Saturday 21st June saw a group of fifteen players, coaches and friends heading to Paris for The French Open’s Kid’s Day.
The day started early with the group meeting at 5.30am in Canterbury to leave for Ashford International where Eurostar transported us under the channel and across the French countryside to Sunny Paris! From the Paris terminal it was just a short metro trip to Roland Garros where we were met by Eb, Faye and Ade, who had travelled the previous day to prepare for our arrival.
Greetings over, we ‘followed the rackets’ to Roland Garros and were soon inside the gates eager to explore the tournament ground and find out which players we could seek out. Just round the corner Robin Soderling, number 5 in the world, was out on court practising. For many of our players this was their first opportunity to see a world ranked player in action on clay.
After this inspirational experience it wasn’t long till the youngsters had chance to see two more of the top five men in the world as Andy Murray and Raphael Nadal left their hitting session. Uncle Tony, Nadal’s coach, paused for a quick photo call and a few words with Jamie before heading back to the players area.
Novak Djokovic was our next target and thanks to Rachel, from Lingo Lingo, our French speaking expert, we were able to be ready at his practice court in prime position for when he arrived.
Our next stop was Philippe Chatrier Court where Bob Sinclair started the event in a real party fashion which instantly grasped the attention and interest of the hundreds of children who were in the packed stadium. This was just the beginning of what proved to be a fun exhibition session with players like Nadal, Mauresmo, Monfils, Schiavone and Tsonga all taking to the court.
After an incredible day, which saw us seeing four of the top five male players in the world there was just time to shop for a few souvenirs and take some last minute photos with some of the players. Thanks to Andy Murray who took time to stop and pose with Spencer and Jamie!
Finally it was time to leave and we set off for our return journey. Everyone had had a great day and all had different highlights to recall. Hopefully this was the first of many trips to Roland Garros! Roll on The French Open 2012!