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I'm not sure if this question is in your wheelhouse, but do you know where I could trade for or buy old French Open finals matches on DVD? I’ve looked around, but haven’t been able to find any licensed by Roland Garros.—Matt
You’re right, Matt, that it’s practically impossible to find official French Open DVDs sold by major U.S. retailers. Peruse the video listings of Holabird Sports, Tennis Warehouse, Tennis Express, and even the tournament’s official website, and you're sure to leave empty handed. In this respect, Roland Garros is no Wimbledon, which continues to disseminate a slew of official tournament films.
But all’s not lost. There are several other roads to R.G. footage. One, recommended by a writer at this magazine, is the website RickLovesTennis.com, which lists the impressive DVD collection of ardent tennis fan Rick Sasha. While Rick told me that he’s only interested in trading for matches—not selling them—he might be able to help you find what you’re looking for. Try emailing him through his website.
Another place to check out is Talk Tennis, the message boards of Tennis Warehouse; I’ve seen several posts there detailing potential trades for match footage. And if you’re adventurous, you might also try dealing through online homebrew sites. (Google “French Open DVDs,” and proceed at your own risk.)
YouTube is, of course, full of old French Open contests, and even clips of William Klein’s documentary The French, on the ’81 tournament. (For a reflection on the seminal film, as well as links to several scenes in the movie, read Steve Tignor’s “All the Clay’s a Stage.”) Otherwise, keep an eye on the Tennis Channel’s scheduling during the summer; they tend to run a number of classic clay-court matches when dirt season rolls around.