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Juan Martin del Potro still hunting disruptive fan, Sloane Stephens keeps up press conference banter – Roland Garros diary

Reem Abulleil's latest diary from Roland Garros features Juan Martin del Potro, Rafael Nadal and Sloane Stephens.

Reem Abulleil 2018/06/08

Juan Martin del Potro tends to provide tons of memorable moments on the court – I mean with a forehand like that, how can he not?

But it’s not just his tennis that grabs your attention, it’s every tiny detail, from his interaction with the line judges and chair umpire – hugs have been passed around from time to time – to his back-and-forths with spectators in the stands.

After his match with John Isner in the quarter-finals, Del Potro’s way of responding to an enthusiastic American fan who chanted “U-S-A, U-S-A” throughout the entire match was to sing “Allez les Bleus” – a popular chant among French sports fans – during his on-court interview.

He scored some valuable points with the French crowd that day.

During his semi-final against Marin Cilic, Del Potro was furious at a spectator who made a sound when he was serving, causing him to double fault. The Argentine couldn’t exactly determine who the culprit was. He joked during his press conference that he’s still searching for him.

“It was someone who made a loud [sound] before my serve, and I made a double fault. That’s why I got angry with someone. I couldn’t find the right person,” he said with a smile on Thursday.

“But I get closer to them, just asking who was it? But I’m still trying to find the right person,” he added, sending the room into laughter.

“But anyways, then it was my fault. I mean, the crowd are amazing, and that happens very often. But I wasn’t focused in that moment, so I made the mistake.”

40 YEARS YOUNG

Elsewhere, Rafael Nadal got a question he did not expect. A Spanish-speaking reporter told him that Real Madrid have released a study that shows that the 33-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo has a body of a 23-year-old, with only 7 per cent body fat. She asked Nadal, who is 32, how he felt his body, and what tricks he has to keep himself in shape.

“My body is about 40 years old, but I’m not really focusing on that,” said Nadal, who has suffered numerous serious injuries throughout his career.

“I’m just playing tennis. I’m not really interested by all these things, and I don’t think that — you can’t really know the reality of how old is your body.

“I’m 32, and I’m how I am. I’m happy. I accept my age. I try to adapt to all the changes that the body is going through over the years. There are things that are lost and there are other things that are gained, and I’m trying to improve all the time. That’s it. I’m happy for Cristiano that he’s 23, his body is 23.”


SLOANE BANTER

Meanwhile, US Open champion Sloane Stephens continued to have fun with the press even the day before she contests the final against Simona Halep here in Paris.

The American has an interesting personality, and her relationship with the media is often tough to figure out. You cannot tell if she loves talking to journalists or hates it, and the answer if probably: Somewhere in between.

She’s had plenty of face time with reporters this fortnight en route to the final and it seems the attention hasn’t been off-putting.

“It’s not bad. You guys actually haven’t been bad the last two weeks, so it’s okay,” Stephens joked on Friday in her pre-final press conference.

“Yeah, obviously with wins and the deeper you go into a tournament, there is more expectation on you, and here obviously.

“It’s not always fun. Today is my off day, and I’m spending it with you guys. It’s not ideal, but it’s what comes with winning. So it’s not too bad.”

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