living under a rock).
Roger Federer played on this Friday against Casper Ruud, young Norwegian whose most proclaimed quality lately regards him being the son of Christian Ruud--the same Ruud Sr. who was in the Swiss legend’s first Grand Slam draw.
Even if the air has been a little saturated with this story, here are two less-talked-about facts about it: a) both events happened 20 years apart (1999 and 2019); and b) Federer played his first Grand Slam match at Roland Garros 1999, and he registered today his 400th Major Open match.
Federer is the only player, man or woman, to have achieved such a feat. He will next face Leonardo Mayer, who put a final point to Nicolas Mahut's fairytale-like evolution.
How's this for longevity? When Federer played his 1st Grand Slam match in 1999, Christian Ruud was in the French Open draw with him. 20 years later, Federer will play Ruud's 20-year-old son Casper in Round 3 of the 2019 French Open.
2- What’s the score? During the battle against Pablo Carreno Busta, Benoit Paire had a serious discussion with the umpire about the score… but not his. Sitting on his bench, the bearded owner of the “best backhand on tour” (according to Kei Nishikori) questioned his referee about the match which opposed fellow French Lucas Pouille to Martin Klizan.
When he was told that his countryman had lost 9-7 in the last set, Paire answered “I know,” to the umpire’s emphatic, “That’s tough”. The recent Lyon champion outlived his compatriot in the draw and will face his Japanese fan (Kei Nishikori) next.
3- 10/10! Well, almost… Madison Keys is one talented person, and not only at tennis. She got a nearly perfect score at Eurosports’ Top Spin Quiz, which involved fashion, boys band, and autographs.
The American booked her place in the fourth round by getting past Priscilla Hon.
4- Dusty but sweet: Most of players tend to grumble when they find out spots of red dirt on their clothes, but not Juan Ignacio Londero. The Argentinian’s first time in a Grand Slam main draw has also become his first time getting to the second week of a Major, and he decided to celebrate it at its fullest, not kneeling but lying down on the court.
Londero will have a tough fourth round against defending champion (and eleven times titleholder) Rafael Nadal.
5- Paire took a dive: The French stole the attention again today, but this time during his doubles match alongside Leander Paes. It seems like both players did the most to confuse their opponents, yet the funniest moment was when the Indian just looked at his partner falling off the court into the stands and played as if nothing had happened.
Paire-Paes will face third seed Cabal-Farah in the men's doubles second round.
Talk about partners being in sync 😂 Happy to get the W with @benpaire and be back at @rolandgarros .Thank you to everyone who came out to support us. See you in the next round 👊🏽 #RG19 #RolandGarros pic.twitter.com/PDEdZcQ1gQ — Leander Paes (@Leander) May 31, 2019
Bonus: Juan Martin del Potro was in the mood for hugs yesterday. As Simona Halep arrived in the press room to answer the media’s questions, the Argentinian was still being recorded for TV, and let her wait a little. Before finally leaving the spotlight to the Romanian, the 6’6’’ tower bowed to wrap a 5’6’’ laughing Halep in a heartfelt hug.
.@Simona_Halep hugs Juan Martin del Potro in the press conference room in Paris after she had to wait for his TV interview to finish pic.twitter.com/IBWnDwBJpw — Jimmie48 Photography (@JJlovesTennis) May 30, 2019