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.

You’re heading to Roland Garros this year? Check out this FAQ:

Are there any Roland Garros tickets left?

Yes!

The Viagogo Roland Garros exchange ticket website allows you to buy or resell tickets until the event date. More infos here.

Two different types of evening tickets are also released for online sale one day in advance. The “Outside Courts Ticket” gives access to the outside courts from 3:00 pm, while the “Evening Visitors Pack” allows you to queue for a chance to obtain a seat in one of the three main courts after 5:00 pm, depending on availability.

How to get to Roland Garros Stadium?

The easiest way to get to Roland Garros is by public transport.

Metro:
Line 10 : Gare d’Austerlitz-Boulogne-Pont de Saint-Cloud
• porte d’Auteuil Station: this station is the closest to Gate B – Mousquetaires, the biggest gate into the Grounds.
• Boulogne-Jean-Jaurès Station: this station is nearest to boulevard d’Auteuil where the least congested gates are located: Gate I – Suzanne-Lenglen, Gate K and Gate L. Waiting time is often less than 5 minutes.
Line 9 : Mairie de Montreuil – Pont de Sèvres
• Michel-Ange-Auteuil Station
• Michel-Ange-Molitor Station

Bus:
Lines 22, 32, 52, 62, 72, 123, 241.

Shuttle buses are also available for the duration of the tourmanent to transport ticketed passengers to and from the stadium.

Where to find the schedule of play?

The schedule of play is released each evening and is posted on the official website as soon as it is made available. It’s handy to have a printed version so that you can see who is playing on what court and in what order.
It is also displayed next to the big screens on Court Suzanne Lenglen and Court number 1.

I want to see Nadal (Federer, Djokovic…) , but I only have outside court tickets, how to do?

In the early rounds of the tournament, practice courts are the best place to get an up-close look at the top players.
Autograph sessions with top players are also held daily at the RG LAB 2050, located at the top of the Allée Suzanne Lenglen – Gate W.

Rafael Nadal

Where to find the practice schedule?

Good question. Sometimes they put it on twitter but usually practice has already finished when they take time to tweet it. Don’t bother asking a steward, much of the time they don’t know or they don’t want to say and more often than not they have no clue of what’s going on.
So, arrive early, wander around the grounds, and ask a Spanish, Swiss, Serbian fan, or a TV crew, they probably know where and when Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and co practice.

May I bring food into the Stadium?

Yes, and you should of course, because food in the stadium is overpriced – about 3 euros for a Pepsi Can – , not so good quality and queues are long.
There are lots of bakeries, fast food places, and a large Monoprix on the rue d’Auteuil where you can buy sandwiches, drinks…

How is red clay made?

Red clay is a complex mixture of several materials. The playing surface on each court is composed of a 8cm layer of sand, a 15cm layer of volcanic rock, a 8cm layer of limestone. It is topped off with a few millimeters of powdered red brick dust. The crushed red brick is pressed into the limestone and drenched in water. This process is repeated until a thin compact layer of clay coats each court.

What to do when it rains?

Roland Garros doesn’t have any courts with roofs, so when it rains, play stops. There isn’t a lot of covered space to hide. To kill time you could visit the stands and boutiques, take part in the activities at the RG LAB 2050 or have a break at Les Jardins de Roland Garros restaurant.
If play has lasted less than two hours over the entire day, you may be eligible for a refund.

Who are the favorites for Roland Garros 2013?

Men:
Nadal broke Borg’s record last year and won his 7th French Open title in 8 years. As long as he’s healthy he’s the favorite on his beloved red clay. Other contenders are the usual suspects: Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

Roland Garros 2013 men's winner?

  • Rafael Nadal (49%, 91 Votes)
  • Novak Djokovic (26%, 48 Votes)
  • Roger Federer (17%, 31 Votes)
  • Juan Martin Del Potro (3%, 5 Votes)
  • Other (2%, 3 Votes)
  • David Ferrer (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Tomas Berdych (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Andy Murray (1%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 185

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Women:
The women’s draw is more open: Victoria Azarenka, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Li Na and Sam Stosur are the main contenders.

Roland Garros 2013 women's winner?

  • Serena Williams (41%, 66 Votes)
  • Maria Sharapova (35%, 56 Votes)
  • Victoria Azarenka (9%, 15 Votes)
  • Other (4%, 7 Votes)
  • Li Na (3%, 5 Votes)
  • Sam Stosur (3%, 5 Votes)
  • Agniezska Radwanska (2%, 3 Votes)
  • Angelique Kerber (2%, 3 Votes)
  • Petra Kvitova (1%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 162

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Maria Sharapova

What is the Perrier Legends Trophy?

The Legends Trophy (Trophée des Légendes) brings together twenty-four of history’s greatest champions, grouped according to age in the two men’s draws, and twelve former women’s tennis stars. It is a great opportunity to watch some former champions play in a friendly and funny atmosphere.
Matches are played on court 1 and court Suzanne Lenglen during the second week of the French Open.

What is the Roland Garros Kids Day?

Previously known as Benny Berthet Day, Roland Garros Kids Day is a charity event, devoted to fund raising for charitable organisations. On the eve of the tounament’s opening day, tennis stars are invited to take part in one set exhibition matches. So, for 20 euros, you can watch some of the top players in action and help a good cause!

Nadal and co

Where in Paris can I watch the French Open on a big screen?

A giant screen deployed at Paris City Hall will be broadcasting the major matches from the 2013 French Open.
Location: Esplanade de L’Hotel de Ville, Metro Hotel de Ville (Line 1, 11)

Who was Roland Garros?

Not a tennis player, but a French national hero who perished in World War I. Roland Garros was a pioneer aviator who made the first solo flight across the Mediterranean Sea. He was killed in aerial combat in 1918.

Hope it helped prepare your day at Roland Garros. If you have any question, leave a comment below and I’ll try to answer.

FWOTD #2: TERRE BATTUE – Red clay

Safina coup droit

The surface is made up of natural clay covered with crushed brick as a fine surface dressing. This layer 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.

Read More