Every year, when I return to Paris around this time, a certain feeling of nostalgia takes hold of me as I recall the great moments lived here alongside my nephew. This scenario is, without a doubt, where Rafael has been able to display his best tennis and where his effort has been better rewarded.
With a certain longing I have also been verifying how the old (although left over from tradition) installations from the first years, in an attempt to adapt them to the needs of today’s world, have been giving way to the new and magnificent Philippe Chatrier and a remodeling of the entire complex that exudes good French taste on all four sides; although to me they are practically unrecognizable.
The feeling of warmth and closeness that those provided us have given rise to much more modern spaces but, at the same time, produce the distance and coldness of the unrecognized. With the new design, space has also been given to current uses in which everything, in my opinion, is excessively subject to the rigor and calculation of the new times. Everything has to be in its place and immovable, and nothing should be left to chance or unstipulated. The bad thing is that this coldness in pursuit of better control is also transferred to people.
These days, without going any further, a journalist who required me for an interview ran into the difficulty of finding a space that he could access to carry it out. He told me that they no longer had authorization to enter the places today exclusively for players and companions, where before they could move freely. The reason for such restrictions is so that players are not distracted and that no one can interfere with their peace of mind.
For years I lived normally and understood that dealing with special envoys is part of our work, the fact that any journalist would ask me naturally and without the need for preamble, when it was good for me to answer some questions. I imagine that the same thing happened to the rest of those required. Today, apparently, these hustle and bustle would compromise the peace that tennis players need to play the tournament with guarantees.
Unfortunately, we also see this organization and control reflected on the track. In these first days of training I have been able to verify how the very player with whom I collaborate, like our opponents in the preparation sessions, leaves very little room for improvisation. The diverse game of the early years has been giving way to one that is more controlled and studied every day, and to its consequent homogenization.
When we first came to Roland Garros in 2005 there was much more variety, creativity and improvisation in all aspects. At that time there were still tennis players who were specialists on clay and others on fast court; there were very varied styles of play, leathery players and others who went up to the net; Less complete tennis players than the current ones who knew their virtues and their shortcomings, and who had to develop a more imaginative and consistent tennis.
However, the game we see today, and which I have checked again after the first days of training, is seamless, uniform, studied and very fast. The personality of each player has been left behind in favor of an improvement to which, on the other hand, you submit or stay out.
And, of course, before there was a much more natural and familiar environment. The reunion not only year after year, but tournament after tournament, with tennis players, coaches, trainers and journalists, all moving without restrictions in the different clubs of the circuit provided a familiar and carefree atmosphere that I miss something in the hyper-professional and aseptic tournaments of the new age.
I must clarify and emphasize, in case it has created some confusion, that Roland Garros continues to maintain and promote the greatness that has made it very justly prestigious in the sport of tennis. All the changes experienced have not been enough to diminish the emotion that I continue to feel every time I enter the beautiful facilities in the Bois de Boulogne.
I look forward to this new edition in which I continue to maintain, in my heart, the hopes of living another year the most desired victory for me.
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