Boris Becker

Boris Becker, looking bored during Djokovic second round win over Philipp Kohlschreiber:

Boris Becker

Becker won the Bercy tournament three times in 1986, 1989 and 1992. He was also finalist in 1990 and 1995.

Former world number one Amélie Mauresmo, now Andy Murray’s coach:

Amélie Mauresmo

Amélie Mauresmo

Amélie Mauresmo

Michael Chang watching Kei Nishikori’s second round win over Tommy Robredo, with his wife and eldest daughter. Roland Garros champion in 1989, he reached the semifinals at Bercy 3 times (1991, 1994, 1999).

Michael Chang

Wawrinka’s coach, Magnus Norman. He never got past the second round as a player, but he was Robin Soderling’s coach when he won the title back in 2010.

Magnus Norman

Magnus Norman

Sébastien Grosjean, during Richard Gasquet’s victory over Denis Istomin. He captured the biggest title of his career here in 2001. Only two other French players won the Bercy title: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 2008, and Guy Forget in 1991.

Sébastien Grosjean

Nicolas Escudé, coach of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. He won the doubles title with Fabrice Santoro in 2002.

Nicolas Escudé

Tennis greatest entertainer Mansour Bahrami. I had the pleasure to see him once again at the Optima Open last August.

Mansour Bahrami

Arnaud Di Pasquale:

Arnaud Di Pasquale

Also seen (but no pics, sorry): Davis Cup captain Arnaud Clément, Bercy tournament director Guy Forget, and former Bercy tournament director Cédric Pioline.

Sadly, my all-time favorite player Stefan Edberg was not in Paris with the Federer team, but at least I managed to see Marat Safin:

POPB

Enjoy our Bercy 2014 coverage on Tennis Buzz.

Sles, McEnroe, Clijsters and Bahrami

My reports on the Optima Open are finally online! This match took place on Saturday, August 16th (read my complete Optima Open report here).

Last match of the day: a mixed doubles exhibition with Kim Clijsters, Monica Seles, John McEnroe and Mansour Bahrami! It’s always a pleasure to see these great champions play and have fun on court.

Players entering the court:

Warm-up:

4-time Grand Slam champion Kim Clijsters, visibly happy to be on court:

Kim Clijsters and Mansour Bahrami

Kim Clijsters

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Optima Open 2014 report

Optima Open

I spent a day in Knokke-Heist, Belgium, last month to attend the third day of the Optima Open, the Belgian stop of the ATP Champions Tour. It was the second seniors event I attended this year after the World Tennis Day showdown in London last March (find all the recap here).

Situated in the heart of the country’s Flemish-speaking Flanders region, Knokke-Heist is considered to be one of Belgium’s most exclusive and affluent seaside resorts. Knokke-Heist is the perfect base for exploring the enchanting Zwin region, on the Belgian-Dutch border.

Knokke

Knokke

Knokke

The tournament has the typical senior event format: 2 groups of 3 players, with the winners of each group facing each other in final. This year the Optima Open also featured a star-studded mixed doubles exhibition event: with three former world number one, winnners of 20 singles Grand Slam titles in total, and tennis’ greatest entertainer, Mansour Bahrami completing the foursome.

Group A Group B Special guests
Fabrice Santoro Xavier Malisse Kim Clijsters
Greg Rusedski Goran Ivanisevic Monica Seles
Henri Leconte Pat Cash John McEnroe
Mansour Bahrami
Sabine Appelmans
Dominique Monami

All results on the official website (Malisse beat Santoro in the final)

Optima Open

Optima Open

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On May 27, 1987, wild card Eric Winogradsky (No. 152) defeated recent Australian Open champion Stefan Edberg (No.3) 7-6 7-6 7-5 in the second round of the French Open. In this interview, Winogradsky talks about his exploit and tells he would have preferred to win the doubles final with his friend Mansour Bahrami.

Interview by L’Equipe, translation by Tennis Buzz

Q: Did you feel you could beat him?
A: I was in a very good period, I had played really well in the weeks preceding the French Open. My first round victory over the American Marcel Freeman (7-6 7-5 6-3) confirmed my feelings of the moment. The match took place during a rainy Wednesday and was interrupted at 4-4 in the second set. This break made me the greater good because I made ​​some adjustments with my coach Georges Goven. Michel Bouche, who had been my coach for 3 years, started talking about something else than tennis and it made me relax a little.

Q: Why that victory that day?
A: Because there are days when you get to control all the parameters especially on an emotional level. Against Edberg, I played well the big points. He was attacking the net a lot, but so did I. I had the courage to challenge him at the net, because I knew I would have had no chance to beat him by staying at the baseline.

Q: What did that victory change for you?
A: A win like that it’s huge! I was not even in the top 100 and I was 21. French tennis stars were Yannick Noah, Guy Forget, Henri Leconte and Thierry Tulasne. Like other players like Thierry Champion or Tarik Benhabiles I had recently turned pro. So, when you beat a top 10 at Roland Garros… This kind of success, very pleasant at the time, becomes difficult to assume when you have difficulties to confirm.

Q: What does it change today?
Long-term it feels good to win such a match even if it’s not my only victory over a top 10. But instead of defeating Edberg I would have preferred to win the doubles final at Roland Garros 1989 with my friend Mansour Bahrami. It is my biggest disappointment.

Eric Winogradsky reached his best ranking (89) in July 1987. He won two doubles titles but never reached a singles final. He was Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s coach during 7 years and now works for the French Tennis Federation.

The talk of the day is of course Ana Ivanovic‘ win over Serena Williams.
According to her coach, Serena blocked her back and neck before her match against Daniela Hantuchova in the third round.
The Serbian reaches the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam for the fisrt time since the 2012 US Open.

A sad end to a terrific tournament for a Casey Dellacqua: she lost the last 8 games of her match against Eugenie Bouchard 6-0. Joining Ivanovic and Bouchard in the quarterfinals are Li Na and Flavia Pennetta.

Australian Open 2014 champion?

  • Serena Williams (49%, 70 Votes)
  • Victoria Azarenka (15%, 21 Votes)
  • Maria Sharapova (12%, 17 Votes)
  • Na Li (9%, 13 Votes)
  • Other (5%, 7 Votes)
  • Caroline Wozniacki (4%, 6 Votes)
  • Jelena Jankovic (3%, 4 Votes)
  • Agniezska Radwanska (2%, 3 Votes)
  • Angelique Kerber (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Petra Kvitova (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Sara Errani (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 144

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No surprise in the men’s draw: Novak Djokovic, Stanislas Wawrinka, David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych progress to the quarterfinals.

Who will be the 2014 Australian Open champion?

  • Rafael Nadal (33%, 92 Votes)
  • Novak Djokovic (28%, 80 Votes)
  • Roger Federer (27%, 76 Votes)
  • Juan Martin Del Potro (4%, 11 Votes)
  • Andy Murray (4%, 10 Votes)
  • Stanislas Wawrinka (2%, 5 Votes)
  • Tomas Berdych (1%, 3 Votes)
  • Other (1%, 3 Votes)
  • Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Richard Gasquet (0%, 1 Votes)
  • David Ferrer (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 283

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Video highlights:

Tweet of the day: Gisela Dulko

Really happy about her friend’s Flavia Pennetta qualification for the quarterfinals

Video of the day: Henri Leconte and Mansour Bahrami


Matches to follow on Day 8:

Dominika Cibulkova (20) – Maria Sharapova (3)
Sloane Stephens (13) – Victoria Azarenka (2)
Rafael Nadal (1) – Kei Nishikori (16)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (10) – Roger Federer (6)
Agnieszka Radwanska (5) – Garbine Muguruza
Jelena Jankovic (8) – Simona Halep (11)
Andy Murray (4) – Stephane Robert
Grigor Dimitrov (22) – Roberto Bautista Agut

The last Masters 1000 of the season, the BNP Paris Masters starts in about a week. I got the chance to attend the tournament in 2010 and 2011 and I’ll be there again this year, so stay tuned for recaps, pics and videos!

Waiting for the 2012 tournament, here are a few pics and videos of the 2010 tournament won by Robin Soderling.

Robin Soderling

The hard-hitting Swede defeated Simon, Wawrinka, Roddick, Llodra and Monfils to capture his first Masters 1000 title, his sixth career title.

“I don’t have a very good record in finals, and especially here in Paris, but I think a final is that one match you really want to win. I’m really happy that I played well today, and now I’m here winning the title. When I won that last point, I just felt so happy and I felt so relieved. I really wanted to win this match so much.”

Following his win, he reached a career high number 4 ranking.

Soderling has not competed since the 2011 Swedish Open in July 2011 due to injuries and illness and his return to tennis is in doubt.

Robin Soderling

Robin Soderling and Andy Roddick

Gael Monfils

2009 runner-up Gael Monfils qualified for the semifinals after victories over Becker, Verdasco and Murray. He then beat Roger Federer in a three set thriller 7-6 6-7 7-6, but Soderling proved too strong in the final.
Monfils, who was sidelined for several months this year with knee problems, has decided to end his season and won’t play the tournament this year.

Gael Monfils

Gael Monfils

Gael Monfils

Michael Llodra

Llodra, then ranked 34, beat two former Bercy champions, Djokovic and Davydenko, to reach the semifinals in Bercy.
And he was just one point away from the final: he got 3 match points in the 12th game of the final set, but Soderling raced to the net each time for winners.

Michael Llodra

Michael Llodra

Novak Djokovic

Winner in 2009, Djokovic lost to Michael Llodra in the third round of the 2010 tournament. One month later he lead Serbia to their first Davis Cup victory.

Novak Djokovic

Nikolay Davydenko

Davydenko won his first Masters 1000 title at Paris Bercy 2006 by defeating Dominik Hrbaty in the final. In 2010, he defeated Thomaz Bellucci and Tomas Berdych before losing to Michael Llodra.

Nikolay Davydenko

Nikolay Davydenko

Andy Roddick

Despite his powerful weapons, his serve and forehand, Roddick has never done well at Paris Bercy. In 2010, he lost to Robin Soderling in straight sets in the quarterfinals.

In the stands:

Former Roland Garros finalist Magnus Norman and Soderling’s coach at the time:

Magnus Norman

Larry Stefanski, Andy Roddick’s coach:

Larry Stefanski

Amélie Mauresmo:

Amélie Mauresmo

Guy Forget and Mansour Bahrami:

Mansour Bahrami and Guy Forget

More pics and videos of Paris Bercy 2010.