Well not the ideal start to the Roland Garros experience… but maybe just what the doctor ordered (pardon the pun).
I have not been well at base camp for a few days, but as I arrived in Paris yesterday I took a turn for the worst. In between practice sessions, bed has been calling and today I managed to see the Doctor on site who has ordered me to the hotel with antibiotics and numerous other pills to take. The last time I saw the Doc was in Melbourne for the Aussie Open. It is so convenient at these events and is one of the many reasons that I call it a ‘real tournament’.
The boys do not realise…yet, how amazing these events are. It is what we all spend hour upon hour on the practice court and in the gym for. Very few make the grade, but those that do lead a brilliant life. I hope it inspires our boys to where they want to spend their career. It beats Graves Indoor Tennis Centre British tour any day!
So what makes a Grand Slam so special? The crowds, the excellent services the players receive, the courts, the general atmosphere. It is an ‘event’. Today we turned up early to gain our accreditation (our pass that gets us in everywhere, like Gold Dust!) We then cheekily jumped onto one of the outside courts and ended up practising for 1 hr 40 mins – the last 45 mins in front of over 100 people including The Times’ tennis writer Neil Harman, among other autograph and photo hunters all homing in on JWH. A funny story as we entered the grounds – some little kid ran up behind us with a big grin on his face, got in front of Josh ready to ask for his autograph, looked him straight in the eyes, his smile left his face and he ran back off.. It was JWH not JWT! (Jo-Wilfred Tsonga) it seems to be a common theme here.
After practice the guys handed their rackets in for stringing – there are over 20 stringers here all working tirelessly around the clock, the players are nothing without their tools! Then it was off to the changing rooms, not before the boys signed in for doubles. They nearly missed the deadline in Australia and had till 7pm to `enter`, so this was monitored closely. Each player get their own locker, there is fruit, drinks, TVs with all the courts on and a really nice environment to chill out inside the changing rooms. Today, Tommy Haas was in there preparing for his match vs Gasquet. It is great for the players to rub shoulders with these guys.
There is a nice cafeteria for the players, an area to chill out with computers, you can get a free hair cut, a full medical centre which I took good use of today…you start to get the idea. It is a ‘real tournament’.
I feel fortunate to be here and hope this clears up fast, so I can first and foremost be there for the boys and pass on good energy, but I also intend to take in the whole experience and if it does not motivate the players, it is most certainly inspiring me for more.
Play to Win
Director, SotoTennis Academy
Inspiring Excellence | Tennis Academy Spain