After a week of fretting about the prospect of rain derailing my plans to see the French Open women’s final, Saturday turned out to be an absolutely perfect day of tennis, not only because of the rain-less weather, but because I got to share one of my favorite things of all time (watching tennis, specifically while eating dessert) with one of my best friends.
I went to Roland Garros for the first time last year and this year it felt even more like a theme park for tennis lovers (a sophisticated, French theme park!) After passing through some seriously beefed-up security (three bag checks and one pat-down), we were greeted by tons of new eating and souvenir shopping opportunities, as well comfy lounge chairs and bean bags for watching tennis on the big screens. We even got our picture taken with some actors dressed like old-timey tennis players! I would take this over Disneyland any day! 😀
Maybe the atmosphere was extra festive because the day’s match promised to be particularly exciting. Serena Williams was attempting to win her 22nd Grand Slam, which would tie her with Steffi Graff for the Open Era record, while her 22 year-old Spanish opponent, Garbine Muguruza, who beat Serena two years ago at Roland Garros in a massive upset, was trying to win her first.
After picking up our hot dogs and fries, Danlu and I were ambushed by a reporter with a microphone and cameraman, who asked us who we were rooting for in the match. Totally unprepared, I blurted our “Serena.” When kindly asked why I was supporting Serena, I said, “Because she’s American. And she’s the best.” LOL! I meant to sound ironic but the way I said it, she must have thought I was some crazy, Donald Trump-supporting American! Poor Danlu could only reply that she was supporting Serena “because my friend likes her.” I think it’s safe to say that our spellbinding interviews never made it on television. 😛
If I had thought about it for a second, I would have said that I didn’t really care who won the match, as long as it was exciting. And luckily it was! For one, I was really happy with our seats in the grand Philippe-Chatrier stadium and the cloudy, cool weather was perfect for tennis watching.
It was also very cool to see Serena play live for the first time; even from hundreds of feet away, her intensity and presence on the court is palpable. The match itself was also very good; there were a lot of swings in momentum, break points saved, and well-constructed points (although there were also a lot of double faults).
Muguruza seemed a bit nervous at the start but as the match went on she played better and better, and seemed just as intense (and screamed just as loudly), if not more so, than the always intimidating Serena. As this was happening I did my best to explain tennis’ complex scoring system to Danlu and by the end of the match she seemed really into it! One of the great things about watching tennis live is that as a fan you really feel like you have the power to urge your favorite player on when they’re struggling. In the second to last game, when Serena saved three or four match points, you could really see the way she used the energy from the crowd to hang on a little bit longer. Danlu and I were both on the edge of our seats! But Muguruza did an excellent job closing out the match, her first Grand Slam was very well deserved! And her noisy Spanish fans were ecstatic, which was fun to see. 🙂
Normally I don’t follow women’s tennis as closely as men’s tennis, but after seeing these two awesome ladies in action, I think I will give the women the attention they deserve from now on. Tennis is one of the few sports where the achievements of women are just as respected as those of men, and seeing these two awesome ladies in action made me realize just how rarely women are given that kind of respect and support in a high-profile setting.
After the match Danlu and I did some shopping (I thought about getting a dozen different souvenirs but in the end I settled for a match-used tennis ball haha) and got some more food! I was so happy to see that Danlu had a good time, she says she’ll even watch more tennis in the future! 😀
Before dinner we went to the Seine to check out the results of the massive amount of rain we’ve been having lately. Over the weekend the Seine came dangerously close to it’s 1910 peak, when a devastating flood consumed most Paris’ city center. Luckily the river is set to return to normal in the next few weeks, but the Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre both had to close, in order to move their bottom-floor collections to higher ground.
After our flood-related sightseeing mission, Danlu and I shared a charcuterie platter and some wine, followed by some melon balls at another fancy jazz club at the Hotel d’Aubusson. All in all, I can’t imagine a better day! 😀