© Ella Ling


Roland Garros diary - gossip from Paris


All of the grand slam events like to think they have something the others don’t, whether it be the Australian Open with its social hub, Heineken Square, Wimbledon with Henman Hill or the US Open with, well, er, its curly fries. The French Open has its own unique style; the dress code is very much on the chic side of good and the vin rouge flows nicely. But the French Open also has something that none of the others have, which would be a great addition to each of them.

France 4, one of the domestic channels here, have a morning preview/review show of the happenings at Roland Garros, with some good guests and presenters. The chat is fun but the most enlightening thing is the access they have to the locker rooms. Their cameras are allowed in to see how players react within seconds of walking off the court, how they celebrate their wins and how they cope with defeats.

Careful not to be too intrusive, it manages to be interesting and innovative and the players seem to have no problem with it all. Wednesday’s version included clips of Rafa Nadal just before his match, a chat with Richard Gasquet before and after his encounter and various clips. It’s the kind of thing fans love and would be a great addition to Wimbledon, for example. Perhaps ESPN, whose new deal begins this summer, should see if the All England Club can open their doors just a little further. Not too sure they’d allow the footage of Fabio Fognini’s backside that slipped through, so to speak. A blushing Tatiana Golovin, the former player and now television pundit, seemed to enjoy it, though.

It’s back. Janko Tipsarevic, a superb columnist for The Tennis Space, is a genius with a camera and a grand slam tournament and so he is reprising Tipsy Time, his behind-the-scenes insight into what happens at the slams. Self-deprecating and funny, Tipsarevic’s first effort this time – which is part of Eurosport’s Game, Set and Mats (as in Wilander) programme, concerns his haircut and a bit of gentle ribbing of Nenad Zimonjic. It’s well worth a watch, so here’s the link. http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/video/29052012/58/tipsy-time-new-haircut-janko.html

Finally, one of the quirky things Eurosport do is to get the players to answer a series of questions while driving between their hotels and the tournament venue. These can cover almost any subject of their life or the tennis tour, including being asked who they think are the sexiest players on tour. It is a tricky subject, of course, and some of the players don’t want to be seen favouring one above the other. But US Open champion Sam Stosur came up with a novel answer, going for Kader Nouni, the umpire, saying that he has the sexiest voice. Nice work.