For a few euros at Roland-Garros, you can still see heroes, almost touch them too. This Wednesday, while Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz were playing on more prestigious courts, Gilles Simon and Hugo Gaston, the two Blues who survived the first round the night before, trod the land of the anonymous and very small court number 4. In the shadow of the imposing Central, the two teamed up to play the first round of the doubles tournament.

“We’re lucky,” rejoices Caroline, a Lille resident who came with her husband and children. I didn’t know they were playing today. I watched Gaston’s match yesterday (Tuesday) on TV and it’s cool to see him there in person. We can’t go to the Central or the Lenglen so we console ourselves with what we have and that’s already good. It just takes a little patience and indeed quite a bit of luck to approach the two players within 5m. The court is so small that only 300 lucky people, including many children, can enter it. To enter, you have to wait for a place to become available and it is rare. So at the door, the queue is long and ends up being frustrating because the game does not last long: barely an hour.

Gilles Simon and Hugo Gaston have heavy legs. Simon had gone to bed late the night before and didn’t fall asleep until the early hours of the day. His match against Pablo Carreno Busta ended at 1:15 a.m. after an incredible duel in 5 rounds. Gaston the little magician from Porte d’Auteuil also drew on his strength to dismiss the Australian Alex de Minaur in the evening and also in 5 sets. So inevitably, when you still have to hit the ball so soon after, it stings a little.

A fast-paced part

“We feel that they are playing quiet, remarks Luc le Parisien under his cap. They smile, laugh and seem quite complicit but they don’t give everything. On long balls, they don’t go all out. It’s normal: they are exhausted and play again tomorrow. They have to keep their strength because I imagine that for them, the doubles tournament is of no importance. It’s even already nice that they’re here: it should help them clean up after all the efforts of the day before. »

Simon and Gaston are not doubles specialists either. The two friends have rarely exceeded a first round in doubles in a Grand Slam. Their unprecedented association also lacks benchmarks. This is not the case opposite: the Dutchman Robin Haase and South African Raven Klaasen are them real specialists in the two-player game. They have already played Grand Slam doubles finals and are here to win the tournament. Facing them, despite the timid “Allez les Bleus”, “Vas-y Gaston” and “Thank you Gillou for everything”, the game is quickly over. Gaston and Simon lost 3-6, 1-6.

No big deal: for them, the tournament really starts again this Thursday with the second round of singles. Gilles Simon is opposed to the American Steve Johnson (n°92) and Hugo Gaston (n°74) will start favorite against the Argentinian Pedro Cachin (n°153). Before thinking about it, they offered themselves a little walkabout at the exit before going to rest. It was perhaps the last bath for Gilles Simon who will say goodbye to Roland-Garros in the event of defeat this Thursday. In a few months he will be retired.

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