Net Gains: Moving the French Open to Disneyland is a Mickey Mouse idea
Sunday 06 June 2010
It made for some good headlines, but the chances of the French Open moving to a site alongside Disneyland Paris are about as good as Donald Duck's or Mickey Mouse's in next year's men's singles. "We don't want to be the Disney Open," Gilbert Ysern, the tournament director at Roland Garros, admitted last week.
The French Open is considering a move because of a lack of space. Roland Garros is the smallest of the four Grand Slam sites, and tournament organisers' plans to expand – particularly into the adjoining Bois de Boulogne – have been repeatedly thwarted. Last month, organisers revealed that they were considering a move to three possible sites: Gonesse, near Charles de Gaulle airport; Marne-la-Vallée, where Disneyland Paris is based; and a site near the Palace of Versailles.
Most players and fans oppose the move, but the suggestion has forced the City of Paris to listen more sympathetically to the expansion plans, which are back on the agenda. The tournament is worth more than £200 million to the local economy. "The City of Paris have changed their approach," Ysern said. "Last year they weren't so convinced that expansion was necessary. Their attitude was: 'We will give you what we can and you will have to live with that.' Now they know that we are considering moving – and have realised that might actually happen."
Petkovic's political rally
Germany's Andrea Petkovic wants to go into politics. The world No 41, who spends some of her spare time reading Goethe and Sartre, told the French sports daily, 'L'Equipe': "I dream of founding a political party. In Germany you only need 100 signatures to found one." She added: "I want the government to concentrate on education and the lack of job security for young people. Politicians are only interested in old people. I want to make German society function better."
Groth swings both ways
Rafael Nadal is naturally right-handed but plays tennis with his left. Australia's Jarmila Groth, who reached the fourth round of the women's singles, is the opposite and occasionally baffles her opponents by switching her racket from her right hand to her left. "I can do everything with my left or right hand, or left or right foot," she said. "My parents made me play right-handed because when I was born prematurely I couldn't move my right side. They were scared, so they kept working on me. They turned me into a right-hander, so even when I eat, my knife and fork are on the opposite side. But when I play a left-handed shot in tennis, it feels normal for me."
To loos, le trek
Novak Djokovic was standing outside the media centre last week waiting to be interviewed for television when a fan came up to him and tugged at his arm. Another autograph hunter? No, the elderly spectator wanted to know if the world No 3 knew the way to the nearest toilet.
You could hear a Pin drop
The award for the oddest opening comments at a press conference over the last fortnight goes to France's Camille Pin, who before announcing her retirement, told the assembled press room: "I'm sorry. I've drunk two glasses of champagne on a bare stomach. I wanted to be totally drunk here. I thought it would be funny to be pissed during my interview."
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