Roland Garros: enjoy the ride

Having skipped coverage of the clay court season leading up to the French, I’ve come to the table with an empty stomach. As some of you may recall from last summer’s U.S. Open, it is possible to overdose on watching tennis.

And now, with the recent news and results of the circuit having faded from our consciousness and as RG gets under way, a parade of unheralded players burst out of the woodwork and onto the stage: Eysseric of France, who just turned 18; Eduardo Schwank of Argentina, taking down Moya; the welcome-but-sadly-brief return of Guillermo Coria; and many more names that have never passed our ears. You have to get up pretty early in the morning, troll a number of obscure tennis resources, and generally do a lot of homework to keep up with everyone. (The commentators certainly don’t do it, so I don’t feel too bad not having done it myself.)

I smell some late-round surprise survivors for this year, a la Filip Dewulf (’97 semifinalist) or Martin Verkerk (finalist ’03). And along with that some big-time upsets. But watching the first round matches play out with a sense of inevitability, a few early exits excepted, we’d be deluding ourselves to think that anyone but Rafael Nadal will be biting the Coupe des Mousquetaires on June 8th. So it’s all about enjoying the ride.

Michael Shaw writes about tennis and other subjects for the Los Angeles Times, and is also an artist. He can be reached at michaelshaw_sar AT yahoo DOT com. Read his previous posts for TSF here.

rodina in fila’s spring 2008 heritage dress + agnes szavay’s halter dress will be back!

Before our post, a shout-out to Sandy Beverage

19-year-old Russian Evgeniya Rodina gave Maria Sharapova a scare in the first round, taking a set off the top seed before falling 8-6 in the third during their first-round match.

Props to Evgeniya for sporting Fila‘s Spring Heritage Dress (the separates of which Svetlana Kuznetsova wore back in March). The wrap at the bust is a nice touch.

More to come: TSF stopped by the Fila showroom in NYC last week and saw what they’ll have in store for the ladies in 2008. You can look for that slimming swath of fabric (in navy on this piece) to pop up on Agnes Szavay Wimbledon halter dress — yes, the halter, which we thought disappeared after her Fila sponsorship, is back!

Fila designers told us that Agi is very involved with the design of the clothes, and we’ll definitely see that when the more form-flattering designs roll out later this year. The Heritage collection will also feature prominently during the 2008 U.S. Open.

Buy: Fila Spring Heritage Dress, $65 at TennisExpress.

(image courtesy of Fila)

Jankovic accessorizes for her French Open run

Probable finalist Jelena Jankovic began her French Open fortnight with a two-set match against Monica Niculescu. The World No. 3 won the first set tiebreak 7-3 and breezed through the second, 6-2. Jelena wore the summer version of Reebok‘s RBK Pro Tradition Dress in Spa Blue.

Buy: RBK Pro Tradition Dress, $39.99 at

That nail polish is the same shade as the Louboutins she rocked at the Australian Open!

Thanks to Tennishead for snapping this photo of Jelena’s bag especially for TSF. Tennishead is a tennis portal out of the UK. You should check them out for their daily updated coverage from Roland Garros.

(photos by Getty Images and Tennishead for TSF)