OH MY WORD! I can’t believe I’ve been here a week and am just starting this blog. Time is going way too fast. Paris as always is wonderful. The weather has been excellent., Mainly sunny and warm. I love my little apartment right behind the magnificent Église Saint-Sulpice. This Roman Catholic Church was completed in 1732 and is known for its spectacular architecture. Large arched windows fill the interior with beautiful soft natural light, this would be a wonderful place to shoot portraits.
As for the tennis, well the crowds have been amazing. The site is so crowded that I can barely make it from one court to another, and considering that the average French person is slender, this amounts to a lot of people. I would hate to think what it would be like if the average American were filling the walkways and plaza. We all know that Americans are not famous for low body fat.
I do have to wonder how the French do it, eating rich wonderful cheese, great chewy baguette , croissant crispy on the outside and soft and buttery on the inside, often with chocolate filling… crepes, wine, but somehow they manage to stay svelte.
The press dining room here is the best. The décor is that of an upscale restaurant, with a beautiful patio garden where you dine under large orange market umbrellas. In addition to the regular offerings in the cafeteria, there is a chef, complete with toque, cooking up a specialty. One day it will be Crepes with Salmon, another barbeque with salad and pommes frite, and of course lunch is always accompanied by wonderful complimentary wine. It is often hard to get any work done here.
The French players are doing well. Names that you never hear past the first or second round at other Grand Slams, are winning matches that normally you would pay no attention.
Who would care about a match between tenth seed John Isner and wildcard entrant Paul-Henri Mathieu? Why would you bother to even go.. The money was on Isner to blow this guy away in three short sets. Wrong! The American marathon man lost in 5 hours and 41 minutes, the second longest match in French Open history and the fourth longest in Grand Slam history. Sitting at my desk editing, I noticed that the score was 9 all in the fifth, grabbed a camera and ran to the court. I needn’t have bothered. Isner lost 6-7, 6-4, 6-4 3-6, 18-16. He looked terrible. Barely able to run, hitting long on ground strokes, the only thing saving him was his serve.
Mathieu on the other hand looked good, which was a big surprise as he is just coming back after a 15 month recuperation after a serious knee surgery.
So what’s up with Isner and these Frenchy’s? The famous Wimbledon match was against Frenchman Nicolas Mahut. Mathieu admitted to asking Mahut for tips on playing Big John and apparently the advise was good.
So this ends the run for the American men. Out of the eight entrants, Isner was the last man standing. The women are fairing a bit better. Nineteen year old Sloan Stevens took out Maathilde Johansson in straight sets.
Stevens, who I’ve shot and met at junior events in Los Angeles, could be the next big American hope. With a strong game, a good head, and a terrific sparkling personality she may be just the shot in the arm that American tennis needs. Her big prize to herself for making into the fourth round? She’s bumping herself up to first class for the flight home, which hopefully won’t be soon.
The other surprise is Varvara Lepchenko. Who is Varvara Lechenko? Well, she defeated 19th seed Jelena Jankovic in a tough 3 hour match and at this moment, has split sets with former French Open Champion Francisca Schiavone. The 26-year-old native of Uzbekistan now living in Allentown PA became a US citizen last September and is ranked 63 and is playing in her 15 major tournament.
Alright, that’s got to be it for today. I have to go take photos, but I’ll be on the blog regularly from now on, so check in with me. Comments are welcome along with questions.
OH Yeah, one more note .. tournament highlight.. ran into one of my all time favorite people.. Alex Corretja.. still gorgeous, still nice ..love the kisses on both cheeks, my not wash my face for a couple of days!