trophy watch: a proper send-off

French Open tourney organizers gave one of their own, Fabrice Santoro, a proper sendoff after his first-round loss in this year’s event to Christophe Rochus. Santoro, who was appearing in his record-tying 20th French Open, lost to the Belgian 6-3, 6-1, 3-6, 6-4.

“Twenty years. That counts for something in a lifetime,” Santoro said after receiving this cross section of Roland Garros’ clay courts, presented after the Federer/Haas fourth-round match. “It has been a long road, a fantastic career. I had a lot of fun and learned a lot.” Gustavo Kuerten received a similar trophy last year.

Fabrice, known for playing two-handed groundstrokes off both wings and his crazy slices (enough to garner some attention at the 2007 U.S. Open), is playing 10 more events before hanging up his racquet.

At his presser, he left us another nugget about what’ll be different in his life next May: “So when you’ve played this tournament 20 years in a row, in May you start wearing your clay shoes, you start preparing to be able to play for three, four, five hours, even 6 hours 33 minutes for my longest match, so you feel next year in May I will no longer be a tennis player.”

(image via Getty Images)

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