Sunday 5 June 2016

Andy Murray's French Open 2016

For major sporting tournaments I sometimes try and give myself a challenge like drawing every member of the GB Davis Cup team last year.  Actually what really happens is I start something for fun and then find myself having to finish the set much like Novak Djokovic found himself trying to complete his set of Grand Slams at the French Open this year.

Most of the time when I follow tennis it is either Davis Cup, Andy Murray or Wimbledon but this year I could watch the French Open on TV so I thought I would keep track of how Andy Murray was doing after his impressive win in Rome over Djokovic on clay when I drew this quick cartoon (it was also his 29th birthday).

The big news going into the French Open apart from Djokovic's desire to win it, and Andy Murray's form was Federer pulling out of his first grand slam in 17 years due to injury.

The first cartoon show's Andy Murray's route to the final which at first was thought to be an easier half of the drawer since it didn't have Nadal in it (who was to pull out injured).  His progress in cartoons was:

  • Round 1 - Radek Stepanek.  An old man in tennis terms at 37 Murray was two points away from leaving the tournament in the first round before he turned it around to win in 5 sets.
  • Round 2 - Mathias Bourgue.  After the wily veteran who fought his way into the French Open through the qualifiers we thought the young wild card Frenchman Mathias Bourgue would be a much easier and he wasn't taking Andy to five sets.  I originally drew him as a Star Trek Borg so I could use the tagline 'Resistance is Futile'.
  • Round 3 - Ivo Karlovic.  Just when you began to believe all of Andy's matches would be five set rollercoasters he managed to sweep aside the big serving Ivo Karlovic (also an old man at 37) in straight sets.  Of the caricatures I drew I probably like his long drawn out face the most although I am sure he is more cheery in real life
  • Round 4 - John Isner.  The big serving American didn't give Andy Murray too many problems either and suddenly with the fixture congestion due to rain affecting Djokovic's side of the draw it was looking better for Andy.
  • Quarter Finals - Richard Gasquet.  The last remaining Frenchman Richard Gasquet looked like a tricky test and took a lead in the first set and took the second set to a tie break before collapsing quite spectacularly in the third set to get "bagelled" by Murray (6-0) before succumbing in the forth.  I was quite pleased I could make his outfit blend into the flag in the drawing.
  • Semi Finals - Stan Wawrinka.  Perhaps Andy Murray's finest hour in the tournament was to despatch reigning champion Swiss Stan Wawrinka in fours sets playing some fine tennis on clay.  I liked Stan the Man's yellow outfit and the way he was always taking selfies at the end of his matches so I tried to incorporate these into his caricature.
  • The Final - Novak Djokovic.  It was perhaps inevitable it would come down to these two and while the betting odds were clearly in Novak's favour with his experience of winning many grand slams, part of you couldn't help wonder if Andy Murray would continue the tradition of other players frustrating him at the French Open.  He lost the opening game to love, but then went on a fabulous winning streak that broke Djokovic twice and netted him the first set.  When he almost broke Djokovic in the first game of the second set it was still looking good but Djokovic stepped up a gear and won the second the third sets 6-4.  The fourth set may have been a chance for a Murray comeback but he was broken twice and his late rally only put off the inevitable when Djokovic won 6-4 to claim the only Grand Slam he hadn't won.
The other talking points that spawn cartoons were the weather and the outfits.

The lack of a roof (the Australian Open has three, Wimbledon one and the US Open will get one this year) coupled with some pretty abysmal weather for northern France meant a lot of play was rained off with one day being lost completely and other days where very little play occurred.  Despite this they did get through the schedule in time to have the men's final on the second Sunday but with some forecasts this wasn't looking likely.

Secondly Adidas players were wearing a funky black and white zebra pattern outfit based on the dazzle camouflage of WW2 allied shipping.  I drew a picture from one of the battle of the Zebras when two adidas players Thiem and Zverev were battling it out in the third round.

It even got a retweet from the Roland Garros twitter account.

So a wet French Open was good for the unstoppable Novak Djokovic and nearly great for Andy Murray.  Now the grass season is upon us and in a month or so it will be Wimbledon.  No idea if I will do anymore for that given it falls in a busier time of year for me.

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