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