No one can deny that the Zverev/Millman encounter actually became quite a potboiler instead of the one-sided slog punters were anticipating. A freezing cold Chatrier stadium was unappealing in the early morning.
The Aussie is the absolute personification of the repetitive grind. He retreats after delivery and 15 identical back court double handers later either survives it or is himself ground down. Zverev with his prodigious reach, and the occasional drop shot offers a little more but at least goes for it!
The premier court at Garros is also similar to the fare served up on court-soulless, unfinished and not one for the fainthearted. Lifts abound but getting into a service elevator among the unmarked concrete corridors is a fate open to any wandering unsuspecting ticket holder
A straight sets win is not normally a scenario you might embrace, but the Bautista Agut/Steve Johnson encounter had much of which the former confrontation needed. On the one hand the unassuming and well mannered Spaniard and on the other his peppery opponent.
Johnson almost plays a 60s game with the ability to switch to two hands when he needs to. A modern robot against yesterday’s chancer. Johnson mirrored the clash of styles all fans love except these days it rarely proves successful. Quite a few of the young watchers had never seen volleys played outside the knock up so what a new experience for them.
One day, and I’m still waiting, the all court gladiator will return; but in whose lifetime I am not sure since we have only one exponent, do we not? Please don’t leave Roger — the game might die without you!