When I first heard that Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer were involved in a new exhibition just before Roland Garros, I thought “whatever, I hate exos.” But I learned a little more about it, and now I’m intrigued. . .
The Guinot Mary Cohr Masters, as it’s called, is scheduled for May 20-22 at the Paris Golf & Country Club, using the same clay and balls as Roland Garros. It’s a team competition, with two teams of six players competing against each other, led by “internationally renowned captains.”
According to early info, the roster includes Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Gael Monfils (now doubtful because of knee injury), David Nalbandian, Marat Safin, James Blake, Tommy Haas, Stanislas Wawrinka, Julien Benneteau and Arnaud Clement. Don’t know who the twelfth player is, but I’m hoping it’s like a bonus character in a video game and will be, say, Richard Simmons or a guy in a Shrek costume. Or maybe Martina Hingis!
Here’s more on the exo’s funky format from rogerfederer.com:
The players will meet as teammates and opponents in a unique new event that will be staged on red clay in Paris providing ideal preparation for the French Open. The team competition will feature the same balls and court conditions as Roland Garros. The 12 players will be divided up into two teams of six, Guinot vs. Mary Cohr, coached by internationally renowned captains. Two best-of-three set matches a day from 1:30 p.m. onwards will commence. Each player will play once only during the three-day tournament and the two captains will challenge one another on the Friday just before the presentation of the trophy. Because the stands are nearer the courts than anywhere else, the spectators will get a close-up of the stars in competition.
Can Roger and Rafa take turns choosing players for their teams, like in gym class kickball? Stan getting teary when Roger picks Nalbandian first, Rafa trying to decide between Benneteau and Shrek – I’d fly to Paris just to see that!
And what is the captain challenge all about? Is it like Shamil Tarpischev and Patrick McEnroe playing a super tiebreak? Or does Bud Collins ask trivia questions? This is all very confusing. . .please clue me in, someone!