Monday, May 30, 2011

paris postcard: french moves, francesca schiavone


the funny thing about visiting a gland slam tournament--you may see less actual live tennis than you'd watch on tv.

sound counterintuitive?

but unless you're content to just sit in one "assigned" stadium seat all day (and i'm not saying you shouldn't or i wouldn't), you may spend a fair amount of time wading through the crowds to get to an outer court to see your favorite lower-ranked players engage in more unpredictable or more competitive matches. once you finally arrive at court 6, 7, or 11, there will likely be another wait to gain entrance.

you might decide check out the "marquee" action on the other main courts courtesy of the jumbotron (at the french open there are 3 stadium courts that require separate tickets: chatrier, lenglen, and court #1, aka "the bullring," though during week 2, court 1 becomes a free, open court) and while that is an especially fun congregation at RG, it's not really watching it "live" is it?

in-between the matches, there are sandwiches, ice creams and strong coffees to be had.

and there are the bathroom breaks.

the day goes by pretty swiftly.

and because i am so easily (and maybe weirdly) entertained by people-watching and snapping photos, i spend an exceptional amount of time just loitering.

it was late in the afternoon last wednesday when i realized that i'd not seen a full "live" set.
tired and sunkissed, i retreated to my assigned seat in chatrier to watch the final match of the day: schiavone v roberta vinci. i didn't take too many photos, just sat and really watched the points. i soaked up the scene: it was quiet. the sun and heat had mellowed, along with the crowd. there were fewer of us but we seemed to watch with intensity and deep appreciation. not sure if that comes through on television, but it was true that day.

in person, schiavone is as powerful as you would expect, but i was surprised by how the surface could amplify her gracefulness. she has impeccable balance and can create some beautiful lines with that backhand of hers.

***
as the match drew to a close, i noticed someone cheering really wildly. for many minutes. (can you see him?)

i'm with him: it was a nice way to end the day...


***
all photos taken may 25, 2011
© anita aguilar

Saturday, May 28, 2011

paris postcard: french moves, gael monfils

one of the simple joys of being at roland garros is the opportunity to observe how players move on the terre battue.

you finally understand it demands more strength to get one's footing, and exquisite balance to glide and change direction. it brings out the natural gracefulness of players like monfils and nadal, schiavone and dolgopolov.

they--and the sun and the shadows and the burnt orange clay-- conspire toward unforgettable images (even if you can't quite capture them with a camera).

i tried, anyway, with my best zoom.

here are some of monfils, in court philippe chatrier, from one corner of the court. (first set is my favorite...)









***





***





all photos taken on may 25, 2011.
© anita aguilar

Friday, May 27, 2011

paris postcard: market scene, montparnasse

on wednesdays and saturdays, the narrow island that divides boulevard edgar quinet in montparnasse hosts a market where neighborhood folk can purchase gorgeous, locally grown fruits and vegetables and flowers. the meats are plump and tempting...

i'll take a quick spin through tomorrow for cherries (cerises!), before heading to roland garros, but here are a few shots from last week:



may 21, 2011

all photos © anita aguilar

Thursday, May 26, 2011

paris postcard: roland garros (the sea of love)

setting the RG scene with a few shots from kid's day on may 21, and official play on may 25.



court suzanne lenglen, may 21

court philippe chatrier, may 21

court philippe chatrier, may 21

outside court number 1, aka "the bullring." may 25

outside court number 1, aka "the bullring." may 25

inside court philippe chatrier, may 25

outside court suzanne lenglen, may 21