The great Martina Navratilova is here working for The Tennis Channel and has been as strong in her opinions as ever, including suggesting that all grand slam events follow the US Open and play a final set tiebreak. This, she says, would enable players not to ruin their chances of further progress in the event by edging into John Isner-Nicolas Mahut territory. The nine-times Wimbledon champion always enjoys coming to Europe but she did have one criticism of the French Open. “Paris is supposed to be the gastronomic capital of the world and the food in the players’ restaurant is really not good,” she told France 4 Television. “It’s the worst food at any of the grand slams.”
Former player Tatiana Golovin, working for France 4, said things had actually improved in the last few years, saying that when she was playing the only things on offer were pains au chocolat and the odd panini. Well, I am sure we can take Martina’s word and certainly the players’ restaurant at Roland Garros is much smaller than the ones in Australia, Wimbledon and the US Open so perhaps the facilities have something to do with it. But when it comes to the food on offer both in the grounds and available for the press, the opposite is true. The press restaurant at Court Suzanne Lenglen is without doubt the best at any of the grand slams, with nice food, outdoor seating and even a drop of vin available, if required. For the record, the one at the US Open is verging on a disgrace.
Aranxta Rus is the first Dutch woman to reach the last 16 at the French Open since Brenda Schultz-McCarthy made it to round four here in 1993. Rus upset Julia Georges of Germany to make it through and now plays Kaia Kanepi of Estonia. When unseeded players do better than expected, you often hear stories of how they have had to switch hotels because they only booked for the first few days, not believing they would still be in the event for so long. Sometimes they even end up sharing with others, because they can’t find a hotel, or they want to save money. Guaranteed 80,000 euros even if she loses on Monday, Rus may have upgraded herself but a couple of Dutch radio journalists are among those who were taken by surprise by her success, reportedly looking for a place to stay to cover her fourth-round match.