Last Friday, the French Tennis Federation announced the creation of a solidarity fund to benefit the victims of Hurricane Irma.
Irma basted the French islands of Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy. The federation kicked in 500,000 euros, looking to increase it with the help of its leagues, committees and clubs.
Tennis authorities in Guadeloupe, which hosted the France v Canada Davis Cup tie last year, were charged with allocating it restore damaged tennis facilities.
Now, with Hurricane Maria blasting Guadeloupe itself, the money will be needed even more. And more will be needed.
It takes generations for a country to build a great tennis culture. But it helps if you have top players for them to emulate.
It’s even better if you invite a 4,000 kids to watch them practice, as the French Federation did with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Lucas Pouille in Lille ahead of its semi-final Davis Cup tie with Serbia.
They’re playing the tie on (indoor) clay, even if that’s a surface most haven’t played on since the French Open. No Djokovic, Troicki or Tipsarevic for Serbia.
The French Open announced Friday night that Frenchwoman Françoise Durr and Aussie Roy Emerson will be presenting the trophies to the women’s and men’s singles champions this year.
It’s no coincidence. These two champions won the French Open 50 years ago.
Emerson won it twice, in 1963 and 1967.
Durr, now 74, will present the Coupe Suzanne-Lenglen to the women’s champion along with French federation president Bernard Giudicelli.
Emerson, very spry at 80, apparently is a big-enough boy that he can handle the presentation on his own.