Is it Roland Garros circa 2023 or Roland Garros circa 1984?

Some will wonder after French Open officials announced last week they will be censoring any criticism of players during this year’s event.

Roland Garros has teamed up with Bodyguard, an application to protect players against what it has termed cyberbullying, which will also book any criticism of matches.

Bullying is one thing and has no place in society, but genuine criticism of professional millionaire athletes for their on-court failures?

The Bodyguard software, which players can download, will, it is claimed, be used to protect all of the official FFT and Roland-Garros public media accounts, and the accounts of players competing in the Grand Slam.

Players will scan the QR code supplied by Bodyguard to connect their social media accounts to the system, which, according to a Roland Garros press release will book any ‘unkind comments’.

So who will do the checking? Fair or unfair? Critics or bullying?

A team of linguists have apparently created word patterns that enable the system to be updated in real time according to what is posted on social media.

Then AI will moderate the comments in real time, analysing every comment in under 200 milliseconds.

The platforms monitored are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok and Discord.

George Orwell has well and truly arrived at Roland Garros.

GREAT to see Novak Djokovic helping a young boy during practice at Roland Garros on Saturday, taking him to his bench, giving him a drink and wiping him down, before returning him to his family, lifting him gently back into the stands with a signed jumbo tennis ball. Photo: Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

DOMINIC Thiem has Rafa Nadal to thank for his place at the French Open.

Thiem, who failed to get a wildcard at the tournament, has taken up the Spaniard’s place in the main draw.

But what has happened to the Austrian since he suffered a wrist injury in June 2021?

He has struggled to find any form since returning to the court in March last year.

Clay may be his best bet – he has won 10 of his 17 career titles on the surface, but losses at a couple of Challengr events recently show he is far from the player he was.

Now ranked a lowly No. 96, he made it to consecutive French Open finals in 2018 and 2019, losing to Rafael Nadal both times.

Stefanos Tsitsipas chats with with No. 1 seed Carlos Alcaraz during practice on Court Suzanne Lenglen, watched by dad Apostolos Tsitsipas. Photo: Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

MARK Philippoussis has called time on a coaching role with Stefanos Tsitsipas, calling it the end of “a great ride”, but offering no reason for the split.

Philippoussis joined Tsitsipas’s father Apostolos in the coaches box last year and helped guide the Greek player to the Australian Open final, where he was beaten by Novak Djokovic.

Philippoussis, 46, wrote on Instagram last week that the partnership was over.

“Thanks for the opportunity of being a part of your team,” Philippoussis said.

“It was a great ride and experience, and I’m proud of what we achieved together in the short amount of time we had.

“I wish you health, happiness and success for your future, on and off the court!”

Garbine Muguruza and fiance Arthur Borges.

GARBINE Muguruza announced last week she was back on the tour, entering Wimbledon, bit there was even better news from the Spanish star as she got engaged to boyfriend Arthur Borges.

Muguruza, 29, who has been dating Borges since 2021, took a time form tennis in January.

And the wedding? “We would like it to be next year, in the summer, near the beach and in Spain, because it is the place that most unites us,” Muguruza told iHola!

Elena Rybakina receives the Venus Rosewater Trophy from the Duchess of Cambridge after winning ladies singles final at Wimbledon last year. Thne tournament’s success enabled £43 million to be given to the LTA. Photo: Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

AFTER all the poverty claims following Covid shutdowns, British tennis benefited by £43 million thanks to Wimbledon last year.

The Lawn Tennis Association’s accounts, published last week, showed on top of the £43m, they also received a £5m grant to support other grass court events.

LTA’s research shows tennis is booming in Britain, with a claimed 48 per cent participation increase among 16-34-year-olds.

The LTA has 326 employees, whose total costs are £22.7 million. And the chief executive Scott Lloyd was paid a handsome £572,000.

Other tennis playing nations will look on enviously.

SERENA Williams has used a YouTube post to tell her five-year-old daughter Olympia that she was going to be a big sister.

Williams, who revealed her pregnancy at the Met Gala earlier this month, called the YouTube clip “Olympia’s Surprise” as her daughter had yet to be informed of her pregnancy, but was worried that mommy was putting on weight, even calling her “fat”.

Serena was joined by husband Alexis in their video as she told her the news.

“Olympia does not know right now that I am pregnant, but she did call me fat, and then she got really like stressed out,” Serena said.

Williams then tried to imitate her daughter’s “Mommy, you’re fat” comment before telling her she was to be a big sister.

FRENCH player Hugo Gaston has been hit with a $144,000 fine after he was caught throwing a ball out of his pocket during his recent Madrid Open match against Borna Coric.

Nothing new perhaps, as the Frenchman was previously warned for the same action last year.

Gaston, who was beaten 6-3 6-3 by Coric in the second round, was seen taking a ball out of his pocket and throwing it on the floor while his opponent was going in for a winner to take the set.

WTF moment:

Andy Murray made fun of compatriot Liam Broady for his 2023 French Open attire.

Broady was competing in the Roland Garros qualifiers last week. He made a good comeback after losing the first set to secure victory over French opponent Arthur Gea, winning 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in a match that lasted well over two hours.

After successfully winning that first round, Broady took to social media to share a picture of himself in the official Bidi Badu outfit for this year’s Roland Garros.

After Broady asked his followers for their opinions on his attire, Murray couldn’t resist a dig. he former World No. 1 questioned how he could wear such a an outfit at the French Open, along with several laughing emojis.

“Did you actually wear that at Roland Garros? 😂 😂 fair play mate that’s a shocker,” Murray commented.

Novak Djokovic shares a joke with No. 1 seed Carlos Alcaraz during practice on Saturday. Their next meeting could be in the Semifinal.
Photo: Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

AND finally…

Our tips for the winners’ rostrum in Paris?

We are happy to endorse John McEnroe’s selection in the men’s event, Carlos Alcaraz.

“I would say Alcaraz would be the slight favourite to win this,” McEnroe said.

“Alcaraz has a lot of pressure now because he’s just such an unbelievable breath of fresh air.

“He’s so electric, he’s got such a great personality that people want him to win.

And in the women’s singles?

So much harder to predict because there has been no on for two outright favourites for a while in women’s tennis.

Iga Światek is up there, but there are injury doubts and there’s a chasing pack that includes Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina and maybe Aryna Sabalenka and Jessica Pegula.