Paris | Roland Garros introduce ‘The Entree’

Have you noticed that Grand Slams these days are becoming increasingly overwhelmed with all kinds of ridiculous additions. They seem to be obsessed with embellishing the event they host, and thus getting one over the other three majors! Roland Garros is no exception.

A few observations then here and there. Among the thousands of press releases disgorged by the Press Office, for instance, concerns a special draw for the 9 or 10-year-olds who play for the right to accompany their favourite star player on court. In effect this is a draw for the much-coveted walk on part with the big star!

The FFR glibly refer to this as the Dream Entrance (their words not mine!). Once this is done they can then be part of the coin toss process alongside the Umpire. The next step will doubtless be to smother these children with advertising slogans so for those few moments in the limelight they become the message.

The new Simonne Maththeu arena, making its debut, seems to mix authentic matches with bizarre show biz pairings. Puzzling for the spectator. Today’s treat includes the chance to see Miss France, jazz singer Vianney, and the apparently world famous Chinese actor Ding Dong. Seriously! All this in a floral setting reminiscent of Chelsea Flower Show.

On the admin front withdrawals and Injuries are the mainstay diet of the press office, an avalanche at the moment, since the paper chase which ensues, includes every one of dozens of events. Therefore just in case you needed to know whose knee has given up in the celeb family doubles H/Q will let you know long before the player reaches a hospital!

Getting online help here is as difficult as getting tea without hot milk! Shoulder shrugging is the response to any request but there again then this is France after all, and they don’t want to make it easy for us at the moment. All that said, I’m sure once the tennis really starts to flow I will be all smiles.

With thunder and lightning forecast for the first couple of days though we could be in for a rocky ride!



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