Roland Garros: Either Packed or Soaked

Pictures tell a thousand words, as the saying goes. Plenty has been written on the miserable weather conditions at this year’s French Open and the players’ woes when they were told to play on barely playable (not to say “unplayable”) courts in wet conditions. Sadly, the agony of the tennis fans who come to Roland Garros often gets relatively little coverage. If you have read, in the past, my articles on the only clay-court Major of the year, you probably know that I am, by now, “maxed out” on how insufficient the facilities are for regular ticket holders. Thus, in this update, pictures do the talking, with minimal commentary from me. Here they are…

One of the two main sidewalks leading to the gates of Roland Garros at 8 AM (notice how narrow)..22a

Now here is the other sidewalk when matches have started. This is still a good distance from the gates. Thank the security checks and lack of space movement..22

This one is a bit closer than the above spot, increasingly chaotic, because the space gets narrow again a bit later where there is another security check. In the first week, it was so disorganized that it took up to an hour or more, just to get in the venue. 23

Under the Cochet stands of the Philippe Chatrier court during rain, one of the few spaces where people can escape it. 24

And here is the other side of Chatrier, under the Borotra stands, also during rain. 31

Here is the main alley between Chatrier and Lenglen. This one is taken early in the morning before the public gets there.. 28a

Now, the same view when the matches are on, packed even though it’s cloudy and gray (i.e. on a sunny day, twice-more packed, see my previous-years posts if curious). 28

And now the same view when it’s raining !! 29

Believe me, on Monday and Tuesday of the second week, it took 15 minutes in heavy rain, just to walk those sidewalks and eventually get to transportation. Remember this is AFTER you get out of the venue, leaving to go elsewhere! 30

In case it was not raining, it was gray and cold! Check out these Lenglen stadium spectators. Not exactly cozy, hein? 33

Back to the overcrowding, the lack of space, and the agonies of pedestrian circulation… Here is the narrow walkway between courts 14-16-18 and 15-17. Somewhere in there are Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis (WTA’d top doubles tandem) trying to get to their match court, I am NOT kidding! 25

This is one side of the alley behind Suzanne Lenglen.. 26

And this is the other side of that alley around the same time.. 27

The line to get into Court 17, many of these people are likely to miss a set, more or less, before they can get in. 32

And this is the line to get into Court 2 which has more stands than most other outside courts. At this moment, the match on the court was at 1-1 in the third. I carefully watched, and less than a quarter of these people waiting got in the stands in time to see any of the match. Most waited just so they could get in for the next match. (Side note: the guy on the left bottom corner, asking someone leaving the premises for his ticket to get into Chatrier, LOL) 34

Until the next update… Vive Roland Garros!

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2 thoughts on “Roland Garros: Either Packed or Soaked

  1. Hi Mert,

    Re photo’s, how depressing is that. You have just turned me off from ever going to the French Open 🙂

    Don’t know why you punish yourself and turn up every year to attend the FO 🙂

    What’s your prediction re men’s final??


    1. Ahhh sorry Umit, saw this late.. Let’s see.. Djokovic in 4 sets? LOL
      For you, after years of being present at the Aussie Open, Roland Garros will feel going from an Aston Martin to an Anadol! 🙂

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