Roland Garros 1978

Roland Garros 1978 in pictures

Extract from Inside tennis – a season on the pro tour by Peter Bodo and June Harrison:

The French is the epicurean’s tournament, where the kiosks feature crepes filled with apricot jam and dusted with powdered sugar, and ice cream bars favored with Grand Marnier; where hot dogs doze in light, crisp rolls that resemble sleeping bags; where these and other specialities evolved through centuries of respectful doting on the sensitive receptacle that for some peoples is a mere stomach.

The French tournament site, like those of Wimbledon and the US Open, is located just far enough outside the city to achieve a slumberous, almost pastoral quality. The Stade Roland Garros borders the Bois de Boulogne, the rambling park that contains the famed Longchamp Race Course and the Racing Club de France. The stadium and its grounds, named after a World War I aviator killed in action, were constructed in 1927 primarly for the defense of the Davis Cup.

Despite the French preoccupation with style, there is a monotonous, almost martial quality to Roland Garros. Yet this grim undertone strikes a symbolic note, for the French is the most grueling tournament in the world. The Italian assaults the nerves, Wimbledon tests the spirit, and the US Open challenges the will. The French attacks the body and often defeats a player through sheer exhaustion. Matches routinely last four hours on the slow clay, and despite the draw of 128, five-set matches are the rule from the start. Tennis at the French is trench warfare; lobs are lifted like deadly mortars, except they almost always come back. Battles that commence while the idle are still taking croissants and café au lait on the the Boulevard Saint-Germain last long into the dusk. As late as nine in the evening, there is still enough light to keep the contestants engaged.

The main walkway at Roland Garros:

Roland Garros 1978

Arthur Ashe, serving and selling his way deep into the Paris underground:

Metro Porte d'Auteuil, Roland Garros 1978

Billy Martin, fresh from a shower and in style:

Billy Martin, Roland Garros 1978

Billy Scanlon, the overnight sensation of 1977, overnight paradox of 1978:

Billy Scanlon, Roland Garros 1978

Hans Gildemeister of Chile, swinging his whole body into a two-handed backhand:

Hans Gildemeister, Roland Garros 1978

Manuel Orantes, the Spanish clay-court virtuoso, takes a tumble on the center-court:

Manuel Orantes, Roland Garros 1978

Renata Tomanova, lunging for a backhand volley:

Renata Tomanova, Roland Garros 1978

Virginia Ruzici, on the attack:

Virginia Ruzici, Roland Garros 1978

Fast Eddie Dibbs of Miami, pounding a forehand:

Eddie Dibbs, Roland Garros 1978

Jeff Borowiak, a gentle Californian known for his ability to topple idiols, has just beaten Panatta:

Jeff Borowiak, Roland Garros 1978

Yannick Noah, born in Cameroon and brought to Paris to develop his talents through the good offices of Arthur Ashe:

Yannick Noah, Roland Garros 1978
Brian Gottfried, one of the hardest working pros on the tour, hitting an exemplary backhand volley:

Brian Gottfried, Roland Garros 1978

Ion Tiriac and his protégé, Guillermo Vilas, chatting with friends:

Ion Tiriac, Roland Garros 1978

Vilas at work, the size of his racquet arm testifies to his strength – and dedication:

Guillermo Vilas, Roland Garros 1978

Mima Jausovec, the number-one Yugoslavian player. She is one the most affable women on the tour:

Mima Jausovec, Roland Garros 1978

Dick Stockton victimized by a bad back through his career, lets go a forehand during his upset of Manuel Orantes in the quarterfinals:

Dick Stockton, Roland Garros 1978

Raul Ramirez, the fleet, graceful Mexican, gliding across the center court:

Raul Ramirez, Roland Garros 1978

Wotjek Fibak, the first world-class player from Poland, steps into a backhand volley:

Wotjek Fibak

Jan Kodes, unleashing his underspin backhand. At his speak in the early seventies, Kodes was the most acrobatic player in the game:

Jan Kodes, Roland Garros 1978

Stan Smith, American Davis Cup hero:

Stan Smith, Roland Garros 1978

Corrado Barazzutti, the dogged Italian master of slow clay:

Corrado Barazzutti, Roland Garros 1978

Lew Hoad, a former champion of Paris. Contemporaries like Pancho Gonzalez claim that Hoad was probably one of the greatest players of all time:

Lew Hoad, Roland Garros 1978

Ann Haydon-Jones greets the crowd during the parade of past champions:

Ann Jones, Roland Garros 1978

Manuel Santana, the artistic Spaniard who won the French Open and Wimbledon, strides along the crimson runner to take his place among the past champions:

Manuel Santana, Roland Garros 1978

Guillermo Vilas, facing his rival Bjorn Borg, prior to the moment of truth in the final at Roland Garros:

Guillermo Vilas, Roland Garros 1978
Björn Borg has a few gracious words and big smile for another former champion. Kodes looks on:

Bjorn Borg, Roland Garros 1978

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