Finally some live tennis! My first live tournament of the year!

My first memories of Roland Garros are from the early 80’s, watching Lendl, Wilander, Navratilova, and Evert battle on one of the 3 French TV channels. And of course like every French people, I remember Noah’s historic win over Wilander in 1983, his overwhelming joy and his run to embrace his father.
Leconte booed during the trophy presentation in 1988, Edberg heartbreaking defeat against Chang in 1989, Agassi flashy outfits, Graf-Seles breathtaking final in 1992, Guga samba tennis in 1997… Time flies.

May 2004: my first trip to Roland Garros. Agassi, Safin, Ferrero, the Williams sisters, I finally got to see some of the best tennis players I had watched for years on TV.

Marat Safin, 2004:

Marat Safin, Peter Lundgren

Marat Safin

Fabrice Santoro and Peter Lundgren, 2004:

Peter Lundgren, Fabrice Santoro

Juan Carlos Ferrero, 2004:

Juan Carlos Ferrero

From then I was hooked, and Roland Garros 2004 was the first of many tournaments I’ve attended over the years: the US Open, the Queen’s, Bercy, the Lagardère Trophy, the Optima Open, the Open GDF Suez and of course Roland Garros (in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012).

Roger Federer, 2006:

Roger Federer

Ilie Nastase, 2007:

Ilie Nastase

Novak Djokovic, 2008:

Novak Djokovic

Court Philippe Chatrier, 2010:

Court Philippe Chatrier

Rafael Nadal, 2011:

Rafael Nadal

Maria Sharapova, 2012:

Maria Sharapova

The excitement of the first tournaments slowly let place to a kind of “been there, done that” feeling, but there’s
nothing like watching a sporting event courtside. Not only can you see and hear everything as it happens, but you also really feel part of the event. Of course, you don’t get the benefit of all those fancy TV replays and close-ups but you avoid annoying commentary.
One of the best thing is court-hopping. Wandering around the grounds with a simple 24€ pass, you get to see as much or as little of the event as you want: watch Sharapova practicing on court 12, Hewitt playing on court 7 or a Goerges-Stosur doubles match on court 16.

I’ll be onsite the first week, covering the tournament for Tennis Buzz but also guest posting for Grand Slam Gal.

The new tennis season is fast approaching, and the best players in the world are busy training hard in preparation for another demanding and gruelling year on tour. But before we launch into 2013, we should take a moment to reflect on the careers and legacies of those who hung up their racquets for the last time in 2012…

Biggest ATP Retirement: Andy Roddick

Andy Roddick

On his 30th birthday, Andy Roddick called a press conference and revealed that the 2012 US Open would be his final competitive tournament. The decision caught everyone by surprise, but it seemed fitting for a man who, used to giving his all, knew that his body was no longer able to withstand a brutal training and playing regime.

Roddick had been his country’s number one player for most of the last decade. Blessed with one of the biggest serves in the history of the game, he regularly sent down unreturnable deliveries of over 220km/h, accompanied by his trademark compact swing and shotgun-like pop. He resembled an exuberant puppy on the court, pouncing on short balls and unleashing his formidable off-forehand with relish. Not the most naturally fluid of players, Roddick constantly strove to expand his arsenal of shots, and developed a very effective all-court game. Occasionally, his temper got the better of him, and umpires were often in his firing line, but he earned a reputation for being extremely gracious in defeat, and was a fan favourite wherever he played.

At the time, his 2003 US Open win seemed to herald the arrival of a new hero in American tennis, but Roddick’s main misfortune was to have shared an era with Roger Federer. He fell to the Swiss in four Grand Slam finals, including three at Wimbledon. The most heartbreaking was a 16-14 loss in the deciding set of the 2009 Wimbledon final, a match in which Roddick’s serve was broken only once. In all, he had a 3-21 record against Federer, and one wonders how much more decorated the Nebraskan’s career would have been without that perennial obstacle.

Biggest WTA Retirement: Kim Clijsters

Kim Clijsters

Kim Clijsters has the distinction of retiring for a second time in 2012. The Belgian originally called it a day in 2007, citing mounting injuries and her desire to start a family. The lure of competition proved too strong, however, and she returned to the WTA tour in 2009.
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Lifestyle blogger Yin was lucky to be invited down to Lacoste‘s sponsor village at the ATP World Tour Finals.

Enjoy his pics and recap on yinyang.co.uk

Arena

All players play three round-robin matches against rivals in their group to determine a winner and runner-up from each group, who advance to the knockout stage of the tournament.
In the semi-finals the winner of Group A plays the runner-up of Group B and the winner of Group B plays the runner-up of Group A. Semi-final winners advance to the final.

Singles:

- Group A: Novak Djokovic (1), Andy Murray (3), Tomas Berdych (5), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (7)

- Group B: Roger Federer (2), David Ferrer (4), Juan Martin del Potro (6), Janko Tipsarevic (8)

Doubles:

-Group A: Bob and Mike Bryan (1), Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek (3), Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez (6), Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and Jean-Julien Rojer (7)

-Group B: Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor (2), Robert Lindstedt and Horia Tecau (4), Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna (5), Jonathan Marray and Frederik Nielsen (8)

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Read part one here.

Basketball Arena

The 12,000-capacity Basketball Arena is the third-largest venue in the Olympic Park. For the Paralympics, the Basketball Arena has been transformed to host the Wheelchair Basketball and Wheelchair Rugby events before being taken down, with parts expected to be reused or relocated elsewhere in the UK.

Olympic Park

Olympic Park

Olympic Park

BP Pavilion

Olympic Park

The next Andy Murray?

Olympic Park

Olympic Park

Enjoying the Park

Olympic Park

Olympic Park

Olympic Park

Olympic Park

Olympic Park

Olympic Park

Paralympic Village

Olympic Park

Olympic Park

Olympic Park

Water Polo Arena

Olympic Park

Olympic Park

Aquatics Centre

Designed by Iraq-born architect Zaha Hadid, the Aquatics Centre was the last structure to be completed before the Games began.
After the Games, the two temporary wings will be removed while the Centre will be transformed into a leisure facility for local and elite swimmers, complete with creche, family-friendly changing facilities, a cafe and a new public plaza.

Olympic Park

Stratford Gate

The main Olympic Park entrance:

Olympic Park

Olympic Park

Olympic Park

The Orbit and the Olympic Stadium

Olympic Park

Olympic Park


Olympic Park


Olympic Park


Bandstand

Enjoying a bit of music to put an end to this fantastic day at the Paralympics.

Olympic Park

Olympic Park

A few pics of the women’s doubles bronze medal match between Shuker-Whiley and Khantasit-Techamaneewat.

The British pair of Lucy Shuker and Jordanne Whiley prevailed over the Thai pair 6-7 7-6 6-3 after more than 3 hours of play! A match they could have won easily in straight sets as they served for the first set at 5-3 and at 5-4 in the second set.

Shuker-Whiley vs Khantasit-Techamaneewat

Shuker-Whiley vs Khantasit-Techamaneewat

Shuker-Whiley vs Khantasit-Techamaneewat

Shuker-Whiley vs Khantasit-Techamaneewat

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