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Roland-Garros 2022: “We are happy to be back”

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The 2022 edition of Roland-Garros opened in a festive atmosphere on Sunday. After two years marked by health restrictions, a return to normalcy delights the regulars of Porte d’Etuile.

The smile is back at Roland-Garros. Hidden by a mask for two years and troubled by health restrictions due to COVID-19, the teeth of tennis fans are no doubt about their joy to be back at Porte d’Etuil for the French Grand Slam tournament.

For many, the question of missing a minute does not arise, even if it means waiting to enter the campus from 10 am onwards. A quick photo with a statue of 13-time winner Rafael Nadal on Parisian soil, and it’s time to settle for customizing your day.

>> Read also: Roland-Garros 2022: Seven players to follow

Claire and Delphine, 26, are two regulars at the Paris tournament. They are “their 5”. are also onAnd or 6And Edition” and Claire also worked for the tournament for a year. Both describe themselves as “Team Nadal”.

“We are glad to be back”, they admit, while two friends were among the unlucky ones who withdrew their tickets during the previous edition due to the introduction of tighter gauges.

Claire and Delphine, Roland-Garros regulars © Alaua Mezziani, France 24

In 2021, the tournament in Paris knew everything: restrictive gauges limiting public arrivals, a curfew that prevented spectators from staying until late in the evening for “night sessions”, and finally the first to use it. French program. Implementation of Health Pass.

Two Picardy won’t miss the tournament for anything in the world: “We’re in the mood, we can see the players up close, we try to take pictures with them … and we even watch some matches” , Claire smiles, eager to organize their route Porte d’Auteuil as closely as possible to meet the players already at the end of their training.

“It’s Stylish”

François, 27, is far from the experience of two young women. For neo-Paris, it’s a great find: “It’s big, it’s stylish, the infrastructure is impressive”, stars in their eyes. “My whole family is a fan of tennis. Less me, even though I have a lot of television memories associated with Roland-Garros. It’s nice to be there in real life.”

François and Quentin explore Port d’Etuil © Alaua Mezziani, France 24

The young man came with 26-year-old Quentin, who is also a novice in Port d’Etuil. To his credit: only a Roland-Garros as a school of which he has only “few memories”. The two friends hope to enjoy the day with their tickets to Simone-Matthews court. For them, youth Spanish event Carlos Alcaraz is the favourite.

>> Read also: Who is Carlos Alcaraz, the new prodigy of Spanish tennis?

“Nostalgia for the old Roland-Garros”

François and Quentin’s inexperience stands in stark contrast to the 27-year-old Mark’s long history with the tournament. The man who describes himself as a “passionate tennis player” has already experienced nearly twenty Roland-Garros as a spectator, the first dating back to 1991. This year, he was accompanied by his family: his wife Aureli, his son Camille and his nephew and godson Jean, who had come specially from Bordeaux for his first tennis experience. He is able to talk for hours about his fondest memories at the Paris tournament.

“It’s my first time. It’s beautiful, it’s impressive,” said Jean, who is a fan of Nadal and Stanislas Wawrinka. “Me, I love Sisyphus”, adds his cousin. Even if the whole family is unanimous on one name: Roger Federer – who will unfortunately be absent this year.

After recalling two “Covid editions”, “two editions that leave no trace”, Mark takes a critical look at the site’s development and the tournament, started in 2011 and completed in 2021. During this decade of work, the surface area of ​​the site was increased from 8.5 to about 12 ha, a new court was inaugurated in the tuil Greenhouse Gardens, Simone-Matthews. Finally, the uncertainties of the weather have now been mitigated with the possible coverage of the Philippe-Chatier Court, the central court with approximately 15,000 seats, thanks to a retractable roof that was operational since last year. However, for Mark, these actions have also distorted the site a bit.

Criticizing the tennis fan, “I’m nostalgic for the old Roland-Garros. Previously, the courts were less imposing, it felt less crowded. The aisles were wider.” “And on top of that, prices are going up. We get less for our money.”

Mark, a complete tennis and Roland-Garros fan, came with his wife Aureli, their son Camille and his nephew Jean. © Alaua Mezziani, France 24

They also regret the disappearance of court n°1, a circular enclosure now replaced by the Jardin des Mosquiteres. “It was the best court for me, with great matches. There were few people but there was an incredible resonance and atmosphere,” he laments.

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