French Open Diary: Thiem blasts 'pain in the a**e' national service, Dier and Riner watch Nadal masterclass
Dominic Thiem described his national service as a "pain in the a**e" after showing military precision to reach his first grand slam final, while Eric Dier and Teddy Riner were at Roland Garros to see a Rafael Nadal masterclass.
Thiem beat surprise package Marco Cecchinato in the first semi-final on Court Philippe Chatrier and was later given a painful reminder of a stint in the Austrian military.
England international Dier strolled casually around Roland Garros in the sun 10 days before his first World Cup match.
Giant judoka legend Riner stopped for photos with star-struck fans in his homeland prior to seeing Nadal brutally force Juan Martin del Potro into submission to reach an unprecedented 11th final in Paris.
It was all happening on and off court on a glorious Friday in Paris, as you will discover in the daily diary.
THIEM A FORCE IN PARIS, BUT NOT A FAN OF THE FORCES
Thiem bossed Italian Cecchinato in the heat to break new ground at a major four years after he was taking the orders.
The world number eight was called up for duty in 2014, fulfilling an obligation all Austrians must comply to by law.
Thiem served four weeks rather than the customary six months in the forces, which was more than enough for him.
Asked how much his service stands him in good stead on the tennis court, the smiling seventh seed said: "Nothing, zero. I'm not a big fan of the military service.
"It was a pain in the ass these three, four weeks, seriously. I mean, that's all I can say. Yeah, didn't help the start of the 2015 season. I'm just glad that it's over."
DIER WARMS UP FOR WORLD CUP WITH PARIS JAUNT
Dier was among the Nadal fans in Paris just over a week before England's start their World Cup campaign against Tunisia.
The versatile Tottenham man took the opportunity to make a jaunt to Roland Garros the morning after he was an unused substitute in a victory over Costa Rica for Gareth Southgate's side.
Dier told Omnisport of his love of tennis as he stopped for a quick chat on a walk around the famous grounds in the French capital and took in some action on the outside courts before watching the men's semi-finals.
England supporters will be hoping he can draw inspiration from the great Nadal and produce some ace performances of his own in Russia.
TEDDY WITNESSES UNBEARABLE THRASHING FOR DEL POTRO
Thousands swarmed to Roland Garros to see tennis giant Nadal continue his dominance at his favourite event.
A monumental French sporting icon was also causing a stir just outside Court Philippe Chatrier, 10-time world champion Riner easily recognisable with his giant frame.
Riner, who stands at over two metres tall, dwarfed a security guard who was brave enough to shake hands with him and posed patiently for photos before taking his seat.
Pity whoever was sitting behind the two-time Olympic champion.
Bravo @RafaelNadal pour cette victoire et cette 11e qualification en finale de @rolandgarros— Teddy Riner (@teddyriner) June 8, 2018
Congrats @RafaelNadal for this game, and 11th @rolandgarros final’s qualification
Vamos Rafa ! https://t.co/L8XnwRHyrB
STEPHENS' BROTHER STILL GROUNDED
Sloane Stephens revealed earlier in the week that her brother was due to fly out to watch her attempt to win a second major, but arrived to check in at LAX Airport minus a passport.
The US Open champion said he would no longer be welcome after misplacing his documentation to get out of the country.
When asked if her sibling has been forgiven and given her permission to see her play Simona Halep in Saturday's final, she told Omnisport: "No, he will definitely not be coming. He had his chance."