Rafael nadal, babolat exhibition, Roland Garros 2018

Good bye hard courts and hello clay! With spring comes the clay court season that leads to the second Grand Slam of the year, Roland Garros.
Although French players have had little success on this surface in recent years, clay was invented in Cannes, south of France … by English players William and Ernest Renshaw.

Grand Prix Hassan II, Marrakech, 8-14 April

Defending champion: Pablo Andujar
Category: 250
Prize money: €586,140
Who is playing: Pablo Carreno Busta, Kyle Edmund, Gilles Simon, Philipp Kohlschreiber

From 1990 to 2015 the tournament was held annually at the Complexe Al Amal in Casablanca, before relocating to Marrakesh in 2016. It is currently the only ATP event held in Africa. Two Moroccans have won the title on home soil: Hicham Arazi in 1997 and Younes El Aynaoui in 2002. Former champions include Thomas Muster, Gilles Simon, Juan Carlos Ferrero and Stan Wawrinka.
Last year, Pablo Andujar (number 355) became the lowest-ranked ATP champion in 20 years, beating first-time finalist Kyle Edmund to win the Grand Prix Hassan II for a record third time.

2019 champion: Benoît Paire

Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, 14-21 April

Defending champion: Rafael Nadal
Category: 1000
Prize money: €5,585,030
Who is playing: Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem, Kei Nishikori, Kevin Anderson, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Stan Wawrinka

The first appearance of lawn tennis in the Principality of Monaco was in January 1880, when a court with a covering of lime was laid down on the lawn of the pigeon-shooting range at the rear of the Hotel de Paris. In April 1892 Prince Charles III approved a proposal from Comte Bertora, the administrator of the Société des Bains de Mer, the local authority, for the installation of two permanent clay courts and a croquet lawn.
The first tournament was held in March 1896 and was won by George Hillyard. The following year began the start of the great days of the tournament, supported for a decade by the Doherty brothers.
It changed venue several times but the tournament has always attracted the greatest champions: Nicola Pietrangeli, Ilie Nastase, Bjorn Borg, Ivan Lendl, Mats Wilander all won here in the past. Rafael Nadal won the title eight consecutive times between 2005 and 2012, making him the first player to win eight titles in a row at the same tournament. Last year, he won the title for the 11th time, dispatching Nishikori 6-3 6-2 in the final.

The first of three Masters 1000 played on clay, the Monte Carlo tournament is a fan favourite thanks to its magnificent location and scenic views on the Mediterranean Sea.

2019 champion: Fabio Fognini

Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, 22-28 April

Defending champion: Rafael Nadal
Category: 500
Prize money: €2,746,455
Who is playing: Rafael Nadal, Kei Nishikori, Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev, Denis Shapovalov, Karen Khachanov, Fabio Fognini

The Barcelona Open, better known in Spain as Trofeo Conde de Godo or simply Godo has been held at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona 1899 since 1953.
American players won the first five editions of the tournament but only one has won it since: Todd Martin in 1998. All the best clay-court specialists have lift the trophy – that weighs 13 kg! – from Borg to Wilander, Muster to Ferrero. Rafael Nadal has won the singles title a record 11 times. In 2017, the centre court was named “Pista Rafa Nadal”.

The tournament will this year pay tribute to Manuel Orantes to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his first victory here. The 1969 final that Orantes won over Manolo Santana (6-4 7-5 6-4) is registered as the longest is the history of the competition. It started on May 18, but they could barely play 8 games because of rain. As the next day, both players had to travel to Zagreb to play a Davis Cup tie against Yugoslavia, the decision was made to postpone the match, which would resume 4 months later, on September.

Nadal claims 11th Barcelona title
Stefanos Tsitsipas makes Greek tennis history in Barcelona
Barcelona 2018: the Lopez capture the doubles crown

2019 champion: Dominic Thiem

Dominic Thiem, new King of Barcelona
Thiem stuns Nadal to reach the Barcelona final
Barcelona 2019: Nadal ends David Ferrer’s run


Gazprom Hungarian Open, Budapest, 22-28 April

Defending champion: Marco Cecchinato
Category: 250
Prize money: €586,140
Who is playing: Borna Coric, Marco Cecchinato, Nikoloz Basilashvili, Laslo Djere, Hubert Hurkacz

In 2017, Budapest replaced the former ATP 250 event in Bucharest, Romania. This is the first ATP event hosted in Hungary.
Lucas Pouille was the winner of the inaugural edition, defeating Aljaz Bedene in the final. In 2018, Marco Cecchinato won his first ATP title in Budapest after reaching the final as a lucky loser, defeating John Millman in straight sets. A few weeks later, he defeated Pablo Carreno Busta, David Goffin and Novak Djokovic en route to the French Open semifinals.

2019 champion: Matteo Berrettini

Second career title (after Gstaad in 2018) for Matteo Berrettini who rallied from a set down to beat qualifier Filip Krajinovic. With this victory, the Italian will make his entry to the top 40 for the first time.
Number one seed Marin Cilic lost to Pablo Cuevas while number two seed Borna Coric lost to eventual runner-up Krajinovic in the quarterfinals. Number three seed and defending champion Marco Cecchinato withdrew due to illness.

BMW Open by FWU, Munich, 29 April-5 May

Defending champion: Alexander Zverev
Category: 250
Prize money: €586,140
Who is playing: Alexander Zverev, Marco Cecchinato, Kyle Edmund, Diego Schwartzman, Roberto Bautista Agut

The International Tennis Championships of Bavaria was first held in 1900 (on grass), but the BMW Open by FWU was first staged at Munich’s Iphitos Tennis Club in 1974.
Alexander Zverev will try to win for a record third time in a row. Last year he defeated fellow countryman and 3-time champion Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3 6-3.

2019 champion: Christian Garin

Millenium Estoril Open, 29 April-5 May

Defending champion: Joao Sousa
Category: 250
Prize money: €586,140
Who is playing: Kevin Anderson, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Fabio Fognini, Gaël Monfils, Alex De Minaur, Frances Tiafoe, Joao Sousa

The Estoril Open was created in 2015 to replace the historic Portugal Open, which was canceled due to lack of sponsorships. The Portugal Open was both an ATP and WTA event. The men’s tournament was created in 1990 and has been won by current or future number 1s Thomas Muster (1995 and 1996), Carlos Moya (2000), Juan Carlos Ferrero (2001), Novak Djokovic (2007), and Roger Federer (2008).
Richard Gasquet was the winner of the first edition of the Estoril Open in 2015. Joao Sousa became the first Portuguese to win the tournament last year. He saved two match points against Pedro Sousa in the first round and defeated Next Gen players Stefanos Tsitsipas and Frances Tiafoe to claim the title.

Read more:
Estoril Open 2018: Joao Sousa triumphs
Estoril Open 2017: Pablo Carreno Busta defeats Gilles Muller

2019 champion: Stefanos Tsitsipas

Stefanos Tsitsipas triumphs in Estoril
Estoril Open 2019: Tsitsipas and Goffin will face off in the semifinals
Estoril Open 2019: Tsitsipas and Monfils in. Fognini and Chardy out


Mutua Madrid Open, 5-12 May

Defending champion: Alexander Zverev
Category: 1000
Prize money: €7,279,270
Who is playing: Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Alexander Zverev

From 2002 to 2008, the Madrid Masters were played on indoor hard courts at the Madrid Arena a couple weeks before Paris Bercy Masters. In 2009 the tournament transitioned from hard court to outdoor clay and replaced the Hamburg Open as the second Masters of the European clay court swing. Since then, the event is held at the Caja Majica which will host the 2019 Davis Cup finals.
In 2012, owner Ion Tiriac decided to swith to blue clay to “improve the experience for television viewers.”
Top players complained about the clay’s slipperiness, Nadal and Djokovic said they would not return to Madrid if the clay remained blue, and the tournament returned to the traditional red clay for the 2013 edition. Despite being played on red clay again, the conditions of play are made more difficult than Rome or Monte Carlo by altitude: Madrid is 650 meters above sea level and balls fly faster through thin air.

Last year, in the quarterfinals, Dominic Thiem ended Nadal’s 21-match and record 50-set winning streak on clay. Thiem had been the last man to take a set and win against Nadal on clay the previous year in Rome. The Austrian went on to reach the final, only to lose to Alexander Zverev in straight sets.

Read more:
Do you really know what clay is made of?

2019 champion: Novak Djokovic

Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Rome, 12-19 May

Defending champion: Rafael Nadal
Category: 1000
Prize money: €5,791,280
Who is playing: Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Alexander Zverev

The Rome tournament, the last big tournament before Roland Garros has a long, rich and controversial history. From 1930 to 1934, the Italian International Championships were held in Milan at the Tennis Club, but dictator Mussolini wanted the event in his capital, Rome, so the tournament moved to the Foro Italico (then called Foro Mussolini) in 1935. The Foro Italico was built form 1928 to 1935 as part of Mussolini’s plan to revive the glory of ancient Rome. He wanted “to create a forum that would surpass those of Caesar and Augustus”. The Foro Italico also contains the 82,000-seat Stadio Olimpico, home of Roma and Lazio football teams. Serie A itself was founded by the Duce, the first leader to use sport as a propaganda tool, even before Hitler.
The Stadium is still haunted by marble incarnations of the fascists human ideal: you can walk across mosaics that spell out “Duce”, a marble obelisk with the words “Mussolini Dux” still stands today, and 4-meter nude statues of sportsmen, from boxers to tennis players surround both the Stadio dei Marni (Foro’s track), the Nicola Pietrangeli court. Weird isn’t it?
The tournament was also filled with controversies in the 70’s, when Italian players (especially Adriano Panatta) received a little help from officials (read more below). But thankfully gone are those days, and a new King of Clay rules in Rome: Rafael Nadal, who recorded an eighth victory last year.
The final was interrupted by rain with Nadal a break down in the third set. But he rallied back to defeat Zverev 6-1 1-6 6-3 and claim his second Masters 1000 of the season. Beaten by Nadal in the semifinals, defending champion Novak Djokovic fell outside the Top 20 for the first time since October 2006.

Read more:
A little help for Adriano Panatta
Italian Open 1978: silenzio cretini!
Adriano Panatta, the Michelangelo of tennis

2019 champion: Rafael Nadal

9th title for Rafa in Rome, a record-breaking 34th Masters 1000 tournament title. He ends his wait for a first title this season, just at the perfect time, one week before he begins an other title defence in Paris. Nadal completes a fine week at Foro Italico, with straight set wins over Chardy, Basilashvili, Verdasco and Tsitsipas, and a 6-0 4-6 6-1 victory over Djokovic in the final.
Nadal was just too good for Djokovic, exhausted by his marathon matches against Del Potro and Schwartzman.

Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open, 19-25 May

Defending champion: Marton Fucsovics
Category: 250
Prize money: €586,140
Who is playing: Alexander Zverev, Daniil Medvedev, Benoît Paire, Jaume Munar

The Geneva Open is staged at the Tennis Club de Genève, the oldest and largest club in Switzerland, founded in 1896.
The tournament, held annually from 1980 to 1991, crowned 3 world number 1s: Bjorn Borg (1981), Mats Wilander (1982 and 1983), and Thomas Muster (1991), as well as 2 Swiss players, Claudio Mezzadri in 1987 and Marc Rosset in 1989. In 2015, after a 24-year hiatus, Thomaz Bellucci captured the title, followed by home crowd favorite Stan Wawrinka in 2016 and 2017.
In 2018, 38 years after the success of Balazs Taroczy during the first edition of tournament, a Hungarian player has once again lift the trophy. Marton Fucsovics, winner of Wawrinka in the semifinals, claimed his first ATP title with a 6-2 6-2 win over Peter Gojowczyk. The German beat Karlovic, Ferrer, Fognini and Seppi en route to his second final of the year (loss to Tiafoe in Delray Beach).

Open Parc Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Lyon, 19-25 May

Defending champion: Dominic Thiem
Category: 250
Prize money: €586,140
Who is playing: Denis Shapovalov, Roberto Bautista Agut, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Richard Gasquet, Tomas Berdych

From 1987 to 2009 Lyon held an indoor hard court tournament, traditionally played a few weeks before Paris Bercy. Yannick Noah won the inaugural edition, beating Joakim Nyström in the final. Other past champions include John McEnroe, Pete Sampras (3 times), Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Andy Roddick. The event moved to Montpellier in 2010 and is now known as the Open Sud de France.
In 2017, the Open de Lyon returned to the ATP Tour calendar as a clay-court tournament, replacing the Open de Nice. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga captured the title, his 15th career title, his first ever on clay. Dominic Thiem was crowned last year after a hard fought 3-set victory over Gilles Simon in the final. Two weeks later he went on to reach his first Grand Slam final at Roland Garros (l. to Nadal).

Roland Garros, Paris, 26 May-9 June

Defending champion: Rafael Nadal
Category: Grand Slam
Prize money: €
Who is playing: everybody!

Stay tuned for more Roland Garros coverage, and in the mean time, check out our Roland Garros FAQs and our tips for your day at Roland Garros.

Who will win Roland Garros 2019?

View Results

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Pictures:
1: pic taken by Tennis Buzz at the Babolat event at Roland Garros last year.
2: Banco Sabadell
3: MJN

If you’re interested in history of tennis, I recommend you the read of two books:
– Love game: a history of tennis, from victorian pastime to global phenomenon by Elizabeth Wilson
– The golden days of tennis on the French riviera 1874-1939 by Alan Little

Davis Cup trophy

26 November:

Leon Smith picked 3 singles players in his team, which means that Andy will play doubles with his brother Jamie Murray on Saturday. Kyle Edmund will make his Davis Cup debut against David Goffin tomorrow.
Johan van Herck decided to preserve Steve Darcis for the doubles, so Ruben Bemelmans will face Murray on Friday.

Should it come to a decisive fifth rubber, Darcis would probably face James Ward on Sunday.

Belgium or Great Britain, which team will win the Davis Cup 2015?

  • Great Britain (96%, 43 Votes)
  • Belgium (4%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 45

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23 November:

Updates for people travelling to Ghent:

– Additional security measures will be in place at all entrances to the venue and will apply to all ticket holders, staff members and visitors.

– Entry into the event will take longer than usual. Please keep this in mind when planning your arrival to the Flanders Expo. The gates will open two hours in advance of each day’s start time.

– Bags and backpacks will not be permitted into the Flanders Expo, those who arrive with them will be asked to check them into available off-site storage facilities.

– No food or drink will be allowed into the arena. A full selection of refreshments will be available in venue.

More infos.

22 November:

16 November:

No surprise with the teams nominations announced today: Goffin, Darcis, Bemelmans and Coppejans for Belgium, Andy and Jamie Murray, James Ward, Kyle Edmund and Dominic Inglot for Great Britain:

Read More

Tsonga and Gasquet

The countdown to the Davis Cup final has begun, follow our Davis Cup final coverage on Tennis Buzz!

Le compte à rebours a commencé, suivez toute l’actualité de la finale de Coupe Davis sur Tennis Buzz!

Wednesday 19 November

The Davis Cup was exposed in the Tennis Village in Lille today. Here are a few pics.

Quelques photos du Village Tennis inauguré ce midi par Martine Aubry et Jean Gachassin place de la République à Lille: des courts de mini-tennis, un court de padel, quelques stands et …. la Coupe Davis:

Davis Cup

Tuesday 18 November

Wawrinka and Federer arrived in Lille yesterday: by Eurostar for Stan, by private jet for Roger.
Really disapointing behaviour by both players who avoided their fans who waited for several hours in front of the Hermitage Gantois and entered their hotel through the kitchen door!

Wawrinka et Federer sont arrivés à Lille hier après midi, Stan par l’Eurostar et Roger en jet privé. Tous deux ont évité leurs fans qui les attendaient depuis plusieurs devant l’Hermitage Gantois et sont entrés dans l’hôtel par la porte des cuisines! Lamentable…

French and Swiss players practiced for the first time today on the clay court of Stade Pierre Mauroy, see video below.

Français et Suisses se sont entraînés pour la 1ère fois sur la terre battue du Stade Pierre Mauroy.

I have tickets for Friday and Saturday’s matches, and that the view I will have:

J’ai des tickets pour vendredi et samedi et je verrai… ça:

Monday 17 November

Lots of talk about Federer’s withdrawal and alleged dispute with Wawrinka in the press today.

Le forfait de Federer à Londres et son altercation avec Wawrinka font la une ce matin:

Le mystère Federer, l'Equipe

Sunday 16 November

They’re coming! The French Davis Cup team is coming to Lille this evening, they will stay at the Hôtel Couvent des Minimes. The Swiss come tomorrow evening, they stay at l’Hermitage Gantois, a former 15th Century hospice that had been coverted into a 5-star hotel.

Ils arrivent! L’équipe de France de Coupe Davis arrive ce soir à Lille, ils logeront à l’hôtel Hôtel Couvent des Minimes, quai du Vault. Les Suisses arriveront lundi soir et logeront à l’Hermitage Gantois, un ancien hospice du XVIè siècle reconverti en hôtel 5 étoiles:

Hospice Gantois, Lille

Photo credit: Velvet

Meanwhile in London, Roger Federer pulls out of his final against Novak Djokovic.

Pendant ce temps-là, à Londres, Roger Federer, blessé au dos, déclare forfait pour la finale des Masters face à Novak Djokovic.

Saturday 15 November

Today we have a look back at the 1992 Davis Cup lost by Switzerland and at the mythic 1991 final won by Henri Leconte and Guy Forget over the american dream team of Agassi, Sampras and Flach-Seguso.

Séquence souvenir: la finale 92 perdue par les Suisses contre les Américains, et la mythique finale 91 remportée par Henri Leconte et Guy Forget face à la dream team américaine d’Agassi, Sampras et Flach-Seguso:

Friday 14 November

Seen in the tramway today, a poster urging people to use public transport to attend the matches.

Vu aujourd’hui dans le tramway, un poster incitant les spectateurs à utiliser les transports en commun pour se rendre au Stade (désolée de la mauvaise qualité):

Tramway Davis Cup poster

Thursday 13 November

While the French Davis Cup team is training in Bordeaux and Federer and Wawrinka are battling in the London ATP finals, the team of Roland Garros head groundsman Bruno Slastan is preparing clay courts at Stade Pierre Mauroy.

Pendant que les Français sont en stage à Bordeaux et que Federer et Wawrinka bataillent au Masters de Londres, l’équipe de Bruno Slastan, responsable des courts à Roland Garros, commence la préparation des courts en terre battue au Stade Pierre Mauroy.


Wednesday 12 November

Autograph session with kids for the French Davis Cup team in Bordeaux.

Séance d’autographes pour les Bleus à Bordeaux:

No autograph session in sight for Les Bleus in Lille, but a few events are planned. The Tennis Village, Place de la République, aims to recreate the Davis Cup atmosphere in the center of Lille, to allow as many people as possible to participate in the event: mini-tennis, competitions, quizzes.. The matches will also be broadcast on a giant screen.

Pas de séance d’autographes prévue à Lille, mais des animations seront organisées Place de la République, pour essayer de recréer l’ambiance Coupe Davis dans le centre de Lille: mini-tennis, concours, quizz… Et bien sûr, les matches seront retransmis sur écran géant.

Tuesday 11 November

Captain Arnaud Clément picks Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gael Monfils, Richard Gasquet and Julien Benneteau to play the final next week.

Head to head / Face à face
Tsonga – Federer: 5 – 11
Tsonga – Wawrinka: 3 – 2
Monfils – Federer: 2 – 8
Monfils – Wawrinka: 2 – 2
Gasquet – Federer : 2 – 12
Gasquet – Wawrinka: 1 – 1

Head to head on clay / Face à face sur terre battue
Tsonga – Federer: 1 – 2
Tsonga – Wawrinka: 2 – 2
Monfils – Federer: 0 – 4
Monfils – Wawrinka: 0 – 0
Gasquet – Federer: 2 – 2
Gasquet – Wawrinka: 0 – 1

SWI or FRA who will win the Davis Cup final?

  • Switzerland (73%, 45 Votes)
  • France (27%, 17 Votes)

Total Voters: 62

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Monday 10 November

First training day in Bordeaux for Richard Gasquet, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gael Monfils and Gilles Simon.
Début du stage d’entraînement à Bordeaux pour Richard Gasquet, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gael Monfils and Gilles Simon.

Tuesday 4 November

Sans surprise, le capitaine suisse Severin Lüthi a sélectionné les mêmes joueurs que pour la demi-finale contre l’Italie: Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka, Marco Chiudinelli et Michael Lammer.

Saturday 1 November

Just a few weeks to go to the much awaited final between France and Switzerland!

Plus que quelques semaines avant la finale tant attendue entre la France et la Suisse!

Richard Gasquet, le coq sportif

Saturday 11 October

Behind the scenes of the Stade Pierre Mauroy that will host the final, read my report here.

Visite guidée du Stade Pierre Mauroy qui va accueillir la finale de Coupe Davis, lisez mon reportage ici.

Stade Pierre Mauroy

Saturday 4 October

Bienvenue à Lille for the Davis Cup final! All you need to know if you plan to attend the final: how to get to Lille, buy some tickets and more.

A lire si vous envisagez d’assister à la finale de Coupe Davis: Bienvenue à Lille for the Davis Cup final!

Grand Place

Monday 22 September

The French Tennis Federation announced today the Davis Cup final between France and Switzerland will be staged on clay. Do you really know what clay is made of?

Les Français ont choisi la surface sur laquelle sera jouée la finale de Coupe Davis entre la France et la Suisse, ce sera la terre battue (indoor bien sûr). Découvrez ici ce qu’est réellement la terre battue (article en anglais).

Friday 19 September

It is now official, the Davis Cup final France vs Switzerland will be played in Lille, my hometown! So stay tuned for news, photos and exclusive coverage on Tennis Buzz!

C’est officiel: Lille (la ville où j’habite) accueillera la finale de Coupe Davis entre la France et la Suisse! Suivez toute l’actualité de la finale sur Tennis Buzz!

Also read/à lire aussi:

Roland Garros Court 1

Red clay-courts are made of 5 layers:
1- red brick dust: 1-2 mm
2- crushed white limestone: 6-7 cm
3- clinker (coal residue): 7-8 cm
4- crushed gravel: at least 30 cm
5- drain

Composition of clay

The red brick dust 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.

Roland Garros opens its doors

Every year in September, 50 European countries take part in the European Heritage Days, a programme that offers opportunities to visit buildings, monuments and sites, many of which are not normally accessible to the public. For the first time, yesterday, the French Federation of tennis opened up the Roland Garros stadium and museum free to the public as part of Heritage Days, and of course, I was there.

Waiting to enter the museum, you could still see the Davis Cup semifinals poster and the French and Czech flags atop Court Philippe Chatrier.

Roland Garros

Tennis museum

The permanent exhibition showcases trophies, players memorabilia, a few videos as well as some infos about tennis history and the future Roland Garros stadium expansion.
You might be disappointed if you’ve visited the Wimbledon museum, Roland Garros museum is quite small, with less content and interactivity.

Below, the trophies presented each year to the winner of the men’s singles (Coupe des Mousquetaires) and women’s singles (Coupe Suzanne Lenglen):

Roland Garros trophies

Replica of the 1991 Davis Cup captured by Henri Leconte and Guy Forget over the dream team of Sampras, Agassi and Flach-Seguso:

1991 Davis Cup replica
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