court fever 14

Lucas Pouille, during his first round match against the Austrian Jurij Rodionov, Sunday May 28, 2023, on court number 14 at Roland-Garros, in Paris.

Followers of humorous diversion on the Internet call this kind of stereotype a “starter pack” (a “starter kit”, in French). For the spectator of the Tour de France? Easy: a bucket hat distributed by the publicity caravan, a camping chair and an anisette glass under your elbow. And for its equivalent at Roland-Garros? A cap to protect yourself from the sun, a sandwich to last the length of the marathon days and, of course, a blue, white and red flag to encourage the French players. Rémi and Nolan tick all the boxes.

Met in the stands on Tuesday May 30, the two 26-year-old Normans, physical education and sports teachers, took advantage of this free day in their schedule to come to the French Open. Rémi and Nolan may have the keys to entering the bays of the Philippe-Chatrier court, but it was on court number 14 that they took up position in the morning, attracted by the three Frenchmen scheduled to follow, and above all by ” the atmosphere “ which has now made the reputation of this 2,200-seat court.

Luca Van Assche can attest to this. The 19-year-old French tennis player won his first Grand Slam match on Monday on number 14, sending his baptism against the Italian Marco Cecchinato in three straight sets. “As the match goes on, you often get chills when you hear the whole crowd singing behind you”he explained after the meeting.

“Here, we are more in the game”

Met during the qualifying week, Vincent, 52, had warned us: “On number 14, you have a great atmosphere, it’s the former number 1! »certified, as a neighbor, the maintenance employee of courts 15 and 16 during the tournament.

Number 1? Collateral victim of the extension of Roland-Garros, the court was razed in 2019 and today gives way to a vast esplanade occupied by the stands of the sponsors. With its circular geometry, this court was renowned for its fiery atmospheres.

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Today, its soul lives on at both ends of the Porte d’Auteuil site: to the east, on the Simonne-Mathieu, and to the west, therefore, on court number 14, in service since the tournament. 2018, where there was a former municipal gymnasium of the Paris City Hall.

Unlike the central court, on number 14, the proximity between the first rows and the clay court allows spectators to see, hear, feel, almost touch the players. We also better measure the power of the bullets. “Here, we are more in the game”testifies Rémi. “We are part of the field”completes his friend met on the benches of the university.

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