Random thoughts, observations, links and other goodies from the first few days of the French Open …
• Ever notice how tennis players' kits don't look like logo-emblazoned soccer jerseys or why players don't have 20 patches all over their shirts like NASCAR drivers? Well, it's because the ATP, WTA and ITF all have rules against such logo placement and those rules are strictly (sometimes?) enforced.
Umpire Kader Nouni told Ana Ivanovic to take off her visor during her first-round match against Petra Martic because it violated the ITF's rules, which allow only one logo on the visor (the WTA allows two). Because Adidas' three stripes are considered a logo, Ivanovic had to switch to another one. Was this a sneaky attempt by Adidas or complete ignorance of the rules?
• Have to thank Amer Delic for this: Separated at birth -- Nouni and The Ladies Man.
• I'm not sure we'll get a more gripping match than Venus Williams vs. Urszula Radwanska in the first week, but I appreciate Gael Monfils and Tomas Berdych trying.
• Quick thoughts on Venus: It's not about her level of play but her health. This is a woman who, when healthy, made the semifinals of two WTA tournaments this season; she can still play some good ball. But she's a completely different player without her serve, which lacked zip against Radwanska because of a lower-back injury. If she can that weapon, she's still a top-25 player.
So why are some trying to push the 32-year-old out the door? The sport is better when she's around. I, for one, am more than happy to watch her put on a clinic every week on what it means to compete. The kids could learn something.
• Gilles Simon did right by his mom on Mother's Day in France.
• Props to Nick Kyrgios, Jack Sock, Ryan Harrison, Jiri Vesely and Pablo Carreno-Busta for solid performances, some in wins and others in losses. Good to see from the 21-and-under set on the men's side.
• Gone but not forgotten: Kim Clijsters is cheering on her Belgians from afar.
• Marion Bartoli is eccentric and non-conformist bordering on the comically absurd. But she remains one of my favorite players to watch for her willingness to get down and dirty to fight for matches and because she seems completely oblivious to how ridiculous she can look doing it. We all need a little bit more of that "dance like no one's watching" attitude.
• Reuters says Bartoli "hogged the stage" in her three-hour, opening-round victory Tuesday, keeping Novak Djokovic from making his center-court debut until 6:30 p.m. Funny, I don't remember seeing the articles accusing Monfils of the same thing Monday when his four-plus-hour match pushed defending champion Maria Sharapova off Chatrier and onto Court Suzanne Lenglen for her tournament debut. Also, one might argue that it was the multiple rain delays that actually prevented Djokovic from getting on court before 6:30 p.m., not the WTA French No. 1, who was, you know, just trying to win a match.
• Berdych has now lost in the first round of a Slam for seven consecutive years.
• In the "Unfortunately Notable" department: Andy Murray watches women's tennis, he can appreciate it and he respects the female champions. I hate to say it, but that's a rarity in the men's game. That Judy Murray raised him right.
• Speaking of Andys, how about Roddick stretching out his analytical muscles? Preparing for his gig with Fox Sports, I see.
• Nickname of the tournament so far goes to our own Jon Wertheim: Jacques Sock.
• Americans in Paris: Jack Sock, who won his first-round match after qualifying for the French Open, says he's eaten at Chipotle six or seven of the last 10 nights he's been in Paris. "It's a decent cab ride from the hotel," he said. Dude, this is unacceptable.
• Nine American women are into the second round, with Jamie Hampton still to play. One of the nine, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, summed it up nicely: "It's funny because a couple of years ago everyone was asking me, 'Where's women's tennis [in the U.S.]?' And now here we are and we have the most in the main draw of any country. That's good." Good indeed.
• Because I don't subscribe to a cable provider that lets me use ESPN3, huge props to Tennis Channel's online streaming. The images are crystal clear, there's no buffering and the commentary skews on the minimal side of the line.
• Ride public transportation. You never know who you'll end up with.
• Comedian Judah Friedlander was on the Tennis Channel set at Roland Garros. Sure, why not!
• Canada's Genie Bouchard is probably going to be spanked by Maria Sharapova in the second round. But keep an eye on Bouchard as the season turns to grass and hard courts. The reigning junior Wimbledon champion, 19, has made a slow but steady transition to the pro game. She reached her first WTA semifinal last week, in Strasbourg, France, and got her first main-draw win at a Slam this week, beating Tsvetana Pironkova 6-1, 7-6 (2).
• No one loses 18 tiebreakers in a row: Robin Haase ended his streak at 17 by finally taking one, against Kenny De Scheepers in the first round. (Haase won in four sets.)
• What is the point of the "Momentum" statistic provided by IBM Stat Tracker at the Slams? Is there ever really a question about who has momentum? And would you really ever take a computer's word for it?
• John Isner broke serve four times and didn't have to play a tiebreaker in his straight-set win over a South American clay-courter, Carlos Berlocq. Huh.
• This tweet can't surprise anyone:
• It's Ms. Pavlyuchenkova if you're Nasty(a).
• Alexander Ovechkin has been such a value add.
• Everyone is taking potshots at the French Open by comparing it's cold and wet weather to that of London. https://twitter.com/mkirilenko/status/339388351759142912