Follow American Irina Falconi in this “Quest to Qualify” player blog as she competes in Europe, and now, the French Open qualifying. Currently ranked No. 135 in singles and 72 in doubles, she is now 11-2 in her career in Grand Slam quali...
Follow American Irina Falconi in this “Quest to Qualify” player blog as she competes in Europe, and now, the French Open qualifying. Currently ranked No. 135 in singles and 72 in doubles, she is now 11-2 in her career in Grand Slam qualifying and looking for another main draw berth in Paris this week. (Catch Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, and follow her on Twitter @IrinaFalconi)
After coming to Roland Garros for the last couple of years, I must admit that I really do love the atmosphere here in France. The U.S. Open crowd and fan base for American players in New York is incredible, but you have to give it up for France as well. These fans live and die for their players. Today, I straight up watched a fan cry out of happiness after one of his favorite female players won the match. I mean, what do you even say to that fan if you’re her — “Thank you. Here’s a tissue?” What a unique sight to behold.
Today started out like any other day — just a bit earlier. I’m not the kind of player that has the luxury of allowing herself a ridiculous amount of sleeping hours, but I will spoil myself with 9-10 hours of sleep on occasion when I get the chance. However, today was not one of those lucky days.
This morning, I had David Guetta’s song Titanium wake me up bright and early at 6:40 am. You might be thinking ‘That’s crazy early for a 10 am match!” but let me divulge why I needed to be up that early, and it may not sound so strange afterward.
Roland Garros scoreboard
1. Getting ready: I’m not one to take an hour to get ready in the morning, but I definitely like to take my time before a first round match at a Grand Slam.
2. Breakfast: As some of you may know, breakfast is my most favorite time of the day. I don’t ever go without breakfast and today wasn’t going to be any different. We had a car scheduled for 7:30 am so I wanted to make sure I was at breakfast by 7. Why so early again, you might ask? Well, because the boiling machine that the hotel uses to hard boil eggs is technologically challenged, and it has decided to hard boil eggs in no less than 18 minutes — on a good day. So sure enough, the first day when I prepared a few eggs, I ended up just having embryo on my plate. Ewww, sorry about the visual! I really didn’t enjoy writing that! I’m just going for effect, promise!
3. Traffic: Paris traffic has been voted somewhere in the top 5 of worst in the world, so why wouldn’t I want to make sure I give myself enough time to make it to the club?
4. Getting sorted on site: Anyone that has ever been to the Roland Garros site will attest to the fact that this place is huge. Ok, let me rephrase. It takes a while to get from point A to point B. You literally have to give yourself at least 10 minutes to get from the locker room to your court. And mind you, there are TWO locker rooms. So depending on what court you’re playing, you might have to give yourself more time. So once I got to my locker and picked up my racquets can of balls, it was already 8:10 am.
5. Warm up for the warm up for the warm up: As players we always need to warm up, and even more so when it’s 50 degrees Farenheit (10 degrees Celsius) outside! It was so cold that I needed to give myself at least 20 minutes to warm up for my warm up. Yes, we don’t mess around with our warm-ups.
Irina Falconi (R) warms up for her warm up in Roland Garros
6. Shower, food, hair: So by now, I have warmed up for 30 minutes, taken the 10 minute walk back to locker room, then showered, changed into new clothing, and finally grabbed some food. Some people don’t like to have too much time in between their warm up and the match (some players even warm up in their match outfits) but I personally love to have a little snack before my match. I go for a light protein shake that gets me going before the match. And last but not least, the hair. You have to make sure your hair looks