Thuesday was a grey, cloudy one, but it didn’t prevent the scheduled games from happening, and the tennis fans from coming to the tournament. The ascension of the Italian Cecchinato and his unexpected win against Dokovic is in every discussion. A lot of speculation took place around the match confronting 2 outsiders Thiem and Zverev, which was dominated by a powerful Thiem. Same as Madison Keys who booked a place in her first French open semifinal.
I arrived to the stadium at lunchtime under a rainy sky. Bad weather was for me the perfect excuse to go have lunch at the Moët Hennessy Lounge in the Village. Starting another busy day by having some bubbly Brut Imperial matching perfectly with the quinoa risotto served by Potel et Chabot.
Making my way out of the Posh terraces and hallways of the Village, is always an amusing moment. Especially at this time of the day. Stars are invited to have lunch by partners in their different stylish spaces, and photographers are battling to have perfect snaps of them.
But the star of my day, the star of every Roland Garros tournament, is undoubtfully Roland Garros Himself.
This year is the centennial of his death, and the FFT is celebrating this hero through several installations and cultural manifestations in the stadium.
I was accompanied by Marie-Christine Peltre, vice president of the FFT, in charge of the tennis culture and the sustainable development in RG. She walked me through the stadium, starting by the entrance of the new court 18, where the Saint-Denis based graffiti artist, Jace, was asked to create a mural. He performed live last Saturday, investing this long concrete wall. The Fresco pays tribute to Roland Garros and celebrates the ties between Reunion Island and Paris: The aviator, surrounded by angels, is depicted as a hero distributing balls into the clouds. Some of the visitors seem to have find their perfect selfie spot by this blue and yellow playful artwork.
We continue our walk toward the place des Mousquetaires, passing by the Reunion Island Stand, in honor to the birth land of Roland Garros. The Island is also highly represented among ball kids and arbitrators.
Few minutes later, we arrive to the Mousquetaires gallery, this underground space is dedicated to an exhibition entitled: Roland Garros…Between Earth and Sky. It’s the ideal spot for families and individuals curious to know more about this daring courageous personality, highlighting the connections between the national lifetime hero, the stadium named after him few years following his death, and the tournament passionate spirit.
I spent a warming hour, hiding from the rain, away yet so close to the tournament fuss, reading and picturing the creative, persistent and braving virtues of Roland Garros, the victorious man and the historical stadium.