Roland Garros gives us the opportunity to savor all things French, including the nation’s talented and quirky roster of top players. Michael Llodra beat Simone Bolelli today in front of jubilant French fans, and given that I also have a crush on him, I thought now was the time for a serious appreciation of this charismatic player’s special gifts.
He may not posses the lick your lips gorgeousness of a Marat Safin or a Fernando Verdasco, but he has loads of sophisticated Gallic charm, joie de vivre, intelligence and, yes, a certain je ne sais quoi!
Can’t get past the goofy teeth? Readers, I present you with the following evidence:
1. He’s affectionate:
GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images via Daylife
2. He’s goofy and groovy (check out the fro and disco dancing) – Michael’s about one minute into the video, the No. 5 position.
3. He’s got good taste and a good attitude. Remember how he rallied his team mate, Arnaud Clement, to beat the top ranked Bryan bros in the Davis Cup semi?
“Clement said that at 3-all in the second set, after the Frenchmen had lost the first set, Llodra told him on the court that the two would drink Chateau Margaux wine tonight even if they lost. Apparently that was exactly the tonic Llodra and Clement needed to come back and win the match.
‘During the match he tells me this kind of thing,’ Clement told reporters with Llodra seated next to him. ‘He’s crazy this guy.’ Asked by Sandra Harwitt of Reuters whether we journalists would be invited to share in the impressive vintage, Llodra said, ‘We’ll see. It’s expensive. We have to win the tie. Then I promise you we’ll have Chateau Margaux here.'”
(Quote from tennis week.)
4. He’s generous! After beating Bolelli today he threw all of his shirts – both used and unused – into the crowd (giving us a nice view of his abs, in the process.) Justin Gimelstob mentioned that Michael Llodra offered up so many rackets after he and Clement won Wimbledon last year, that he was short when he went on to his next tournament. Please check out this wonderful video of last year’s trophy ceremony to get an idea of Llodra’s charm.
5. He’s comfortable with his body. He (and Fabrice Santoro) celebrated their 2004 Aussie open doubles title victory with a little impromptu strip tease. Here’s the full article.
6. Oh, and he can play tennis, too!