Tennis-Fans line up in cool Roland Garros weather as French Open begins

By Thomson Reuters May 26, 2024 | 4:43 AM

By Shrivathsa Sridhar

PARIS (Reuters) – Thousands of spectators made their way through the Roland Garros gates under cloudy skies with intervals of sunshine to attend the French Open as the year’s second Grand Slam tournament got underway in western Paris on Sunday.

Panama hats and sunglasses were tucked away on a cool morning but could well be needed later, with temperatures expected to reach 22 degrees Celsius.

With fit-again 14-times champion Rafa Nadal back at Roland Garros and playing fourth seed Alexander Zverev on Monday, Parisian fans gathered to watch former world number one Naomi Osaka face Lucia Bronzetti in Sunday’s opener on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Nadal’s fellow Spaniard and third seed Carlos Alcaraz, who is tipped to capture his first French Open despite only recently shaking off a forearm injury, meets American J.J. Wolf in the second match on the court.

“I really want to see an American go far but I think Alcaraz is going to follow in Nadal’s footsteps,” said Jake, an American fan from New York who was attending his first French Open.

“He’s from Spain and he’s been playing really good in the different tournaments he’s been in. He’s won the U.S. Open, he’s won Wimbledon and I think he’s coming for the French Open.”

Marseille and Dubai champion Ugo Humbert is carrying French hopes in the men’s draw this year and was in action against Lorenzo Sonego on Suzanne Lenglen, the venue’s second showcourt where a new retractable roof has been installed.

With Caroline Garcia, Richard Gasquet, Chloe Paquet and Corentin Moutet all playing later, French fans were out in full force.

“This year, we’re starting with the first day so we hope to see some French players, which isn’t the case when you go in the middle of the week,” said local fan Alex Lefevre, who has been a regular with his eight-year-old son.

“We’re going to watch Alcaraz too but one guy we’ll look out for is Nadal. Let’s see if he passes the first round. If Zverev can beat him, he has a good chance to win the tournament.”

Former champion Stan Wawrinka and 2016 runner-up Andy Murray will close proceedings on a day featuring 40 matches.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Paris; editing by Clare Fallon)