Thanks to JC for sharing his pics and anecdotes about his 2009 European tour.
Next stop of JC’s European tour: Roland Garros

How do you get into the French Open, sit in the reserved box seats just behind the Tennis Magazine team, and then watch Nadal play live just a few feet away on center court (Court Philipe Chatrier) – all for just 19 Euros?
Answer: Benny Berthet Day. This exhibition day is held each year on the eve of the tournament; the profits are donated to various charities. This is similar to the Arthur Ashe day event held at the US Open annually. The public can attend 1-set matches with most of the top players spread out across the top 3 courts. Many of the French tennis starts come out for kids to get autographs and pictures.

Roland Garros Ticket

French Open Map

Matches on Benny-Berthet Day

JC at French Open

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Thanks to JC for sharing his pics and anecdotes about his 2009 European tour.

On this self-guided five-city tennis journey, I flew to Spain, France and Great Britain to retrace the footsteps of the tennis legend and my personal hero – Rafael Nadal. Along the way I discover many wonderful cultures and met individuals from all walks of life, all of whom celebrating tennis.

From the Bull-fighting in Madrid, to the Picasso Museum nestled in the Gothic quarters of Barcelona; I wanted to explore Nadal’s homeland of Spain both as a traveler and as a tennis fan.

First leg of the tour: the Madrid Open

Some pics of Palacio Real, Parco del Retiro and Plaza de Toros:

JC at palacio real

Lake 3

Plaza de toros (largest in Spain)

Bullring - wide view

La Caja Magica – the Magic Box – home of the Madrid Open:

Madrid Open Front Gate

Madrid Open Center Court - Caja Magique with retractable roof (3)

JC at Mardid Open

Yellow and Red

Women’s final: Dinara Safina defeats Caroline Wozniacki 6-2 6-4
Women's Final changeover view

Safina and Wozniacki at Women's Final (14)

Safina and Wozniacki at Women's Final (7)

Men’s final: Roger Federer defeats Rafael Nadal 6-4 6-4 (it was the day after the thriller semifinal opposing Nadal and Djokovic)

Roger at Madrid Open

Rafael Nadal entering (4)

Practicing Serves

Read the complete story on tennis-8.com

Wimbledon Centre Court roof

If you are intrigued by what goes on behind the scenes at Wimbledon, Chris Gorringe‘s book Holding Court is a must-read. Gorringe tells the story of his 26 years journey as All England Club chief executive. The book is full of anecdotes about legendary players (McEnroe, Sampras, Borg to name a few), but also describes in details the structure of the Club, the organization of the Championships, and Wimbledon’s Long Term Plan.
A few pages are of course dedicated to the Centre Court roof, which has been the real star of the 125th Championships so far.

Enjoy of few extracts of Holding Court:

“When we had first laid out the LTP (Long Term Plan) in the 90s, a retractable roof had been possible in as much as the technology was available, but what had not been proved to our satisfaction was that you could have a sliding roof that would work for grass court tennis. We had not seen a roof design that would: retain the grass at a quality that would withstand two weeks of play, and that would not make it sweat and be slippery; that would provide the right ambiance for the spectators; and that would allow grass to grow for the rest of the year.”

Australian Open roof vs Wimbledon roof

“We did not have all the answers, but certain members of the media and our committee wanted it as they had be to the Australian Open and seen the roof in action there.
However, the Australians had a different set of circumstances. When they moved from Kooyong’s private members’ club to Flinders Park (now Melbourne Park), in order to finance the set-up, the main centre court had to be a stadium design, not just a tennis arena. They needed the stadium to be used for as many days a year as possible, for concerts or whatever, which meant adding a roof but saying goodbye to grass. Once grass is taken out of the equation, the addition of a roof becomes very much easier.
Theirs is infinitely heavier than ours, is not translucent in any way, and is presumably specially designed in order for it to work well for concerts or musical events: there is no escape of noise or light through their roof. As well as having the roof over the main stadium at Melbourne Park, they have also built an adjacent stadium – again another multi-purpose building with a roof on it.”

Wimbledon Centre Court roof

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Kim Clijsters and Rafael Nadal didn’t waste any time on court today: Kim destroyed Dinara Safina 6-0 6-0 and Nadal cruised to second round after his opponent, Marcos Daniel, retired in the second set.
All the other favorites (Vera Zvonareva, Sam Stosur, Andy Murray, Robin Soderling) qualified easily for the second round.
Good news also for 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro who played and won his first Grand Slam match since his defeat against Marin Cilic in Melbourne last year.
So, all the big players seem to be ready to stop Rafael Nadal en route for his ‘Rafa Slam’.

Day 2 complete results

Seeds upsets: Ana Ivanovic(19), Alexandra Dulgheru(27), Ernests Gulbis (24)

Aussie player of the day: Alicia Molik
All eyes are on Sam Stosur this year, but veteran Aussie Alicia Molik staged a remarkable comeback to defeat world No.37 Roberta Vinci, 1-6, 6-3, 8-6, and become the third and final Australian woman to reach the second round at Australian Open 2011 (the others are Jelena Dokic and Sam Stosur).

Stat of the day: 0
3-time Slam finalist Dinara Safina became the first former number one player in history to suffer a double bagel at a Grand Slam. So Safina, time to work or time to retire?

Match of the day: David Nalbandian defeats Lleyton Hewitt
Those two old enemies didn’t disappoint: Nalbandian beat Hewitt in a five set thriller 3-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (1), 9-7. Lleyton Hewitt may harbour some regrets as he wasted two match points and converted only 7 of his 30 break points.
Both players won the same number of points: 193.

Matches to follow on day 3:
Gilles Simon(FRA) vs. Roger Federer(SUI)[2]
Janko Tipsarevic(SRB) vs. Fernando Verdasco(ESP)[9]
Stanislas Wawrinka(SUI)[19] vs. Grigor Dimitrov(BUL)

2010 US Open: day 1 recap

– Tough first round for French Open runner-up Sam Stosur who needs three sets to beat Elena Vesnina. No problem for Kim Clijsters, Venus Williams, Francesca Schiavone and Elena Dementieva.

Roger Federer, Nikolay Davydenko and Andy Roddick cruise through second round in straight sets.
Robin Soderling survives five set scare: the 5th seed overcame 215th ranked Andreas Haider-Maurer after an intense battle 7-5, 6-3, 6-7, 5-7, 6-4. 17th seed Gael Monfils struggles and needs 5 sets to beat 30-year-old Floridian Robert Kendrick.

Upset of the day: Ivan Dodig defeats Fernando Gonzalez 6-7, 6-1, 1-0 retired
Knee injury forced Gonzalez out in the first round of the US Open. It was only his second match since the French Open.

US player of the day: Andy Roddick
2003 US Open champion Andy Roddick turned 28 and advanced to the second round where he’ll meet Janko Tipsarevic.

Pic of the day: Dinara Safina
Last year, she was the number one seed and lost to Petra Kvitova in the third round. This year, ranked n°50, she was ousted by Daniela Hantuchova 6-3 6-4. Sad exit for Dinara, 10 years after his brother’s fantastic US Open victory.