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We woke up to a really cloudy day. We spent a leisurely morning doing nothing much, but catching up on news etc. The finals match was to start at 3pm. So we had quite a bit of time on our hand.

So where do we go but Champs Elysees. 😉

Of course we had to make a trip to the Nike store to check out support gear for Rafa! 😛

Oddly, this year, the Nike store didn’t have cute shirts that I could buy to show my support for Rafa. Last year, there were quite a number of choices! Instead, this year, the store was stocked full of Euro2012 stuff. 😯

A stroll along Champs Elysees showed that nothing much has changed. Except for the size of cars.

We headed to Roland Garros at around 1pm. We had thought we could catch some legends’ matches as we did last year. This time round, I remembered the passports. 😀

Shortly after the entrance to Roland Garros, we passed by the museum. A quick check with the staff told us the entrance to the museum is free. Since we had time to spare, we entered the museum.

This was what greeted us upon entering the museum.

Champions – Past & Present


Best clay courter ever!


And this was what greeted us second in the museums. Rackets, lots of rackets!

There’s no doubt any museum related to clay courts would have to include Rafael Nadal.

Campeon!


Well, this shirt is probably a brand new one except that I thought I read something like ‘Shirt Rafael Nadal wore in winning his 2nd RG’. Hmmmm.

Rafa’s autograph on his shirt – worn when he won RG for the 2nd time in 2006


Well, there’s a shoe donated by Tsonga too. I can only say Tsonga has very big feet….and you know what they say about men with big feet… 😳

A cute model of the court.

I had started watching tennis only because Andre Agassi pulled me in. And I had no idea that wooden racquets were once used to play the game. Of course when I became a Rafa addict, I learnt a lot more about tennis.

Evolution of tennis racquets

I was most captivated by these displays…..tubes displaying the composition of the courts of the 4 slams.

Australia Open


Clay


Lawn @ Wimbledon


US Open


All that cement leading to all that pounding of the knees. 😥

There’s an art gallery attached to the museum, with art relating to tennis of course!

And then it was time for the finals. It was still very cloudy and the clouds loomed threateningly throughout.

Roland Garros 2012 Men’s finals


Boy, was I all excited and nervous! Rafa getting ready for his entrance into the court.

Getting ready for battle


This match was a very important one. Rafa had finally defeated Djokovic in the tournaments leading up to Roland Garros, not once, but twice! I had faith that Rafa would nail his 7th RG but for that to be definitive, the sun had to come out!

Fantastically good seats for the finals!


And Rafa entered the court!

Hand in hand – I wanna be that girl 😀


Always nice to the little ones


Djokovic making his entrance


They had the best seats!


Waiting for Rafa



Rafa jumping



Warming up:

Backhand


Serve



I would have loved to sit amongst Rafa fans. Surprisingly, the crowd which we were sitting amongst, was pretty quiet. And to my utmost surprise, there were actually quite a number of Rafa fans seated around us but Rafa fans are not the loudest fans on earth (at least in Paris). On the other hand, the Djokovic fans were really really loud. I understood their excitement, their player was going for the 4th consecutive slam and he did have a chance. Djokovic’s fans would make all kinds of sounds depending on Djokovic’s state of play while Rafa fans would groan in despair quietly (in later part of the match) and cheer Rafa mainly with just applause. I can never understand the Parisian Rafa fans. If French Fed fans can make a storm in Philippe Chatrier, why not Parisian Rafa fans? I think I must have been one of the louder fans in our section. 😳

Rafa fans



And then, its game on!
And Rafa was just W.O.W! He came out firing and he played really brilliantly! Rafa was at his clay court best! And when that happens, its tough to imagine another player being able to beat him. 😀

Even the husband noticed Rafa never steps on the lines



All was going fine; I was enjoying Rafa’s play and then rain drops came down 😯

So a rain delay was called. But for some reason that baffled me, the organisers didn’t cover the clay court with the tarp. Hello?! that’s clay ain’t it. With water, its gonna turn muddy, no?
So we headed out, tried to stay out of the rain, and got bored, so decided to queue for snacks. Snacks available were a burger, a hotdog, chips etc. I think the hot dogs are the best because they are quite big, so its more value for money. 😛
On the screens outside Suzanne Lenglen, there were images of the court on Chatrier and the courts were still not covered with tarp!?! Yes, the rain was a drizzle but its rain still! 🙄
Then match resumed. Rafa was still able to play his game but it was obvious the clay was not quite the powder clay anymore. 😯
And the rain came down again! And the court was not being covered again! 😡
By the time play resumed, it was already evening time. The skies were still very cloudy and the threat of rain was omnipresent. By this time, we were cold and tired and I remember thinking I wouldn’t mind of the match got postponed to the next day.


By this time, the clay court was in a terrible state. It was still drizzling. And Rafa was getting very affected by the weather. He was leading the match until he totally lost his focus and lost something like 8 games in a row! As a matter of fact, it was only when Rafa was losing the games did I realise we were surrounded by Rafa fans. I could feel the despair in the air. I reckoned some hoped that Rafa would just finish the match and save everyone from the miserable weather. But as Rafa lost his intensity, Djokovic gained some.


Rafa!




The weather condition was really bad. Very damp and cold. I think this made the balls heavier and no doubt about it, the conditions didn’t help Rafa’s topspin. I was really kinda sinking into misery at this time. I wouldn’t be able to stand Rafa losing his edge on clay, at Roland Garros.

Covers finally up


And then rain came down again! Rafa didn’t seem happy about being sent off court again; I had thought he would be glad to have time to regroup during the delay. Think he wasn’t happy with how they were being sent out earlier when the drizzle didn’t stop. While I was glad that the tarp cover was finally on during this rain delay, I couldn’t help feeling that the covers doesn’t change the fact that the earlier rains had already ruined the clay. 😯 So Rafa had the first 2 sets, lost the 3rd and lost his first service game in the 4th. 😦

Shortly after we left the court, there was an announcement that the match would be postponed to the next day and we could obtain information from the letters being handed out at the exit gates. A few thoughts ran through my mind as we exited Roland Garros: 1) If Rafa had stayed focused, he would be biting the Coupe des Mousquetaires, 2) If the court was covered during the rain delays, perhaps Rafa’s game wouldn’t deteriorate as it did, and 3) We need the sun out for the next day. 😎
We couldn’t stop talking about the weather and the match, even after we reached our apartment. I did some catching up on news and tweets on the match. Most Rafa fans were positive that Rafa would come out blazing the next day, especially after a pep talk that Uncle Toni would have given him. I was positive too! My belief was, as long as the sun come out, Rafa would be the RG champ again. And I refused to entertain the idea that Rafa would lose in RG finals against Djokovic. I couldn’t even bear that thought! 👿
I love tennis on clay and even more, I love Rafa playing tennis on clay. What he does on clay is simply beautiful and amazing. Vamos Rafa! Vamos!