It ended with a respectful handshake at the net four plus hours after Marat Safin and Josselin Ouanna walked onto center court, Phillip Chatrier, at Roland Garros. Marat, who says this is his last year, and Ouanna, in the tournament by virtue of a wild card from the French Tennis Federation (FFT) appear to be on different career tracks.
I first saw Josselin Ouanna play last year and liked his smooth as silk stylish game. He's been playing mostly off the radar so far this year. Marat is supposed to be on his farewell tour.
So why is it that along the way to the handshake at the net fans saw Marat in the above pose?
Ouanna's joy is totally understandable. After all he beat one of the great names of men's tennis. Will he continue to play well? Today's match was his second five setter and after today there's no way his next opponent, Fernando Gonzalez, will be caught unawares.
How do Marat's fans feel about his performance today? She's been away a long time but Haruka was moved to put her thoughts into words about what she saw today. Enjoy.
The Clay Court Season and American Men
James Blake and Mardy Fish commented on the poor showing of American men in Paris.
PARIS (AP)—There are plenty of theories about why U.S. men have so much trouble at the French Open, and James Blake offered his thoughts on the matter after losing in the first round Tuesday.
“For the Americans, a lot of times, this isn’t our main goal of the year. Ours is generally Wimbledon and the U.S. Open,” Blake said.
“I think if we were to try to prepare completely for the French Open, we would be giving away some of our advantage at the Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. That’s where we excel. We’d rather, I think, prepare best for what our strengths are.”
Mardy Fish had this to say.
“We’re trying as hard as we can,” Fish said. “Once these two weeks are over, the clay talk is over, and we’ll be looking to my most fun part of the year: Wimbledon, grass courts. That’s where we play our best.”
In 2007, the country’s men went 0-9 at the French Open. No American has won the title since Andre Agassi in 1999, and none even has reached the quarterfinals since he did in 2003.
Great. It's bad enough most of the tennis world felt Americans had nothing but contempt for clay court play. Blake and Fish have opened their mouths and proved it. It's really nice to know how you guys really feel. I bet Andy Roddick, Serena Williams and Venus Willams feel the same way as they fight to make it to the second week of the French Open.