Rafael Nadal, Roland Garros magazine

Prior to Roland Garros 2015, Rafael Nadal talked to Roland Garros Magazine about his past decade at Roland Garros. Here are a few extracts:

2003 and 2004: injuries

In 2003, I was high enough in the rankings (No. 87) for direct acceptance into the main draw but I hurt my elbow, so I had to withdraw.

In 2004, I had a bad left foot injury and I was off from April until July. This time though I came to Paris as I was invited by one of my sponsors. It was the first time that I’d been at Roland Garros. I was on crutches, but it didn’t stop me from going all the way to the top of the stands at Philippe Chatrier Court. I sat on one of the seats to the right of the court to drink in the atmosphere. It’s a fond memory for me. I was disappointed not to be able to play but deep down, I knew that sooner or later I would be able to take part in the tournament.

Tennis on clay:

Tennis on clay is the most complete expression of the sport as far as I’m concerned. The rallies are longer since the surface is slower, so you have to construct every point and implement a strategy to try to grind down your opponent. You need to be more patient, know how to defend and find a way to take control of points. And if you like this surface and feel at home on it, Roland Garros is obviously the temple of clay. It’s a unique point in the season.

2005, first Roland Garros trophy:

I’d won a lot of titles on clay – in Brazil, Acapulco, Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome, so I had a lot of confidence. I knew that I had the game and the strength to go deep. During the tournament, I just took one match at a time, but I knew that if I played my best, I could achieve something.
When I see myself in 2005, I see a player with an incredible energy and enormous powers of concentration. I was on such a good form. I played with real intensity and passion. I was young and I had a carefree attitude you would expect of a 19-year-old. In the final against Mariano Puerta, I knew that it would be a difficult match and that’s what it was. But I knew that anything was possible. This win will always be a key moment in my career. In the space of two months, I went from No. 50 in the world to winning Roland Garros. I handled it well in my head, because after this win, I stayed the same, I carried on working hard to keep on the right path as best I could.

It’s true that after that first win, I thought “That’s it, my dream has come true, so now the rest of my career, I will be calmer.” But I’d got it all wrong. Because each season, it was the same thing – you’re nervous, you want to win because you want to get back that indescribable feeling of emerging victorious at a Grand Slam tournament. So this feeling of calm that I thought I had got with that win turned out to be very temporary because a few months later, the tension and the desire to give it my all came back – stronger than before.

Not only the King of clay:

Winning at Roland Garros gives you the strength and the confidence to win elsewhere. Because when you start winning, you get into a virtuous circle: winning boosts your confidence, it makes you calmer, you gain more experience and it gives you a healthy dose of positive energy. Roland Garros is therefore a unique tournament in my career because it also enabled me to win on hard courts, on grass and everywhere else. In 2005, a lot of people thought that I could only play on clay, but after I won the French Open, I went on to win the Masters 1000 in Montreal and the tournament in Madrid (then played on hard courts), so I was good enough to win on other surfaces.

2008, 2012, 2014:

Lots of things have happened to me at Roland Garros. 2008 for example was the year that I was further ahead the pack than ever before. I didn’t drop a set and think that this is the tournament where I played my best tennis.
In 2014 against Novak Djokovic, it was the toughest final physically. I’d never felt that tired – at the end of the first set as well. It was very hot, humid and muggy even though it had been quite cool throughout the fortnight. My body struggled with it. I also had some fitness problems during this tournament.
In 2012, I had cortisone injections to play because my knee was hurting. Thee was another year, I forget which one, when I also needed injections, this time on my foot. But injuries and fitness issues are part and parcel of being a tennis professional. With hindsight, I can see that the injuries led to me missing some important moments and tournaments but at the same time, they allowed me to put into perspective everything that I’ve achieved.

Rafael Nadal, Roland Garros Magazine


That defeat in 2009 was a hard one to swallow, I won’t deny that, but at the same time it wasn’t a tragedy. You mustn’t blow it out of proportion. I’d won the tournament in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008. And I told myself that I wasn’t going to win Roland Garros every year and that’s normal, I can actually lose, I know that, so I went home and decided to prepare as best I could to try to win it again.


It was a very special victory. Even if I didn’t drop a set this year, it wasn’t as easy as in 2008. I was coming from a long way back. 2009 was a very tough year, both personally and physically. I hurt my knee before Roland Garros then after that it was my stomach muscles during the American swing. I went through some bad times. And after all that, I came back and won Roland Garros again. I was very, very emotional, and this win was the starting point of an exceptional period because I went on to win Wimbledon and the US Open. And once again it all started at Roland Garros.

Source: Roland Garros Magazine

Also read:
Roland Garros 2005: Nadal defeats Puerta
Roland Garros 2014: a fan’s perspective on Nadal’s win
Roland Garros 2015 coverage

Serena Williams poses with Roland Garros trophy

Serena Williams with Roland Garros trophy

Following her hard-fought win over Lucie Safarova in the Roland Garros final, Serena Williams posed with her trophy in front of the Eiffel Tower for the delight of the photographs and the fans. A big thanks to Loic for the pics.

Also read:
Roland Garros 2015 coverage
Serena Williams at Hotel Royal Monceau
Roland Garros 2014: Maria Sharapova with trophy
Roland Garros 2013: Serena Williams with trophy

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic’ road to the final

Djokovic didn’t dropped a set in his first five matches but was pushed to five sets by Andy Murray in the semies. If he wins on Sunday he will become the eight male player to achieve the career Grand Slam, after Fred Perry, Donald Budge, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Round Opponent Score
R1 Jarkko Nieminen 6-2 7-5 6-2
R2 Gilles Muller 6-1 6-4 6-4
R3 Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-4 6-4 6-4
R4 Richard Gasquet [20] 6-1 6-2 6-3
QF Rafael Nadal [6] 7-5 6-3 6-1
SF Andy Murray [3] 6-3 6-3 5-7 5-7 6-1
Stan Wawrinka’s road to the final

Stanislas Wawrinka

With a win on Sunday, Wawrinka could become the first junior champion to win the men’s title since Mats Wilander in 1988.

Round Opponent Score
R1 Marsel Ilhan 6-3 6-2 6-3
R2 Dusan Lajovic 6-3 6-4 5-7 6-3
R3 Steve Johnson 6-4 6-3 6-2
R4 Gilles Simon [12] 6-1 6-4 6-2
QF Roger Federer [2] 6-4 6-3 7-6
SF Jo-Wilfried Tsonga [14] 6-3 6-7 7-6 6-4

Read More

Clijsters, Navratilova, Hénin, Fernandez, Davenport, Roland Garros 2015

Clijsters, Navratilova, Hénin, Fernandez, Davenport

It’s always a joy for me to watch former great champions battle on the court. I really had a great time watching the final of the Legends Trophy opposing Martina Navratilova and Kim Clijsters to Lindsay Davenport and Mary Joe Fernandez. 18 + 4 + 3 that’s 25 singles Grand Slam titles on the court!
Every time I see her play I’m amazed by Navratilova’s play at the net. She’s in her late 50s but she’s still has it!

Clijsters and Navratilova captured the title for the second year in a row (I can’t remember the score…). And guess who presented the trophy? None other than 4-time Roland Garros champion Justine Henin.

Serena Williams, Roland Garros 2015
Serena Williams road to the final

Much tougher than expected for Serena Williams who rallied four times (!) from one set down to reach the final. The best-ranked player she faced being Sara Errani, seeded 17. Sick in the semifinals, she beat the surprising Swiss Timea Bacsinszky after much drama.

Round Opponent Score
R1 Andrea Hlavackova 6-2 6-3
R2 Anna-Lena Friedsam 5-7 6-3 6-3
R3 Victoria Azarenka [27] 3-6 6-4 6-2
R4 Sloane Stephens 1-6 7-5 6-3
QF Sara Errani [17] 6-1 6-3
SF Timea Bacsinszky [23] 4-6 6-3 6-0

Serena will be the huge favorite to lift the trophy on Saturday. That what she said about the pressure to be the player to beat year after year:

It’s not easy. Some days I feel it and the pressure gets to you. It’s kind of hard when you go to every single match and you’re the favourite to win and it’s bigger news when you lose than when you win. But there’s one thing that I learned when I was really young, when I had an opportunity to work with Billie Jean King. She said “Pressure is a privilege”. I’m in a position of privilege to be able to feel that pressure.

Lucie Safarova’s road to the final

Lucie Safarova

Round Opponent Score
R1 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-6 7-6
R2 Kurumi Nara 6-2 6-0
R3 Sabine Lisicki [20] 6-3 7-6
R4 Maria Sharapova [2] 7-6 6-4
QF Garbine Muguruza [21] 7-6 6-3
SF Ana Ivanovic [7] 7-5 7-5

A Wimbledon semifinalist last year, Lucie Safarova reached her first Grand Slam final without losing a set, an impressive feat when you look at the players she faced: defending champion Maria Sharapova, Sabine Lisicki, Garbine Muguruza… She beat Ana Ivanovic 7-5 7-5 in the semifinals, after an nerve-wrecking end of match. Watch Lucie’s joy after the last point:

A popular player on the WTA tour, Safarova was congratulated by current and former players on Twitter after her victory over Ana Ivanovic in the semifinals:

Asked if the “good girl” could win the title she said:

I hope so. I think sport should be about fair play. I think people should be nice to each other. Doesn’t matter if it’s in sports or in general. So that’s what I’m trying to do, even here. I have a few good friends on tour. It’s not easy when you play them, but that’s life.

Serena Williams – Lucie Safarova head to head: 8-0

Lucie Safarova has never beaten Serena Williams in eight meetings. Their most disputed match was in fact their first back in 2007, won by Serena 7-6 in the third.

Year Tournament Surface Winner Score
2014 Beijing R16 Hard Serena Williams 6-1 1-6 6-2
2014 Montreal R16 Hard Serena Williams 7-5 6-4
2013 Charleston QF Clay Serena Williams 6-4 6-1
2012 Charleston F Clay Serena Williams 6-0 6-1
2011 Toronto QF Hard Serena Williams 4-6 6-3 6-2
2009 Toronto QF Hard Serena Williams 6-3 6-2
2007 Miami R32 Hard Serena Williams 6-3 6-4
2007 Hobart R16 Hard Serena Williams 6-3 3-6 7-6

So, epic battle or routine win? Serena or Lucie? Who do you think will win? Please share your thoughts.
I’ll be watching the final at Roland Garros tomorrow and I’ll be rooting for Safarova, hoping she won’t be taken by nerves.

Who will win Roland Garros 2015?

  • Serena Williams (43%, 105 Votes)
  • Maria Sharapova (30%, 73 Votes)
  • Simona Halep (11%, 28 Votes)
  • Ana Ivanovic (4%, 10 Votes)
  • Eugenie Bouchard (3%, 8 Votes)
  • Other (3%, 8 Votes)
  • Caroline Wozniacki (2%, 6 Votes)
  • Petra Kvitova (2%, 5 Votes)
  • Carla Suarez Navarro (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Ekaterina Makarova (0%, 1 Votes)
  • Andrea Petkovic (0%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 247

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