Tony Parker: "My best Roland-Garros memory? Definitively when Federer won!"
San Antonio Spurs' Tony Parker is a Roland-Garros regular. Four-time NBA champion and European champion in 2013 with the french team, the greatest french basketball player talks about tennis.
You’re a regular at the French Open. What do you like about the tournament?
Well, obviously, I love sport. So I mainly come to Roland-Garros for the tennis. I have a tennis court at my house. I love playing, tennis is what I play to keep fit during the holidays. I also love the atmosphere, which is always great.
What’s your best memory of Roland-Garros?
Most of my memories are from watching matches here. When I was a kid, I watched on TV like everyone else, because it’s a big thing here in France. I don’t have any special memories of that. But since I’ve been coming here to watch, my best memory is definitely of 2009. The final, when Roger Federer won against Robin Soderling. I was here to see Federer make history, winning the last Grand Slam he was looking for, and at the same time equaling the 14 Grand Slams record of Pete Sampras. It was incredible. I was really happy for him. I had the chance to meet him during the 2008 football european championship, where we watched a match together. I really like “Rog”.
"It’s very hard to always be on top of your game - I should know!"
What do you like about him?
He’s a sportsman who is an example for everyone. He’s a role model on and off the court. I admire all sportspeople, whatever they play, especially those with long careers like his. It’s very hard to always be on top of your game - I should know (he laughs)!
Who would you like to see in the final this year at the French Open (interview done at the beginning of Roland-Garros 2016)?
I would have liked to see another final between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. But unfortunately that won’t happen this year. Otherwise, "Jo" Tsonga and Djokovic, but they’re in the same half of the draw too. Roger’s not here this year, so I don’t really mind (he smiles).
Lastly, which partner from french sports would you pick up to play doubles ?
Teddy Riner! Teddy is a wall. I send him to the net and no ball can get passed him (he laughs)! I'm sure he would scare our opponents.
Like him, are you behind the Paris 2024 Olympic campaign?
Yes, of course, I try to help where I can. But I won’t be there because I will have retired. If the next generation was able to take part in the Olympics on their home turf, it would be great for them.