Roland Garros: 5 things we learned on Day 15 - simplicity is the best policy
Women's singles champion Barbora Krejcikova returned on the final day of the 2021 French Open extravaganza in the doubles. And she took home another trophy. Novak Djokovic added to his collection as well. As for the men's post-match ceremony, at one point it was out of this world.
Super uber Barbora
Less than 24 hours after winning the most prestigious trophy of her singles career, Barbora Krejcikova was back on centre court. This time she was with her Czech compatriot Katarina Siniakova to contest the women's doubles final against Iga Swiatek and Bethanie Mattek-Sands. The Czechs claimed the title 6-4, 6-2 to complete a spectacular fortnight for 25-year-old Krejcikova. She’s the first woman to pull off such a double since Mary Pierce in 2000. It was a third trophy for her and Siniakova at a Grand Slam tournament. They won the French Open and Wimbledon in 2018. “Thank you for playing with me,” Krejcikova said to Siniakova with whom she claimed the girls’ doubles in 2013. “I’m happy we’re doing well. These two days have been unbelievable.” Swiatek, who took the singles title in 2020, said: “Winning singles and doubles … I’m speechless … congratulations.” Indeed.
After Barbora Krejcikova beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for the women’s singles title on Day 14, on-court interviewer Fabrice Santoro was virtually handing her the towel as she sat in her seat to take in her triumph. Still in a state of bewilderment, she gamely mangled her way through some instant reactions to the French former tennis star’s questions. After that ordeal, the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen and the runner-up trophy were brought out by medical workers. This was a gesture of solidarity from the organisers towards the nurses and doctors who have tried to keep us alive during the coronavirus pandemic. But the duo were in their medical garb - as if that’s what they wear in their trophy- carrying leisure time. And then after the Czech-born tennis legend Martina Navratilova presented Krejcikova with the trophy, there was a question and answer session between the two. Then out came Barbara Pravi to sing the French entry to the Eurovision song contest as everyone stood around like lemons. Zany. So the review went along to the women’s doubles final to see what treasures the organisers would unleash upon us. Nada. The runners-up made simple speeches and so did the winners. And pictures were taken as Caribou’s track Can’t Do Without You boomed funkily out of the stadium PA system. Krejcikova and Siniakova smiled and kissed their trophy. All really joyous. Maybe the organisers were keeping their powder dry for after the men’s ceremony.
Men's singles post-match time
They were. And some. The medical workers came out with the trophies, one of them draped in work wear. We demand an inquiry because the men did not have Barbara Pravi to sing for them. The were regaled with a message from outer space from the French astronaut Thomas Pesche who was playing with a zero gravity tennis ball. Honestly, where's the Death Star's planet-zapping laser beam when you need it? Hang on, way of the Jedi, that is not. Back down on planet earth Jim Courier and Bjorn Borg presented the trophies to Stefanos Tsitsipas and Novak Djokovic. And these former players with eight French Open titles between had to say a few words. What could they utter other than, well played Stefanos but you were up against an extra-terrestrial. May the force be with you next time.
Grand Slam title number 19 for Novak Djokovic and he's one behind Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and half way to a calendar Grand Slam which hasn't been done since Rod Laver in 1969. Djokovic says he wants to win Wimbledon, the Olympics and the US Open - a Golden Slam. That would put him in a universe all on his own.
One thing learned
Normally, while covering events, we can't help a bit of self-referential irreverence and copious amounts of pop culture allusions. And after 15 glorious days of watching the action, the review leaves the last word to the men's singles finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas. "What I learned today is that no matter what, in order for the match to be finished, you have to win three sets and not two. Two sets doesn't really mean anything. It's still one away of winning the entire match." Well done the champions. And all the competitors.
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