Go to Paris and not see Christmas

Early mornings in late spring, a jog through Paris.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
25 May 2023 Thursday 05:03
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Go to Paris and not see Christmas

Early mornings in late spring, a jog through Paris. I always do it looking for the Seine. Or one of the forests that stretch to the city limits: the Bosco de Bologna or Bosco de Vincennes. Other times I also look for the more central Monceau Park, like in 2008, the year Almagro, desperate, let go of that pearl:

-Nadal will win Roland Garros 40 years in a row. He will be 65 years old and will continue to win Roland Garros.

Then I return to the hotel, with 10 or 12 kilometers to go, and take a quick shower and run out.

On the way, a croissant.

A croissant and a coffee before diving into the metro towards Porte d’Auteuil.

I leave in front of the Bologna forest, pass by the Parc des Princes, PSG's ridiculous stadium, and dodge security agents and vendors. 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 arrive at the Roland Garros venue.

A greeting, bon jour. They validate my accreditation. I open my backpack, show what I have inside. Sometimes you need to unfold the laptop. I'm going in a hurry Sometimes I pass by the sculpture of Rafael Nadal, a marvel sculpted by Jordi Díez and 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, and we agree on the distribution of the subjects.

Almost always, the same question:

-What time does Christmas play?

And if Nadal doesn't play:

-What time does Nadal train?

If Nadal plays that day, his date appears in the order of play. If he does not play, and trains, his agent will tell us the time of the session. The organization of the tournament will also tell us.

Hat, sunglasses and head out.

You have to chase the legend.

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

For a while, Nadal devours his sparring.

Or his rival.

The adventure ends and I type, excited and satisfied: I report that Nadal is moving towards his fifth title in Paris. Or towards the ninth. Or about the fourteenth. Night has fallen when I leave 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. Let's talk about Christmas.

This year, we will also talk about Christmas.

Even if it's in rebellion.