The battles on the dirt of Roland Garros have almost been overshadowed by off-court drama from joy to sadness. And in between, there also been ignorance and stupidity to show the whole range of human feelings.
Tennis fans were happy to Petra Kvitova victorious on court after coming back from a tragic home invasion that badly damaged her left playing hand. Kvitova had been out of action for almost six months of rehabilitation and training.
Then it almost seemed cruel to interview Stevie Johnson after his first-round win. Johnson’s father, Steve Sr. recently passed away and was clearly on Stevie’s mind as he broke down in tears during the post interview. His Dad was a well-known tennis coach who had worked with many of the top players.
Unfortunately, a couple of French players were rude hosts in their country’s premier tennis event. First, Laurent Lokoli refused to shake hands after his first-round loss to Slovak Martin Klizan.
“If I did not shake hands with him, it is because there is a reason,” Lokoli said. “He made out to be hurting his leg for two sets and then was running around like a rabbit in the fifth set. “After that, he talks to me about respect. It is just disrespectful, what he did.”
Next, it was 287th ranked Frenchman Maxime Hamou who forcibly grabbed and kissed journalist Maly Thomas. Hamou has been banned from the French Open, and he may face additional penalties.
Thomas described the incident as “frankly unpleasant” and commented, “If I hadn’t been live on air, I would have punched him.”
The only thing missing is Illie Nastase, but there still is another week to go. Stay tuned.