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Young and Old at Roland Garros / Chaos at the Champions League Final

For a few years, Pete Sampras had the most grand slams in tennis history with 14 championship titles at the highest level. After last week in Paris, Rafael Nadal now has 14 grand slam titles at the French Open alone. The media has run out of superlatives to describe Nadal’s greatness; there simply is no comparison in tennis history, perhaps in sports history. Combined with his titles at the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open, he has twenty-two total grand slam titles, just one behind Serena Williams. The most special aspect of this year’s title run was Nadal’s health; he had a flare-up of his serious disorder that causes severe foot pain. Before each match, Nadal received injections to numb his foot entirely. As Nadal repeated throughout the fortnight, he does not know how many more times he will be gracing the Parisian crowd with this mastery of the clay court. We are lucky to have witnessed this greatness.

Speaking of greatness, Iga Swiatek of Poland is looking like the next great player in women’s tennis. It is not just that she won Roland Garros having only lost a single set; it’s that she dominated almost every single match. Her current win streak sits at 35, which is the longest win streak since 2000. This is Swiatek’s second Roland Garros title and her second grand slam overall. With such dominance from age 21, the tennis world is expecting her to win many more grand slams. The question now is whether this dominance will translate to the upcoming grass- and hard-court seasons.

A few other young players made significant headway in Paris this year. 18-year-old Cori “Coco” Gauff made her first major final. Although she did not put up too much of a fight against Swiatek, the young American proved that she is on her way to fulfilling the immense potential that the world first saw when she beat Venus Williams at Wimbledon at age 15. Two 19-year-olds, Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz and Denmark’s Holger Rune, both made it to their first grand slam quarterfinals. With Nadal nearing retirement, the future looks bright for the next generation of stars.

Chaos at the Champions League Final

After pepper spray, fence-hopping, and injuries outside the Liverpool – Real Madrid final, the French government is facing a lot of criticism about how it handled, or mishandled, hosting the event. But the French government has acknowledged few failings, doubling down instead on its assertion that the chaos had been caused primarily by tens of thousands of Liverpool fans who converged on the Stade de France, the stadium north of Paris where the game was held, with fake tickets or no tickets at all.

Gérald Darmanin, the French interior minister, said at a news conference that the “root cause” of the chaos was a “massive, industrial and organized fraud of fake tickets” — roughly 30,000 to 40,000, by his account, a figure he said was supported by UEFA, European soccer’s governing body. “Obviously, there is nothing to be proud of with what we saw Saturday evening,” Mr Darmanin said, but he praised French police for preventing people from being injured or crushed to death.
Mr Darmanin dismissed questions over France’s preparedness for the Summer Games and the 2023 Rugby World Cup, which the country is also hosting, as “disproportionate”, laying the blame for Saturday’s events squarely at British feet. “Clearly, there is only in soccer — and in particular, within soccer, with certain British clubs — that this kind of situation occurs”, he said — even though French soccer has faced rising violence itself, including on Sunday, when angry fans invaded the field of a game between Auxerre and Saint-Étienne.

Politicians in Britain and France have assailed French authorities for their handling of the situation and called for an investigation into crowd control and security failings at the stadium. Many supporters complained about the aggressive use of tear gas and pepper spray by French police ahead of the game, and then over being targeted by pickpockets near the Stade de France after the game ended.