Visit to French Open

Visit to French Open

Garden Party in Paris

Garden Party in Paris

Restaurant ”Le Roland-Garros” is a slightly withdrawn spot. It lies in hiding behind the bright orange beach chairs that fill the square in front of Court 1 at Roland- Garros and allow people to follow the day’s matches from a comfortable distance on a large screen.

You may well miss the spot in passing, but once you have found your way, you enter a blooming garden in front of a large, white timber frame house. The atmosphere here is reminiscent of a lazy afternoon in Normandy rather than the overcrowded tennis grounds in Paris at the world’s largest tournament on clay.

This is where the French IC throws its yearly French Open cocktail party for members of the organization, recognizable by their grey and pink ties and scarfs. The joy of reunion is unmistakable, and with around 340 guests enlisted this year, attendance hits a record high. As a consequence, the French IC president, Thierry Pham, is clearly proud to extend his words of welcome. He makes a special point of greeting the large delegation of 26 attendees from Denmark among countries as far away as Australia, Brazil, and South Africa, highlighting the special role of IC as an organization that unites and tighten the bonds between tennis players worldwide.

Bernard Giudicelli, President of the French Tennis Federation, is also present, and he accentuates history and tradition as trademarks of Roland-Garros. This shows, for instance, in the construction of new courts, and the people that these courts are named after. On that note, he reminds us that 2018 marks the centennial of the shooting down of French World War I fighter pilot Roland Garros who, of course, lends his name to the tennis grounds as a whole. In France, you make sure to honour your heroes.

While champagne, red wine and canapés are handed round, players of all ages chat and new contacts and new deals are made. Worth noting for Danish members, the French IC Vice President mentioned the possibility of inviting the Danish IC to play a match against France in Normandy next year. Let’s hope… 

After a good hour, the party draws to a close. Matches are still played on the courts around us, there is still a lot to watch, but this fine time-out at “Le Roland-Garros” is a returning event that can’t be missed. It offers a delightful sense of companionship among people that share a passion for the game.

May the French keep honouring this tradition!


Skrevet af Peter Holst

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