I become French.
The 17th of July. In the morning I discussed (using the phone) with my friends where we can meet and left the home in the right time. But already in subway I met a company of frenchies who were happy to meet me because they had some problems with the right way to the stadium. So we went on place together, they took me with themselves again and found me a good place on their tribune. My friends were a little bit late but they gave me their club T-shirt + French make up again + my own French flag = I wasn’t a stranger, became also almost French. When the players came in, some reporters, French as I understood, stopped Arnaud et Micka, who came the last, and asked them from some questions or something other maybe for long enough time.
And then the first - Richard’s - match started. Richard did everything on court, supporters did everything on tribunes… Even some magical things! That looked very nice! At least Richard won a set.
But finally he lost and the most of frenchies from court left their places very fast. I also left French tribune and went to my one for to go then to VIP zone and meet there somebody. I spent there all the break between the matches but met only Russian players. When I returned to tribune I almost bumped into Arnaud who run with Mickael to court – they were late again. I wished them bonne chance, got “merci” from Arnaud and also run to my place on French tribune. The last match was Paulo – Andreev. And that looked like Paulo was the most favorite player of French supporters. During this match (or perhaps the previous one, I’m not sure now) the French reporter came into our tribune and got an interview of one of the main supporters (who began all the songs, shouting in his megaphone). But all the efforts of French crowd helped Paulo to win just some sets… On the bench of French players the most nervous was Llodra, who left the court during every pause between sets –together with Arnaud.
I think the atmosphere on French tribune during the last match was especially fantastic. And when everything finished I really felt myself French… I remembered that I’m Russian only when one woman asked me how I feel Russian victory. The only my feeling was that we lost… All the supporters of French team stayed on their place, I had also no reasons to leave the tribune so stayed with them. The players went out. The only of them who stopped near our tribune and applauded to us was Arnaud… Soon everybody left the stadium except us. I didn’t know what we’re waiting for but didn’t want to ask. Finally guards came and leaded us to VIP zone where there were tables with meal and drinks for us (for free). We were there for 15 – 20 minutes and then Gael and Richard came to us. Photos, autographs etc… 20 minutes later Paulo also came to us. So my flag became signed by the members of the team. Except Grosjean.
By the way, the most free and talkative was Gael (well, nothing strange….), Richard and Paulo were very confused and felt themselves little bit uncomfortable. After all, the supporters organized a nice game. Soon the players loved that game also.
But finally les gars went out (I asked fans why we hadn’t seen Arnaud, Mickael and Guy Forget – they answered it was maybe because they were going to fly to France that day). We get some affiches of the tournament, my friends presented me a tennis ball. Yeah, with “Rolland Garros” words on it. If they got it from players or from somewhere else… I’m not sure. So we were also going to the exit. But we spent the time of our way very nice also, especially in the subway – waving the flags, singing, dancing…
Absolutely crazy. Anyway I’d perhaps never have a chance to sing Marseillaise in Moscow subway again… But all the songs and events of those days are still in my mind.