Meet Gianni Mina

Runner up at last year’s French Open juniors, Gianni Mina could be mistaken for Gael Monfils’ younger brother.

Gianni Mina:

Gianni Mina

Gael Monfils:

Gael Monfils

But their looks are not the only thing that they have in common: they have similar playing style and were both very successful in juniors.
In 2004, Monfils finished the year as the world’s number 1 junior, winning three of four junior Grand Slam events (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon). Mina reached the finals in Roland Garros, and the semifinals at the US Open in 2009, and won the 18 years old category of the Orange Bowl.

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FWOTD #2: TERRE BATTUE – Red clay

Safina coup droit

The surface is made up of natural clay covered with crushed brick as a fine surface dressing. This layer gives the ball extra grip when it hits the deck, making the surface characteristically slow.
But clay courts’ speed depends greatly on weather conditions: when there’s a bit of rain, the surface is moist, the balls pick up water, become heavy and slow down even more. But when it’s hot and sunny, the court is dusty, and the ball zip through like a harder surface.
Clay court maintenance demands the greatest care and constant humidity. Too much water risks drowning the clay, making it unplayable from a few hours to several days. That’s why the courts are sprinkled manually and have to be protected from rain.

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Court Philippe Chatrier - Roland Garros

Court Philippe Chatrier - Roland Garros

Court Philippe Chatrier - Roland Garros

Court Philippe Chatrier - Roland Garros

I’m just back from 4 days in Paris and I just wanted to share a few pictures of yesterday’s Children’s Day at Roland Garros (previously known as “Benny Berthet Day”).
Children’s Day at Roland Garros is a charity event, devoted to fund raising for charitable organisations. The idea is simple: on the eve of the tounament’s opening day, stars of tennis are invited to take part in one set exhibition matches. So, for just 19 euros, you can watch some of the top players in action and help a good cause!

A few pics from yesterday:

Showman Gael Monfils:

Gael Monfils

A Monfils clone?

Gianni Mina

A 1991 Andre Agassi clone?

Bob Sinclar

More stories, videos and photos soon.

Thanks to Warwick, former coach of Marcos Baghdatis and Amélie Mauresmo, who answered our questions. Please note this interview happened three weeks ago (before Kim Clijsters’ withdrawal). If you want to know more about Warwick, please visit our About page.

Q: Let’s talk first about world number one Serena Williams: although she won the French once, her game is not really suited for clay.
Warwick: You never can under estimate Serena. Winning the Australian Open against an in form Henin showed she still has what it takes to fight for a Grand Slam title. However, after coming off a knee injury she acquired in January, the next few matches will determine her survival at the French.

Q: How good are her chances to win in Paris?
A: If she gets a lot of matches in Rome and is physically feeling good, she should at least make the final.

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Every day during the Roland Garros tournament, a new french word or expression related (or not) to Paris, tennis and Roland Garros.

FWOTD #1: DIMANCHE (Sunday)
Since 2006, the final draw of the tournament has begun on a Sunday. So, Roland Garros is the “longest Slam”, being contested over 15 days (14 days Oz and US Open and 13 for Wimbledon).