Bitter Rivalries and Bromance



Originally published on 05/06/17 00:00


After Simona Halep busted past Carla Suarez-Navarro to reach the French Open quarter-finals and Andy Murray finished off the 21-year-old Russian Karen Khachanov in three sets, it was time for Stan Wawrinka and Gael Monfils to take to the Philippe-Chatrier Court.

Stan the Man and Monfils chatted briefly before they took up their positions to begin the pre-match warm-up – these two are longstanding friends on the circuit but have not met on court since the 2011 Australian Open.

Unlike Muguruza’s rather hostile showdown with Mladenovic on Sunday, these two men demonstrated true sportsmanship on court.

At one point in the match, when a disputed line-call had Monfils leaning over the net to double check the marking, Wawrinka came over to offer his opinion which Monfils duly respected, having previously tried to argue with the umpire.

In fact, Wawrinka is notorious for offering kind words of wisdom – in 2016 he told French magazine L’Equipe how he had given Monfils advice about the Frenchman’s career. He said: “Friends – if I can help them, I try. I don’t think about competition.”


Off-court rivalry

Caroline Garcia and Alize Cornet faced each other in an all-French fourth round match. But these women are not only rivals on the court – the pair also hold longstanding grudges towards each other.

It all began when, during France’s Fed Cup play-off against Spain in April 2016, Garcia was named in the team even though she had voiced the fact that she did not want to play in the competition. She then proceeded to pull out of the tournament due to injury.

But it seems her other team-mates were not impressed by what they thought was a faux injury – Cornet, Kristina Mladenovic and Pauline Parmentier all tweeted at the same time “LOL”, leaving Garcia rather upset.

Mladenovic has her own tensions with Garcia after the No.28 seed ended their doubles partnership even after their success as a pair – they won the French Open together in 2016. Mladenovic went on to say in an interview Garcia was controlled by her father.

In the press conference before the 2017 French Open match between Garcia and Cornet the pair confirmed their cold rapport.

Cornet said: “I think that the relationship is not very good. I think she may have a grudge against us, so she's not ready to talk with me.”

When Garcia was asked if she may go for a coffee with Cornet before the match, she replied bluntly: “No, not before, and probably not after.”


What is in his box?

Andy Murray was caught striding onto court with Tupperware in his left hand, again!

The world No.1 is causing rumours to circulate as to what he could be keeping in those neatly packaged plastic boxes that he keeps close by during every match – so far suggestions have ranged from sushi to Tunnocks tea cakes. Judy Murray suggested it may even be his grandmother's shortbread.

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