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Resurfaced: What's A Typical Day Like At Roland Garros?

  • Posted: May 26, 2020

Resurfaced: What’s A Typical Day Like At Roland Garros? follows Ramos-Vinolas just days before his opening round match in Paris

Editor’s Note: But for the COVID-19 pandemic, Roland Garros would now be underway. During the next two weeks will look back on memorable matches and happenings at the clay-court Grand Slam, which tournament organisers are now hoping to stage in September. This story was originally published on 28 May 2018.

I get asked all the time what day-to-day life is like as a player, what I do to prepare for events and what I eat. So now I’m going to answer all those questions that my friends, my fans and journalists have about a regular day on the ATP Tour. For some background, I’m getting ready to make my eighth consecutive main draw appearance at Roland Garros. My opening round match is just a few days away. (No. 31 seed Ramos-Vinolas faces Mikhail Kukushkin on Monday).

6:30 am: My day begins. I get up and prepare a breakfast with gluten-free products. I’m not a Coeliac (a person with an autoimmune condition that affects the small intestine and must avoid gluten), I just feel better not ingesting gluten, milk or eggs. We’re sticking to a simple menu this morning: lots of fruit, turkey on bread, and a little rice for the carbs I’ll need ahead of a long day.

Albert Ramos Viñolas

8:30 am:I leave the apartment I’m staying at and get to the Roland Garros grounds via the tournament’s official players’ transport vehicle and begin my daily warmup routine.

Albert Ramos Viñolas

9 am: By this time I’m exercising at the facility’s gym and completing my joint stretches so that I’ll be loose when I step on the court for the first of two practice workouts I’ve scheduled for the day.

Ramos Viñolas y Paire

9:30 am: I’m on Court 5. My practice partner today is Benoit Paire. After a somewhat short but intense practice session, we take a selfie together! It’s just a fun way for us to look back and remember the moment.

Albert Ramos Viñolas

12 pm: I take a shower and get ready for a Q&A session with the media. By 1:30, it’ll be time for lunch. Today I’ll have gluten-free pasta with chicken as fuel ahead of my second workout of the day.

Albert Ramos Viñolas

4 pm: I’m back out on the practice court. This time I’m booked to train with Fernando Verdasco for an hour. Afterward, I take some pictures with my coaches, Jose Maria Diaz and Juan Ros, and also some with Fernando and his coach Guillermo Alcaide and his physiotherapist/physical trainer Javier Bustos Hernan.

Albert Ramos Viñolas

6 pm: I’ve done all the work I’ve had to do at the club, so now it’s time to head back to where I’m staying. Before I get there, though, I have to make a stop at the supermarket. This year, my team decided not to stay at the players’ hotel; we rented an apartment so that means we have to cook and prepare the meals ourselves.

Albert Ramos Viñolas

8 pm: It’s dinner time! We’ve made salad, along with baked chicken and rice for the last meal of the day.

Albert Ramos Viñolas

8:45 pm: My physiotherapist stops by the apartment to provide general treatment and get me ready for tomorrow. Today was a long day and I can use the rest. I’ll be in bed and call it a night by 11.

Albert Ramos Viñolas

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How A First-Round Roland Garros Turnaround Helped Murray To History

  • Posted: May 26, 2020

How A First-Round Roland Garros Turnaround Helped Murray To History

Relive Murray’s five-set win against Stepanek at 2016 Roland Garros

Editor’s Note: But for the COVID-19 pandemic, Roland Garros would now be underway. During the next two weeks will look back on memorable matches and happenings at the clay-court Grand Slam, which tournament organisers are now hoping to stage in September.

Andy Murray entered 2016 Roland Garros in tremendous form, fresh off his second clay-court ATP Masters 1000 title at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. The second-seeded Brit, who didn’t drop a set in Rome, appeared primed for a deep run at the season’s second Grand Slam.

That was until Murray found himself quickly two sets down against Czech veteran Radek Stepanek.

It took a rapid turnaround, an extra day of play, and a little bit of luck, but Murray clawed his way past the 37-year-old 3-6, 3-6, 6-0, 6-3, 7-5 after three hours and 41 minutes.

“It’s an extremely important match for me. It could turn out to be one of the biggest wins of my career, which, it also may not, but to get through that match, it was really, really important for me,” Murray said. “It easily could have gone the other way. When it is pretty much one set to stay in the tournament, you have to have as much energy, intensity as you can.”

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Playing under heavy conditions, Stepanek showed no fear against the World No. 2, stepping into the court and controlling play at every opportunity. Murray knew he had to reverse that trend, and quickly, if he was to avoid a big upset in Paris. But even after levelling the match at two sets apiece, darkness sent the match to a second day.

“I was actually starting to play quite well, and then I had to come out the next day again and do it against a very tough opponent who has a very unorthodox game. Makes it very tricky,” Murray said. “It was not easy at all.”

Stepanek had lost all his momentum, but he got to sleep on it and attempt to reset. He did everything in his power to avoid distractions with the knowledge he only was one set from springing a stunner.

“I got last night so many messages that I gave up my phone to my conditioning coach,” Stepanek said. “I said, ‘I don’t want to see it after the match is over, because nothing is over yet.’”


The Czech served first in the decider, was refreshed, and he put a scare into the second seed. With Murray serving at 4-5, Stepanek twice was within two points of victory. But Murray hung onto his serve, broke Stepanek in the next game, and closed out his win.

“I had a great shot at 30-All: backhand down the line. I felt like I hit pretty well. I hit the top of the net. Then I had a chance at deuce playing a drop shot,” Stepanek said. “The whole match I played it down the line [and for the] first time I tried to play it crosscourt, and these are the small things which made the difference in the end.”

For Murray’s part, it was his ninth comeback from two sets down. He was elated to avoid losing in the first round of a Grand Slam for the first time since the 2008 Australian Open.

“It was obviously an extremely difficult match, very tricky, challenging. Today was pretty stressful,” Murray said. “It’s never easy playing a match over two days, especially when it ended up being just a one-set shootout really in the end, with him always ahead and starting serving… I was always having to play from behind, so it was very tough.”

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In the next round, Murray also was pushed to five sets against home favourite Matthias Bourgue, which he said, “wasn’t as tense as my match against Radek”. It was the next two rounds in which Murray found his rhythm, defeating two of the biggest servers in history — 27th seed Ivo Karlovic and 15th seed John Isner — without losing a set.

His newfound confidence showed against home favourite Richard Gasquet in the quarter-finals. After a tense first two sets, Murray only lost two games in the next two to clinch a four-set victory, setting a blockbuster showdown against defending champion Stan Wawrinka. The Swiss had won three consecutive matches in their ATP Head2Head series, but Murray played what he called, “one of the better matches that I have played on clay throughout my career” to oust Wawrinka in four, making his first final in Paris

“To reach the final of the French the first time, that’s a big moment for me. It’s not an easy thing to do,” Murray said. “I never really expected to be able to do that.
To play the way that I did today after a tough start to the tournament, I was just really, really happy with that.”

Top seed Novak Djokovic rallied from a set down in the championship match to beat Murray 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 for the title. But it was still a tremendous run for Murray. After a close call against Stepanek in the first round, he became the first British man to reach the Roland Garros final since Bunny Austin in 1937.

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Roland Garros Flashback: Santoro Wins Longest Match In History

  • Posted: May 26, 2020

Roland Garros Flashback: Santoro Wins Longest Match In History

All-French battle with Clement spans two days

Editor’s Note: But for the COVID-19 pandemic, Roland Garros would now be underway. During the next two weeks will look back on memorable matches and happenings at the clay-court Grand Slam, which tournament organisers are now hoping to stage in September.

Before John Isner and Nicolas Mahut dominated world headlines with their legendary 2010 Wimbledon encounter, Fabrice Santoro and Arnaud Clement rewrote the record books at 2004 Roland Garros by playing the then-longest recorded match in history.

After six hours and 33 minutes, the 31-year-old Santoro won their all-French first-round battle 6-4, 6-3, 6-7(5), 3-6, 16-14. Their clash, which spanned two days, broke the existing match length record in Paris by a staggering 62 minutes.

“It was a beautiful match,” Santoro said. “It was a great match on a great court in Paris and probably the best crowd ever for us. But aside from the record, I’m happy to know that at the age I’ve reached, I can still play tennis for six hours.”

Fabrice Santoro

Having saved a match point on Monday before darkness halted play at 5-5 in the fifth set, Santoro erased another one when play resumed on Tuesday. With neither player possessing a powerful shot to end points quickly, their rallies were grueling games of chess that featured plenty of spins and angles.

Santoro had difficulty breathing in the final game and found himself down 0/40 when serving for the match at 15-14. But after clawing back to Deuce, he fired an ace and a backhand passing shot winner before collapsing to the ground in delight. As the crowd rose in unison to give both men a standing ovation, Santoro buried his face in a towel and wept.

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“This morning, I strung just two rackets,” Santoro said. “I prepared one litre of drinks before the match. I said, ‘Okay, maybe you will play 10 or 15 minutes, maybe half an hour.’ And we played two hours.”

The Frenchman returned the next day and scored another five-set win against Irakli Labadze before running out of steam in the third round against fellow Frenchman Olivier Mutis. His epic battle with Clement is currently the fifth-longest recorded match in history.

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Kohlschreiber Enjoying Forest Walks & Tractor Work, But Not Done With Tennis

  • Posted: May 26, 2020

Kohlschreiber Enjoying Forest Walks & Tractor Work, But Not Done With Tennis

ATP Uncovered presented by Peugeot caught up with the German veteran

Philipp Kohlschreiber has kept busy at home in Germany during the ATP Tour’s suspension of play due to COVID-19.

Whether riding a tractor, going for a walk with his dog in the forest, or riding one of his wife’s horses, the German has certainly gotten to do things he rarely has had time for during his career.

“In my youth I spent a lot of time on a farm because we lived in the countryside and my friends had farms. I used to ride with someone who drove the tractor digging up potatoes,” Kohlschreiber told ATP Uncovered presented by Peugeot. “This reminds me a bit of my youth and now I’m able to roll the ground in the fields. It’s fun at first, and then it starts to get boring.

“Being at home during such a compulsory break is interesting. Maybe I’ll enjoy it an incredible amount. I can try out new things that I would simply never do otherwise, which is fun.”

Philipp Kohlschreiber

Kohlschreiber has cleaned up after the horses, fed them, and more. Although it’s unclear when, Kohlschreiber knows this won’t be a permanent change. He’s eager to get back on court.

At 36, Kohlschreiber knows he’s closer to the end of his career than the beginning. Currently World No. 74, the eight-time ATP Tour titlist hasn’t been inside the Top 50 in nearly a year. But he’s not ready to hang up his racquet yet.

“Maybe I’ll just wake up one day and say, ‘Okay, today is the right day to stop,’” Kohlschreiber said. “I don’t want to announce it in advance that a certain tournament will be my last. That’s just not me. I would actually like it to happen spontaneously.”

The German says there will be no farewell tour, and he will ultimately make his decision based on a gut feeling. But COVID-19 won’t make that call for him.

“I will appreciate my last year or two on Tour much more [because of it],” Kohlschreiber said.

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He has proven he still has great tennis left in him. The former World No. 16 beat World No. 1 Novak Djokovic at last year’s BNP Paribas Open.

“Maybe it would also be nice to say, ‘Okay, I’m fighting back into the Top 20’, and then call it a day, say, ‘Thanks, that’s it,’ and I’ve once again proven that I could still do it,” Kohlschreiber said. “After all, at some point, there will be life after tennis.”

That future might involve the sport Kohlschreiber has played professionally since 2001.

“All of my know-how is in tennis. Maybe helping young players would be interesting. I can already feel this when I’m practising with sparring partners and future pro players in Munich,” Kohlschreiber said. “I’m already noticing things which I would like to tell and share with them: things that I think they could still improve on, or maybe do differently. I didn’t have that feeling 10 years ago. I didn’t care back then. Maybe looking back at myself I was more selfish. But already now, just being a bit older, I feel I have developed an eye for it, and that appeals to me.”

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The Day A Cramping Roddick Turned Tables On Chang

  • Posted: May 25, 2020

The Day A Cramping Roddick Turned Tables On Chang

All-American clash among best matches of 2001

Michael Chang made his Grand Slam breakthrough at 1989 Roland Garros after overcoming severe cramps to defeat Ivan Lendl en route to winning the title. Twelve years later, he found himself on the same court staring at another cramping American teenager in Andy Roddick.

Their five-set, second-round clash was seen as a changing of the guard in American tennis as the 18-year-old Roddick prevailed 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-5 after three hours and 50 minutes. Roddick, then No. 48 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, grimaced and hopped on one foot between points in the fifth set, even leaning on a linesman for support. But he also broke the record for most aces in a match at Roland Garros (37) since the ATP started keeping stats in 1991.

After Chang hit a backhand wide on match point, Roddick broke down in tears as he hobbled to the net. The crowd rose in unison and began chanting his name. Despite the disappointing defeat, the always classy Chang imparted a few words of wisdom as they shook hands.

“One of the cool moments was when we shook hands and Michael said, ‘Listen, I’ve cramped. I’ve done this before. Here’s what you need to do,’” Roddick recalled to Tennis Channel. “He went point by point as to how I could best recover. It was a real lesson learned on how to prepare yourself going into the match.”

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The similarities between Roddick’s victory and Chang’s heroic comeback in 1989 weren’t lost on the rising American. He cited the match with Lendl as one of his biggest motivators growing up.

“It was going through my head while I was out there,” Roddick said. “That match was one of my first memories of tennis. I went out after it and played for three hours. It really inspired me.”

Although Chang’s best years were behind him in the 2000s, beating him on red clay was still a difficult task. He was full of praise for Roddick afterwards and wanted to see his opponent continue forward in the draw.

“At that point, I figured that I’m out of the tournament and he’s an American. All Americans want other Americans to do well,” Chang said of his advice at the net. “Obviously it was an incredible match… It was ridiculous how high and deep his serve was kicking.”

Roddick was forced to retire midway through his next match with Lleyton Hewitt due to a strained left thigh. Although the American struggled in Paris throughout his career and never reached the quarter-finals, he would go on to capture the 2003 US Open title and finish that season as year-end No. 1.

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Roland Garros Flashback: Nadal's First Five-Setter In Paris

  • Posted: May 25, 2020

Roland Garros Flashback: Nadal’s First Five-Setter In Paris

Relive Nadal’s 2011 five-set victory against Isner

Staring down Rafael Nadal on clay is one of the biggest challenges of modern sport. Doing so on Court Philippe Chatrier, Roland Garros’ centre court, has proven nearly mission impossible.

But in the first round at 2011 Roland Garros, John Isner became the first man to take the Spaniard to a fifth set in Paris. Nadal had five Coupes des Mousquetaires under his belt and a 38-1 record in the French capital — his only loss at Roland Garros had come against Robin Soderling in 2009 — but the big-serving American pushed the lefty to the brink.

Although Nadal would eventually see off the Isner threat, it certainly rocked Nadal’s boat at a venue where he was used to calm waters.

The battle was the epitome of tension, an even match that the Spaniard eventually won 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-7(2), 6-2, 6-4. After more than four hours of hard work, the Spaniard was still fending off the American’s serve, which, even on the slow surface, proved a lethal weapon.

“It was like a penalty shootout”, Nadal reflected. “Isner’s serve is practically unstoppable at the moment. In the tie-break, you’re playing under huge pressure all the time.”

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The American, who connected with 13 aces and took two one-sided tiebreaks, proved a tough nut to crack in the first round of the tournament.

Nadal was rewriting the history of the event and there was one chapter he did not want to add to the book — no Roland Garros champion has lost in the first round the year after claiming the crown. That afternoon in Paris, challenged by his opponent’s vicious serve, the Spaniard’s reflexes and concentration were relentlessly tested.

“The matches are always very close against John because he makes you play with no room for error,” admitted the Spaniard. “At times, in the tie-breaks, I didn’t play well. I was too nervous. He was a very tough opponent for me. I would like to congratulate him on a great match.”

Nadal found another gear when he needed it the most. With his back against the wall and no room for error against an intimidating rival, the Mallorcan produced a great stretch of focus in Paris. In the fourth set, he did not make an unforced error, forcing a deciding set.

With no final-set tiebreak, there were plenty of nerves for everyone involved. But the Spaniard drew on the confidence from his strong fourth set and rode that to victory.

“The way he played in the fourth and fifth set… I had never seen tennis like that,” Isner said. “That’s why he’s the World No. 1 and one of the best players of all-time”.

The sheer effort from the players is testament to the demands of the match.

“At 30/30 in the final game, I needed oxygen. I nearly collapsed. My legs were gone,” Isner said.

Nadal was pushed to the limit, but the champion battled back even harder.

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Rafael Nadal: 'I'm Finally Back On Court'

  • Posted: May 25, 2020

Rafael Nadal: ‘I’m Finally Back On Court’

Spaniard shares first video back at practice

Rafael Nadal released Monday a video on his social media showing the world the first footage of himself back at practice in Mallorca at his Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar.

“Hello everyone, here I am, finally back on court. Happy to be back to my practices,” Nadal said. “I’m super happy, too, that the kids can practise again here at the Rafa Nadal Academy. They are happy, and that’s the most important thing.”

Under normal circumstances, Nadal would be in Paris, chasing a 13th Roland Garros title. But due to the spread of COVID-19, the clay-court Grand Slam is not being held as scheduled, and tournament organisers are now hoping to stage the event later this year. Nadal first posted an image of himself back at practice on 22 May.

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Roland Garros Flashback: Teenage Safin Stuns Agassi In R1

  • Posted: May 25, 2020

Roland Garros Flashback: Teenage Safin Stuns Agassi In R1

Russian scores his first Top 20 win

Editor’s Note: But for the COVID-19 pandemic, Roland Garros would now be underway. During the next two weeks will look back on memorable matches and happenings at the clay-court Grand Slam, which tournament organisers are now hoping to stage in September.

It was always going to be a question of when and not if Marat Safin announced his arrival on Tour. That moment came in his Grand Slam debut at 1998 Roland Garros, when the 18-year-old Russian qualifier stunned Andre Agassi 5-7, 7-5, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 and handed the American his first opening-round defeat in Paris.

Agassi was enjoying a career resurgence and had already climbed from No. 110 to No. 20 that year in the FedEx ATP Rankings. But he struggled to find his footing that day, committing 82 unforced errors and allowing the fearless Russian to dictate their baseline rallies.

“He didn’t serve so well the last three sets,” Safin said. “But his other shots were very good – forehand, backhand. So it doesn’t matter if he serves good or serves bad.”

Safin, then No. 116 in the rankings, already possessed some of the biggest groundstrokes in the game. Although he was still learning how to reign his power in, his knockout punches landed on Court Suzanne Lenglen as the crowd gasped at the speed of his winners.

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Meanwhile, Agassi lamented not playing more aggressively against his opponent. He cited a shoulder injury and said he didn’t feel comfortable swinging out in the latter stages of the match.

“My normal play would be taking a lot of those balls in the air and finishing the point,” Agassi said. “With my shoulder hurting, I was letting those balls drop. I just didn’t close them out.”

Safin’s draw didn’t exactly open up after his breakthrough win. After learning he would face defending champion and No. 8 seed Gustavo Kuerten in the next round, the teenager mentally booked a flight back home.

“I’m not ready to win this tournament,” Safin declared. “I’m very happy to be in the second round, but for sure I will not beat Kuerten.”

But the qualifier did just that, stunning Kuerten in five sets and going on to reach the fourth round. Two years later, Safin secured his first Grand Slam at the 2000 US Open and became World No. 1 two months later.

Agassi’s lowest moment in Paris would be followed by his greatest one. He returned the following year and scored a five-set win over Andrei Medvedev in the championship match to complete his Career Grand Slam, joining Rod Laver as the only men in the Open Era at that time to accomplish the feat.

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Flashback: Trungelliti’s 2018 Family Trip To Roland Garros

  • Posted: May 25, 2020

Flashback: Trungelliti’s 2018 Family Trip To Roland Garros

Argentine made 10-hour car journey from Barcelona to Paris for lucky loser spot

Editor’s Note: But for the COVID-19 pandemic, Roland Garros would be now underway. During the next two week’s will look back on memorable matches and happenings at the clay-court Grand Slam, which tournament organisers are hoping to stage later in the year.

Marco Trungelliti began his 2018 ATP Tour season with two goals. Alongside his ambition to enjoy a breakout year, the Argentine also wanted to reach the main draw at Roland Garros for the third straight season.

Trungelliti entered the tournament with confidence, having won eight consecutive matches from qualifying to claim his maiden ATP Challenger Tour title in Barletta in April. But the 5’10” right-hander fell just short of his goal, losing in three sets to Hubert Hurkacz in the final qualifying round.

“Even though I had come this close to one of my goals, I was still at peace with the outcome,” said Trungelliti. “I felt secure about my level of play and just happy with what I had accomplished so far [in 2018].”

Following his loss, Trungelliti eventually made it back to Barcelona on a delayed flight, where he had relocated a few months earlier with his wife Nadir. His mother, Susi, his grandmother, Lela, and his brother, Andre, were also waiting there. His family had made the trip from Argentina, with plans to see him play in Paris.

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Plan B was soon created, with sightseeing, trips to the beach and barbecue food at the top of the agenda. But one conversation would soon throw those ideas out of the window. During a call with his coach on Sunday morning, the Argentine was told he could still make the main draw in Paris as a lucky loser.

“Grandma, change of plans, pack your bags, we’re going to Paris,” said Trungelliti.

With train strikes and the risk of further flight delays, Trungelliti made the decision to take the trip in his rented Seat Ibiza. With his mother and grandmother in the back seats, Trungelliti and his brother shared driving duties for the 10-hour trip to the French capital. All he had to do was sign in the following morning and he would book his place in the first round against Bernard Tomic at 11am on Court 9.

After arriving at his hotel around midnight, the 28-year-old managed just five hours of sleep before his encounter with the former Top 20 star. But that didn’t stop him from earning a memorable victory and a place in the second round for the third straight year.

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With his 88-year-old grandmother sitting courtside for the first time, unable to keep score, Trungelliti moved past the Aussie in four sets.

“This isn’t the first Grand Slam match I’ve won, but what makes it so special is having my family around me to witness this marvellous moment… I don’t know if what I’ve accomplished is that big a deal; what’s important is that I’ve enjoyed every moment of what led up to this with my family by my side,” said Trungelliti.

Trungelliti’s journey was ended in the second round. The Argentine lost in straight sets to Marco Cecchinato, who went on to defeat Novak Djokovic to reach his maiden Grand Slam semi-final.

From one Marco to another, both players will look back on their remarkable 2018 trips to Paris with fond memories.

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