The player-coach relationship is one of the most intriguing parts of tennis and it’s always fascinating to hear from players about the inner-workings of their various partnerships.
Day 3 diary: Insights from Sakkari
Quotes, stats, laughs and more from an eventful Day 3 at Roland-Garros.
Greek No.29 seed Maria Sakkari is coached by Tom Hill, a 24-year-old Briton, who has achieved some brilliant results with her this clay-court campaign that included a maiden title run, in Rabat, and a march to the semis in Rome.
Hill is only a few months older than the 23-year-old Sakkari and she was asked on Tuesday, following her opening-round win over Anna Tatishvili about what it’s like being coach by someone her age.
“Well, it is different, I have to tell you, because I always had older coaches. I never had a very old coach. Last one was my grandfather,” she said with a laugh.
“But it's quite nice. Because we're [Tom and I are] very good friends, as well, so we do stuff together. And I remember in San Jose we were riding the scooters for, like, 45 minutes. So I wouldn't be able to do it with my grandfather, I assume. So it's quite cool. We can spend time together like friends.”
Family moment of the day
After storming home to send off Swiss Viktoria Golubic in her opening-round singles match, 25th seed Hsieh Su-Wei had added reason to celebrate on Tuesday when her brother, Cheng-Peng “Akon”, won his first Grand Slam doubles match alongside Chris Rungkat. Hsieh and Rungkat upset 16th seeds Austin Krajicek and Artem Sitak.
Slams can be hectic sometimes but big sis Su-Wei made sure she was court-side for her brother’s victory.
Quotes of the day
“Everybody keeps on saying I had a tough year. I mean, I'm still No.5 in the world. Any of you guys know what I am on the race to London? I'm top 10. So it's not that bad, to be honest (smiling). Somebody's having a tough year is probably outside of the top 50 or something like that.”
-- Alexander Zverev puts his supposed “slump” into perspective after battling past John Millman in five sets.
“Sometimes I have too much this thoughts in my head, which is not helping me too much. But at the end, yeah, this is helping me a lot also, so I have to really mix it up. And fix my head to do right, right decisions.”
-- It's tough being as creative as Daria Kasatkina.
"I mean, I can give you logical reasons, but I'm not really a logical person. So it might be something else (smiling)."
-- Naomi Osaka tries to explain why she felt "the most nervous" she ever did on a tennis court in her opening-round match on Tuesday.
"I have to see it to tell you how I feel about it. So we were both in Monaco and we drove – we were in the same flight. I caught him recording me when I didn't know that he was. But it's my pleasure and my honour to be in one of his YouTube videos."
-- Maria Sakkari when asked about her recent appearance in one of Stefanos Tsitsipas' vlogs.
Q. "What's your plans now?"
Bernard Tomic: "I go to the hotel."
-- A riveting exchange in Tomic's press conference on Tuesday.
Comeback of the day
Top seed Osaka was monumentally struggling when Anna Karolina Schmiedlova raced through the opening set 6-0 in just 20 minutes. The Slovak would go on to serve for the match twice – at 5-4 and again at 6-5 – only for Osaka to pinch the second set in a tie-break. In the same vein as Serena Williams a day before, she bolted through the final set to complete her unlikely escape.
Stats of the day
7 – The number of matches Jelena Ostapenko has won at Roland-Garros in five appearances. She wouldn’t want to change it for the world, having won all seven of those matches in succession to land the 2017 title.
8 - The first-round match between Victoria Azarenka and Ostapenko started with eight consecutive breaks of serve. Azarenka finally snapped that streak by holding serve in game nine.
15 – Osaka’s Grand Slam win streak after surviving a near-miss against Anna-Karolina Schmiedlova. The Japanese star is now 12-1 in the first round of slams.
40 – Ivo Karlovic, 40, fired 35 aces in a four-set victory over Feliciano Lopez to become the oldest player to win a Grand Slam singles match since Ken Rosewall, 44, at the 1978 Australian Open.
Laugh of the day
Osaka tried to explain to reporters on Tuesday why she considers herself illogical. The Japanese-Haitian star has a great sense of humour but she felt during her press conference that she didn't really stick the landing with some of her jokes.
Here's an excerpt from her hilarious chat with the press:
"Well, when I'm not extremely stressed and everything seems like it's coming 100 miles/hour, I try to think rationally, like, during the games and whatever. Like, for me, I play percentage and stuff. Like, if I'm serving and -- okay, if I'm serving on the deuce side, right, and 70% of the time. I hit in going wide, the rest of the 30 is, like, key, and then, you know, rationally, people would go to the 70%.
"But, no, no, you've got to go to the 30%... (awkward silence). You guys are so not funny. (Laughter)
"I don't know if I laid that joke bad, but, like, wow, nothing? Okay, well, how do I explain better? There's just a lot of thinking. Like, you know a Venn diagram, how it overlaps and whatever? That's kind of what my brain does during matches. But I'm pretty sure a lot of people have that, so... My vibe just killed (laughter)."