February 9, 2012

The Red Clay of Roland Garros

No, it's not too early to start thinking about the red clay of Roland Garros. The French Open tennis tournament has become one of the "destination" spots of tennis lovers everywhere. From May 27 to June 10, you'll find all the stars ... and rising stars ... lots of red dust, and tennis fanatics from around the world.

The players work hard at Roland Garros. The slow courts and clay surface (on which you must learn to slide) make for grueling matches that tend to favor baseliners and those with stamina (and heart). Last year's winners, Rafael Nadal and Li Na showed those qualities. Rain delays are also an expected nuisance, given Paris' frequent weather changes. (Get ready to huddle with the masses under the few overhanging parts of Roland Garros, or, take the more civilized route and demand a pass to go to a nearby café.)

Tickets go on sale for the general public on February 15th. (If you're a member of the FFT—French Tennis Federation—you can buy them now.) Take a look at the schedule online and decide which days you want to go and which court you want to sit in. You can also buy just a grounds pass ... less expensive and a good investment in the first days of the tournament, as you can see some great matches on these outer courts. Ticket prices range from 17–125 euros, depending on the day, court vs grounds pass, and court #.

Poise yourself at your computer and be prepared to wait a bit, as thousands of people try to buy tickets at the same time. You'll be happy you persisted, though. It's fun to be at the stadium for all the excitement. However, if you prefer to watch at home, French television expands their channels and covers matches on almost every court.

If you just can't wait until May, you can also take a tour behind the scenes at Roland Garros. The museum is closed at the moment for renovations, but you will see the stadium, locker rooms, press room, and the temporary exhibition.

Posted by Tennis Lover Meredith Mullins