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"Rafael Nadal is the most awe-inspiring to photograph, he is the pure embodiment of strength" - Roland Garros photographer

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal
Rudra Biswas
Modified 06 Apr 2021

Some of Roland Garros' professional photographers over the years were featured by the tournament recently, where they talked about capturing the likes of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer on the terre-battue.

Emilie Hautier, who photographed the first night match ever played in the history of Roland Garros, described his time at the tournament in glowing terms. The Frenchman claimed that he and his peers were privileged to be part of the 2020 edition.

"It was September instead of the traditional May/June, and we were aware of how lucky we were to be there and to be part of this historic edition," Emilie Hautier said.

Hautier was then asked which player was the best to photograph, and he took that opportunity to shower immense praise on Rafael Nadal - who won the 2020 edition.

"Rafael Nadal is truly the most awe-inspiring to photograph," Hatier said. "He is the pure embodiment of strength, very visual."

"It’s one of my favorite Rafael Nadal victories at Roland-Garros" - Photographer Corrine Dubreil on the 2010 French Open final

Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning the 2010 French Open
Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning the 2010 French Open

Corrine Dubreil was one of those who had the opportunity to take Rafael Nadal's pictures from the trench pit at the back of Court Philippe Chatrier in 2010. That was when the Spaniard won his fifth title in the French capital, beating Robin Soderling.

Dubreil laid out some minute details that had to come together for an ideal picture - like how the winning player had to be on the same side of the photographer, and how the angle needed to be just right.


The photographer claimed everything was in its right place that day, as Rafael Nadal exacted his revenge on Robin Soderling - who had defeated the Spaniard in the 2009 fourth round.

"There are various different elements that must come together in order to get 'the' photo," Dubreil said. "On that day, it all came together perfectly! The right side for the final victory, the perfect angle, and Rafa lying right in front of me. His position is incredible! It was his fifth title in Paris and he got revenge on Soderling. It’s one of my favorite Rafa victories at Roland-Garros."

Cedric Lecocq was another photographer who was a part of the 2020 edition of the French Open. The Frenchman has worked at the Major tournament for about 15 years now, having captured a vast multitude of stars from the photographers' stands.

Lecocq has taken pictures of each member of the 'Big 3' - Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

Roger Federer retrieves a ball at the 2011 French Open
Roger Federer retrieves a ball at the 2011 French Open

When asked who his favorite player to capture at Roland Garros was, Lecocq wasted little time in naming Federer and listing some of the reasons why he adores the Swiss maestro.

"I love the three great champions we have been lucky enough to watch in recent times," Lecocq said. "I have a slight preference for Roger Federer, his calm attitude and his well-rounded game, with his superb one-handed backhand. And being world No.1 for 237 consecutive weeks was just incredible!"
Published 06 Apr 2021, 21:57 IST
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