French open diary

Rafael Nadal is following a strict routine. A light breakfast, the same dinner, and a fiercely competitive game on the computer before going to bed. The secondseeded Spaniard begins each day by eating "bread with chocolate'' and drinking "a few juices.''

For dinner, he heads to the Champs-Elysees for his favourite meal, joined by his uncle Toni Nadal and Albert Costa _ the 2002 French Open champion.

Nadal likes to eat "my typical gambas (prawns), which I love; olives, which I also like a lot, and a plate of pasta.'' He said this on his daily blog on the ATP's Web site. After topping off his night meal with ice cream, Nadal rushed back to the hotel for an eagerly anticipated match on Playstation.

"WE ATE PRETTY FAST and went back quickly at 11 p.m. because we had another meeting,'' Nadal said. "You'll already know what I'm talking about ... A Playstation match. The legendary Ferru (David Ferrer) and myself against our tough opponents Moyini (Carlos Moya) and David Nalbandian.''

Rafael Nadal has a score to settle with Carlos Moya. Moya, who won the 1998 French Open title, beat the twotime defending champion at Playstation tennis _ and then broke his equipment.

"I THINK WE ARE VERY, VERY competitive with our Playstations together,'' Nadal said after reaching the third round at Roland Garros. "He (Moya) said I'm a pain in the neck.''

Besides the loss, the 20-year-old Nadal also plans to make Moya pay him back for some damages.

"I'm going to apply sanctions because he broke my controller,'' Nadal said. "I'm just left with my Playstation. It's always very expensive and I'm not the one breaking it.''

The tiff didn't seem to bother them on the real tennis court _ each won their second-round matches in straight sets. The second-seeded Nadal beat Flavio Cipolla 6-2, 6-1, 6-4, and No. 23 Moya defeated Florent Serra 6-4, 6-2, 6-4.

Gaston Gaudio was upbeat despite letting a two-set lead slip to Lleyton Hewitt in the second round of the French Open. Gaudio, the 2004 French Open champion, saw enough positives in his game to think he might be getting back on track. "I'm quite hopeful because today I felt the ball quite well,'' Gaudio said after losing to Hewitt 4-6, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2. "I'm relatively confident with my game.''

GAUDIO, WHO HAS ONLY REACHED the quarterfinals once this season, felt short on fitness against Hewitt. "I haven't played at such a level for a long time,'' the 28-year-old Argentine said. "Over the past two months, I haven't played in a long match. It is not easy to go into the long haul in a match such as today.''

Edouard Roger-Vasselin felt powerless against Juan Monaco. "I did everything I could,'' Roger-Vasselin said. "He has no weaknesses in his game.'' The Frenchman lost to Monaco 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 in the third round and had no complaints.

"HE WAS A BETTER PLAYER than me, so nothing to regret,'' Roger-Vasselin said. "I did what I could.'' Roger-Vasselin, who usually features in Futures and Challenger events, has played only eight career matches on the ATP tour.

Maria Sharapova admits her cooking is "completely awful.'' "I'm not very patient,'' Sharapova said after reaching the third round at the French Open. "I can't wait for things to boil and to fry and make sure it's red and all of that.''

The second-seeded Russian, who beat Jill Craybas of the United States 6-2, 6-1, only barely knows her way around the supermarket.

"THE FIRST TIME I WAS LOST, absolutely lost,'' Sharapova said. "Now I've got it under control. I know where the vegetables are, where my favourite cheese is. I've got it all going.''

Novak Djokovic-AP

Novak Djokovic is trying to break a habit. The sixthseeded Serb bounces the ball repeatedly before serving _ so much that crowds have noticed it.

"I KNOW EVERYBODY makes fun of that,'' Djokovic said after reaching the third round beating Laurent Recouderc 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.

During that match, Djokovic had bounced the ball so fast with his hand that it flew away.

"I was a bit embarrassed,'' Djokovic said. "I had some bad bounce, and the ball went away, and everybody smiled.''

DJOKOVIC SAID BOUNCING the tennis ball repeatedly like a basketball player helps him focus.

"I'm thinking about a lot of things in my head,'' he said. "I'm trying to concentrate for my serve. I know that on clay, I have to play long points.''

But he promises to make an effort from now on. "I'll try to make it faster,'' Djokovic said. "So the crowd cannot make fun of me.''

Ana Ivanovic-AP

Ana Ivanovic thinks all Serbian tennis players have a "tough mentality.''

"I think that's what we probably have in common,'' Ivanovic said after beating Sofia Arvidsson 6-2, 6-0 in the first round. "We're all very good fighters.''

THEY ALREADY HAVE SEVEN TITLES between them this season. "It's unbelievable for our country,'' the 19-year-old Ivanovic said. " think they should appreciate it back home because who knows when it's going to happen again. This a great time for our tennis.''

And getting stopped on the street is a small price for the success.

"People recognise me wherever I go,'' Ivanovic said. "You lose a bit of privacy. But it's exciting. It's different.''

Anastasia Myskina had such fun after her foot surgery she wondered why she came back to play.

"I had a great life,'' Myskina said after losing to Meghann Shaughnessy 6-1, 6-0. "I don't know why I'm here.''

She looked hampered in her movement, and could not chase down shots against her American opponent.

THE 25-YEAR-OLD RUSSIAN had a novel explanation for her lack of mobility. "You can see that I'm moving like a big cow now,'' Myskina said. "I can't push, you know, from my foot, from the left foot like I used to. I can't run.''

Myskina, the 2004 French Open champion, hurt her left toe in August last year playing in Stockholm, Sweden. She had surgery on her foot on January 15.

When she got back to Moscow, she stayed away from the courts and tried other things. "I had a soccer show on television. I have no idea about soccer, but now I'm kind of into that,'' Myskina said, adding that she was also "commentating (on) tennis.'' It gave her a glimpse of how life could be in the future.

"I HAD THE GREAT LIFE these (past) five months in Moscow,'' Myskina said. "So I know how it's going to be after tennis. And it's fine with me.''

Players have been sympathetic about her injury _ but she's not sure if it's totally sincere.

"All of them smile to me,'' Myskina said. "So it's nice. But you never know what they say behind your back.''

Richard Gasquet-AP

Richard Gasquet "never felt more alone'' on a tennis court than during his loss to Kristof Vliegen.

The 11th-seeded Frenchman, who had hopes of making the second week, fell to his Belgian opponent 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-1 in the second round.

"I WASN'T RELAXED AT ALL,'' Gasquet said. "Nothing could have been worse than this match.'' Gasquet put himself under so much strain that it started to affect his mind.

"The court appeared too big. I could see everyone expecting too much,'' he said. "I was just not with it.''

Starting as underdog suits Gasquet much better _ he beat top-ranked Roger Federer on clay in the quarterfinals of the Monte Carlo Masters in 2005.

"I had nothing to lose (then),'' Gasquet said. "This time I had everything to lose.''

Teimuraz Gabashvili of Russia became the seventh player to retire in the first round of this year's French Open _ a new record at Roland Garros, and equalling the Grand Slam record.

GABASHVILI WAS TRAILING Flavio Cipolla of Italy 7-6 (6), 6-3, 5-2 when he abandoned because of pain in his right wrist. Seven players also retired in the first round of the U.S. Open in 2002.

Li Na was thinking more about the Champs-Elysees than the red clay. The 16th-seeded Chinese player advanced to the second round beating Sandra Kloesel of Germany 7-6 (4), 6-0.

"I DON'T LIKE CLAY, but I like Paris, you know, because I love the shopping,'' Li said with a laugh. "So for me, if I lose the match, I just go shopping.'' Li reached the third round at Roland Garros last year, when she also got to Wimbledon's quarterfinals.

Jamea Jackson-AP

Jamea Jackson could feel the cold at the French Open _ in her hip.

The 20-year-old American, who lost to Samantha Stosur of Australia 6-1, 6-2 in the first round, had hip surgery in December.

"IT DEFINITELY GOT STIFF,'' Jackson said. "I was struggling to move.''

She first noticed the hip pain shortly after last year's U.S. Open and wound up off the tour for about six months. The French Open was her first tour-level event of 2007.

"Just waiting around is difficult. It was cold and rainy, and it was just tough to get moving. I think that made my hip even stiffer,'' Jackson said. "My speed is one of my weapons, and today it wasn't really there, especially out to the backhand side. It's going to take me a while to get that back."

Justine Henin-AP

Starting her French Open title defence on a Sunday did not rest easy with Justine Henin. "It's strange. I'm not sure it's a good idea," Henin said after beating Elena Vesnina of Russia 6-4, 6-3.

"It breaks our habits. Everyone's a bit lost." The fact she had to wait more then five hours to play because of a rain delay didn't help much, either.

"IT WAS SO CROWDED AT THE PLAYER'S cafeteria, men and women everywhere, overcrowded," Henin said. "That's what I hate about the start of a Grand Slam. You're not really at ease. You can't really be in a peaceful place."

Henin, who was also unhappy with the string tension of her racket, hit some loose forehands, and also lost two straight service games at the end of the first set and beginning of the second.

At least she was happier with the crowd on centre court _ even though it was about half empty.

"I GOT A GREAT RECEPTION. And that warms the heart. That's a positive thing for me today."

The French Open opened on a Sunday for the first time last year, with 28,084 spectators. There were 30,185 fans this time.