Travel to Paris and not see Nadal

On late spring mornings, early in the morning, a jog through Paris.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
25 May 2023 Thursday 04:27
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Travel to Paris and not see Nadal

On late spring mornings, early in the morning, a jog through Paris. I always go looking for the Seine. Or one of the forests that stretch out on the city limits: the Bois de Boulogneo or the Bois de Vincennes. Other times I also look for Monceau Park, more central, like in 2008, the year in which Almagro, desperate, had released that pearl:

Nadal is going to win Roland Garros forty years in a row. He will be 65 years old and will continue to win Roland Garros.

Then I return to the hotel, with ten or twelve kilometers between my chest and back, and I take a shower in a hurry and I run out.

By the way, a croissant.

A croissant and coffee, before diving into the metro, heading for the Porte d'Auteuil.

I emerge before the Bologna forest, I pass by the Parc des Princes, the charming PSG stadium, and I raffle off security agents and resellers. Sometimes I'm in a hurry. I'm always tense. If the newspaper invests in you, you have to leave your skin.

A quarter of an hour later, I reach the Roland Garros venue.

Regards, bonjour. They validate my accreditation. I open the backpack. I widen it, I show what I have inside. Sometimes you have to unfold the laptop. I'm in a hurry. Sometimes, I pass by the sculpture of Rafael Nadal, that marvel that Jordi Díez sculpted and that was discovered in 2021. I enter the press room, in the belly of Philippe Chatrier. I turn on the computer, I call the boss, Joanjo Pallàs or Juan Bautista Martínez, we agree on the distribution of the songs.

Almost always the same question:

-What time does Nadal play?

And if Nadal does not play:

–What time does Nadal train?

If Nadal plays that day, his appointment appears in the order of play. If he doesn't play, and trains, his agent will tell us the time of the session. The organization of the tournament will also tell us.

Cap, sunglasses and outside.

You have to chase the legend.

If Nadal trains on court 12, we head for court 12. It doesn't matter who is playing at that time at Philippe Chatrier. Or at Suzanne Lenglen. In other times, Toni Nadal greeted us when he saw us arrive. In recent years, Francis Roig and Carlos Moyá did it.

For a while, Nadal devours his sparring partner.

Or his rival.

The adventure ends and I type, excited and satisfied: I say that Nadal is advancing towards his fifth title in Paris. Or towards the ninth. Or around the 14th. He has fallen the night when he left the compound. I often go to dinner with my friend Luismi Pascual, the Efe correspondent in Paris, and with Aída Palau (Radio France International). A beer, some tapas. We are talking about Christmas.

This year, we will also talk about Nadal.

Even if it's in rebellion.