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Report: French Open 2013

Novak Djokovic mourns 'incredible' tennis coach Jelena Gencic at Roland Garros

Novak Djokovic after his match against Tommy Haas
Novak Djokovic after his match against Tommy Haas Reuters/Philippe Wojazer

On day 11 we learned that Maria Sharapova can keep her poise, Rafael Nadal is just happy to be back and Novak Djokovic is running on emotion. The last days of Roland Garros is generating enough material for a movie script.

  • Back stories abound as we reach the business end of the tournament. Rafael Nadal revealed that he had no ambitions when he returned to the circuit in January after seven months off, due to injury. He just wanted to be competitive. Six titles, two finals and one semi-final since he trod anew onto the courts suggest that the Spaniard has surpassed expectations.
  • Novak Djokovic’s hinterland involves his first coach Jelena Gencic. She died last week at the age of 77. She was the one who discovered him and encouraged his talent. The world number paid her a fulsome tribute saying that she taught him things that he has carried throughout his life. “I have the nicest memories of her and this is something that will stay forever,” he said. “And hopefully I will be able to follow up her legacy because she left so much knowledge to me and the people who were close to her. She was one of the most incredible people I ever knew.”
Roland Garros 2013
  • With the Djokovic-Nadal hinterland/backstory jostling for supremacy, it’s a crying shame that the two will meet in the semi-final. But this mere bagatelle shouldn’t stop the entertainment complex from jolting into overdrive. We’ve got Nadal, plagued by injuries, wondering if his clench-fisted Vamos-screaming days are done and Djokovic doing it for the Gipper. This semi-final is pure Hollywood.
  • It’s not just the boys who have tales to tell. The good scream Sharapova was beset by shoulder injuries a few years back wondering if her decibelle days were done. But she came back to claim Roland Garros last year and join the hallowed group of players who have won titles at all four grand slam venues. World number one Serena Williams has been in that pantheon for more than a decade. She, in fact, has returned from a life-threatening illness in 2011 to be the queen of the circuit. Roland Garros 2013 would be her 16th grand slam success.
  • It’s tough living in the shadows. There are a few other players involved in the semi finals. Sara Errani, the Italian fifth seed is up against Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka from Belarus will try to stop Maria Sharapova. David Ferrer, the Spanish fourth seed is into the semis too. And the Frenchman Jo-Wilifried Tsonga has made the last four at Roland Garros for the first time in his career. Yannick Noah was the last Frenchman to win Roland Garros and he went on to launch a do-whatever-I-like lifestyle. If Tsonga were to don the Roland Garros crown in the age of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, well, the question is who’d be cast as the other players?


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