Roland Garros Day 4: I will follow you into the dark…
We’ve only completed 4 days of play at Roland Garros and already, drama abounds, tempers are flaring … and the crowd? Just as vocal as ever.
All these elements came to an unfortunate mix during the match between Gael Monfils and the freaktastically named Fabio Fognini.
LaMonf took the first two sets 6-2, 6-4 and seemed to be cruising his way to victory when FabFog staged a furious comeback, winning the third and fourth sets 7-5 6-4. He quickly took at a 3-0 lead, but LaMonf found his brain in time, rallying to level the final set at 4 all.
Then the clock struck 9:30pm, and all hell broke loose.
Fabfog requested that umpire Carlos Bernardes stop play because of poor lighting on Phillipe Chatrier. Monfils resisted, and Stefan Fransson – Mr Head Bitch – came onto the court to hear out both sides of the case to no avail. Players argued, fans jeered, and the elder Fognini in the stands made time-out signs, signaling to his son that it’s time to bring out the stall tactics.
Stall he did, and understandably so. Soon, FabFog found himself climbing up the umpire’s chair to plead his case. But Bernardes have having none of Fognini’s eyebrow magic and awarded the Italian a point penalty for time violation. By this stage, the small but raucous crowd was hurling abuses at Fabfog.
Dude, these people stormed the Bastille and chop off their king’s head, yer just don’t cross them.
Fognini eventually reconciled to his fate and held on to a difficult service game for 5-4. Monfils quickly got behind 15-40, giving FabFog two match points. But with both players cramping into the darkness, Monfils saved match points and play was suspended due to what was charitably termed as “poor light”.
Time on the clock? 9:56pm.
Post-match, the senior Fognini, who goes by an equally imaginative name of Fulvio, accused the tournament officials of favoritism.
Indeed, what kind of favoritism allows an umpire to be bullied into submission by a partisan crowd, yet won’t allow Free Shirt Gasquet an extra day of rest after a grueling couple of weeks, or listen to the request of their local No 1.
Q. So you didn’t want to play on Sunday? So you’re surprised, I suppose. You’re French No. 1, we’re in France, this is a French tournament and an important one. Were you surprised? Did it get on your nerves to be imposed to play on a Sunday?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: I expected this question, to tell you what I think about this. Frankly, I was a bit disappointed because I was playing on a Sunday. I had asked not to play on a Sunday, absolutely, because I had practiced in such a way that I thought I wanted to play on a Monday or Tuesday, to be totally fit.
But they imposed it on me. I had to play on a Sunday. I have to accept the rules. This is the game and this is it.
Now, if you’re world No. 80 and you’re not that important in the hierarchy, if I can say, loads of things are imposed on you in this case. What really bothered me is that, you know, if you look at Murray, if he decides on a day or hour at Wimbledon, nobody’s going to impose anything on him.
For Federer in his country it’s the same. In the U.S. I suppose it’s the tame thing for the best American players. I think that Lleyton probably plays in the sun during the Australian Open because he loves the sun and other opponents don’t like the sun. He wants to play in the sun.
Today we’re in France. I’m French. I’m French No. 1. I would have thought it was legitimate for me to be listened to, that I would be given a choice. They should listen to me when I wanted to play or start.
But I accepted the rules, and that’s all. I’m disappointed. That’s true, because I expected a bit more from the organization and the rest, but this is the way it is. I mean, had I lost on Sunday because I was not feeling good, then many people would have been disappointed. This would have been a bit silly, I think.
But it wasn’t the case, so I’m here, and I’m fit. I’m ready to play. This story will continue, and that’s the end of the story.
Some kind of demented favouritism that is.
Not to be outdone by the controversies of the men’s tour, the women of tennis staged their favourite kinda show – cat fight. This is war bitches.
When asked about the media attention on Rezai despite Bartoli being the higher ranked player, Marion replied:
“I don’t give a damn,” she said. “I don’t need this to be motivated, frankly. I’m not jealous about anybody else’s results. I don’t envy anybody. I do my job every day.”
When asked about her ambitions, Bartoli made an apparent reference to Rezai when she said, “There is no ambition, you know. The player who had ambition is the player you mentioned before.”
Rezai zinged back.
“Marion is a difficult girl. She already attacked me two years ago when I reached the final in Istanbul,” said Rezai after reaching the French Open third round on Wednesday.
“If she has a problem with me, I don’t know, because I did nothing. That’s a bit of a shame, but that’s her education. She has attacked me many times in the press. I don’t have the same education as the one she has.
“I think I have respect for players. I get on with many people. But with Marion, it’s very difficult. She has difficulties getting included with the other girls.”
“That’s her education”? Oh Aravene, paraphrasing the Head Bitch now, are we?
Of course, all this feuding just serves to remind us all of one thing: WE ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF WAR BITCHES.
It’s time to stock up on popcorn, sit back and watch mayhem unfold.