spectators color.JPG
spectators color.JPG

Joel Drucker: Roland Garros and the Color of Tennis

The two friends had arrived at Roland Garros for the first time. As late afternoon crept towards early evening, the pair took a walk west of Suzanne Lenglen Court, towards a bank of practice courts. Once inside, the two snuck onto Court 16, found two tennis balls and grabbed a ballboy to take their picture. But the ballboy had business to conduct. Taking each ball, he made sure the words on the ball “Roland Garros” were aligned properly, pointed towards the camera at the proper angle. The ballboy nodded affirmatively. The two friends would now have a suitable photo.

None of tennis’ majors treats the spectrum of style with more panache and diligence than Roland Garros. The Roland Garros aesthetic starts, of course, with the evocative clay. Red, orange, crushed brick – call it what you want, but the texture of this surface never bores. To see it fresh each morning is a delight. To witness the accumulation of marks generated over the course of a long match impresses in yet another way. Be it wet, dark and muddy, or dry, light and quick, clay constantly summons players to repeatedly answer different questions. Yes, here at Roland Garros the devil is not just in the details, but also in the dirt.

But clay is merely one color of the palette. Each year at Roland Garros, other colors surface that flavor (edible pun intended) the entire tournament. Twelve months ago, a bizarre, zebra-like black and white surfaced. Other years have seen chartreuse, hot pink, light blue, hot orange, sunburst yellow. This year’s color of note is a light turquoise-aqua, seen on various shirts, skirts and other forms of apparel. Even the garbage cans are showcases, many this year adorned in bright blue. From the trash to the court, from the players to the fans, these colors infuse Roland Garros with a friendly spirit of play; perhaps even mirth, merriment and a ceaseless pursuit of style. The city of light is also the city of art directors.

Read more articles by Joel Drucker

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