In the second week of the French Open, once the singles draws have been whittled down, the Trophée des Légendes begins.
The definition of “légende” can be bent and bruised a bit – it helps if you’re French.
And some of the participants are here mainly because they have TV or coaching commitments.
But most are more than legit. There are a lot of titles in this lot.
One match featured Martina Navratilova and Lindsay Davenport against Kim Clijsters and Tracy Austin. That’s a pretty high Slam total right there.
Here are some pics of some of them at work.
The event is put together by Mansour Bahrami, the Iranian-born longtime resident of France who is pretty infamous in the seniors’ circle as a master showman and trick-shot artist.
He barely broke the top 200 in singles during his pro career, although he did reach a ranking of No. 30 in doubles. But his “retirement career” has been very successful.
He’s 61 now though. So he won’t have too many years to ply his trade even though he looks fit as ever. This year, he played with France’s Fabrice Santoro, also known as “Le Magicien”. The Magician and the Wizard together: nice touch.
We have a successor for Bahrami in the crowd-pleasing department. That would be Michael Llodra, a French lefty with hands like McEnroe who lights up when there’s a crowd.
Llodra is just 37. But with four kids and a wonky elbow, he didn’t want to continue playing on as a doubles specialist even though he likely could still make a pretty great living at it. He has five titles and a career-best ranking of No. 21 in singles, 26 titles (including the Australian Open twice, and Wimbledon in 2007) and a career high of No. 3 in doubles.
Total ham. But after he and Sébastien Grosjean won the “over 35s” division, he was quite emotional as he laughed and pointed out that no matter what, he can now say he “won Roland Garros.”
He almost did, in men’s doubles. Llodra made the final twice; he and Nicolas Mahut lost in a third-set tiebreaker to the Bryan brothers in 2013.
The prize money was excellent. The winning teams split €40,000. Even the last-place teams split €18,000.