ROLAND GARROS – On Sunday, Rafael Nadal will attempt to do the unthinkable – win his 10th French Open.
On Saturday, the atmosphere was rather more relaxed on Court 3, where he went through a full practice with a full complement of team members.
There was Uncle Toni, who is guiding his nephew in one last Roland Garros – he says. There was associate coach Francisco Roig. And there was new super-coach Carlos Moyá. And the rest of the team.
His sparring partner was Joan Soler, a 26-year-old Frenchman who played some college tennis at St. Leo’s in the U.S. and has been on the Futures circuit.
After Soler departed (not before getting the obligatory selfie with Nadal), Moyá stayed on and practiced Nadal’s defence.
Uncle Toni would feed Moyá a short ball, and the former No. 1 would crunch it as hard as he could, with Nadal scrambling to defend.
Nadal did that pretty well.
Finding Nadal – the French challenge
The French federation isn’t big on letting the fans know where players are practicing during their tournament. It’s something most tournaments around the world have recognized is a very popular part of the tournament experience – and indeed have made infrastructure changes to accommodate. But the trend hasn’t yet made its way to Paris.
Nadal was originally scheduled for Court 4 at noon, with Wawrinka on Court 3 at the same time. But even with the court change and an earlier start time, plenty of fans found him on Court 3.
Father Sebastian Nadal was sitting in the stands, watching.
He took a break for a bit to take a peek at the junior girls’ doubles final going on next door on Court 2.