Remember: ten days shy of his 19th birthday, "Rafa" played his first Roland-Garros match.
"It makes you feel like an ant."
That was Jennifer Brady’s seven-word verdict on Court Philippe-Chatrier, the cavernous centre court at Stade Roland-Garros.
Playing just the second major of her career in Paris, the world No.88 got her first taste of tennis on one of the sport’s four Grand Slam centerpieces on Monday – the closest she had come was a fourth-round appearance on the Australian Open’s secondary stadium in January. And, just to up the ante, the American faced French No.1 Kristina Mladenovic, giving the ailing 13th seed an almighty scare before falling in three sets, 3-6, 6-3, 9-7.
It was a surreal experience for the former college player in just her second major.
“I don't think I ever played in an atmosphere like that,” the 22-year-old admitted. “When she would win a point it was like somebody had a microphone into my ear. But it didn't really affect me that much. I really enjoyed it. I embraced it, and it was a lot of fun. At UCLA we got two people at our matches – and they were donors.”