Happily in this the year when she and Agassi went public with their new romance, both were anointed RG champions. Proof, surely, that nine is the number of universal love. Agassi, 29, recovered from two sets down to beat Andrei Medvedev and become only the fifth player to accrue all four Grand Slam titles during a career.
2009: Regardez the GOAT
Ten years later, a mutuality of a different sort - professional respect - linked champions Roger Federer and Svetlana Kuznetsova. The first year ending in nine of the 21st century proved a fitting time for Federer to win his sole French Open title. By beating Robin Söderling, he equalled Pete Sampras' record of 14 Grand Slam titles and Lendl's record of 19 Grand Slam finals, and also became the sixth man in history to complete a career Grand Slam. It was this victory that prompted the game’s sages to say he “must surely be regarded now as the greatest male player of all-time".
What does nine augur in 2019?
Could it favour Simona Halep who made her debut here nine years ago? Or the in-form Karolina Pliskova, who has recorded nine wins here in a modest 9-7 win-loss record? Or Petra Kvitova, nine years after she was named WTA Newcomer of the Year?
2019 could be the year of Novak Djokovic, who, until this year’s Australian Open, had never won any of his 15 Grand Slam titles in a year with a 9 in it.
Dominic Thiem could claim karma after his defeat last year, when he won only nine games against Rafael Nadal in the final. Or Stefanos Tsitsipas, who was nine years old when Nadal won his fourth title by trouncing Federer 6-1, 6-3, 6-0? Nine could be lucky for Alexander Zverev, the first player born in the 1990s to win multiple Masters 1000 titles, or Fabio Fognini, the No.9 seed and 2019 Monte Carlo champion.
One thing for sure, whoever wins at Roland-Garros 2019 will be on cloud nine or neuf, nove, nueve, neun, devyat’ ....