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Prince watches 'King of Clay' Nadal at French Open; Errani chastises media for twisting words

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PARIS - So "King of Clay" Rafael Nadal's record 32nd consecutive French Open victory was fit for a prince. Well, actually, Prince.

The American musician known for hits such as "Purple Rain" and "1999" was nearly hidden in the stands Monday, sitting in the very back row of the presidential box in the main stadium at Roland Garros and clutching a shiny cane.

Stayed till the last note of Nadal's easy win, too.

When the match ended, Prince rose to leave. As he walked toward the exit, though, he paused and paid his respects by applauding.

— Howard Fendrich,


MAKING A STATEMENT: Sara Errani's French Open news conference in her native Italian followed the usual script Monday — a dozen minutes of mostly mundane questions and answers about her fourth-round victory; about cramping in her right thigh; about a boisterous crowd; etc. — and then it most decidedly did not.

Errani, the runner-up at Roland Garros in 2012, pulled out a piece of white paper, unfolded it, and began reading a statement in Italian, addressed to members of her country's media. Without looking up, the 27-year-old chastised reporters for not quoting her properly and for sensationalizing what she's said.

Errani did not refer to any particular affront. She began by saying she was doing this "in light of events both in the past and recently."

"I am a shy girl and I don't love being the centre of attention," Errani said, adding that she's always been willing to speak to reporters and recognizes she's lucky to travel the world getting paid to play tennis.

But, she continued, "It's happened too often that my statements or my answers have been manipulated, distorted or changed to try to find a shocking headline, make news or create gratuitous controversies."

Errani also said a recent mention of her family in the media was in "poor taste and unfair."

"I would like it, if when I respond to questions, people just write what I say," she said.

After two minutes, Errani was done.

She grabbed a piece of tape and attached her sheet of paper to the wall behind where players sit during news conferences.

— Howard Fendrich,


EARNEST WORDS: As far as Martina Navratilova is concerned, Ernests Gulbis should keep doing his talking on the tennis court.

Gulbis beat 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer in five sets Sunday to reach the French Open quarterfinals. Two days earlier, the 18th-seeded Latvian said he didn't want his younger sisters to become professional tennis players because women should have other priorities.

Navratilova, an 18-time Grand Slam champion, was asked Monday what she thought of Gulbis and his recent comments.

"He's clearly getting his act together because he played the best tennis he ever played against Roger Federer yesterday," said Navratilova, who is helping design a doubles trophy that is being named after her at the WTA Finals. "I'm glad he did his talking with the racket instead of his mouth."

— Jerome Pugmire,


ALLEZ LES BLEUS: With the World Cup less than two weeks away, France midfielder Yohan Cabaye decided to momentarily swap the green grass of a soccer field for the red clay of Roland Garros.

Cabaye played in Sunday's 1-1 draw against Paraguay, and is expected to be on the team when France begins its World Cup quest against Honduras on June 14. France flies out to Brazil next Monday.

Cabaye, who plays his club soccer at nearby Paris Saint-Germain, wrote on his Twitter page that he was watching eight-time champion Rafael Nadal play. He even tweeted a photo of Nadal just as the Spaniard was poised to serve during his fourth-round win.

— Jerome Pugmire,


French Open Watch follows tennis' clay-court Grand Slam tournament in Paris as seen by journalists from The Associated Press.

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