It was a poignant, Casablanca-style, ‘we’ll always have Paris’ moment.
Luke Saville was waiting for a post-match interview after his French Open defeat in the men’s doubles while wife Daria was traipsing towards a similar gloomy media obligation following her loss.
Catching sight of each other, the pair fell into each other’s arms and hugged.
Luke asked her how she’d got on and ‘Dasha’ told him the sorry tale of how she froze in the face of a bumptious crowd who were cheering on her Italian conqueror, Martina Trevisan, in her third-round defeat.
Daria, the last Australian to be knocked out of this year’s singles even before the week was out, had a word for wretched days like this – a four-letter one.
“I was almost like, I didn’t cry after my match, but then I asked my coach (David Taylor) and he’s like, ‘Oh, Luke lost’ – and I’m like, ‘Oh, this is a s**t day!’.
“But at least we are here together. Apart from tennis, we are in Paris, it’s still a good life and I can’t complain.”
And Luke was set to play the Humphrey Bogart pick-me-up role as he explained his belief that 28-year-old Daria, who’s made such spectacular strides since her return from Achilles surgery last year, would fight back to the world’s top-20 where she last resided five years ago.
“I’m very proud her. There have been a lot of moments when she was very down and not sure that she’d ever get back to playing at this level – or even playing at all,” Luke told AAP.
“She started the year ranked 600 and now she’s on the cusp of 100. In four months, that’s amazing, unbelievable!
“She’s had some big, big wins this year but I’ve always had full confidence in her level, just wasn’t sure about the toll on her body from her injuries.
“But now she’s starting to fulfil her potential, hopefully top 80, top 50 is the next thing.
“In my opinion, she’s better than when she was in the top-20. She’s proved it this year, beaten a few top-20 players, but it takes a lot of time to get back there. Hopefully, she can.”
He’d tried to follow Daria’s score on the big scoreboard and realised that she’d lost against the diminutive and impressive leftie Trevisan, who fired 20 winners past her.
“It’s a tough one,” said Luke.
“Everyone can see that was a good opportunity on paper; she could have been playing a top-10 seed and she was playing a girl who’s playing very well but whose ranking isn’t as good.
“Dasha’ll be disappointed and I’m disappointed as well.”
What was great for the pair was to be at a tournament together for only the second time since they were married in December – a rare treat.
They spend so much time apart at separate venues that they only managed to have a one-day honeymoon after their wedding at a friend’s place in the Dandenong Ranges.
“We want to do a proper week’s holiday, probably at the end of the year,” said Luke. “We want to do it proper.”
But on Sunday, Daria will be off to “somewhere in Croatia” for a clay-court tournament – she wasn’t quite sure – while Luke was going to England for a grasscourt Challenger, going their separate ways once more.
Ah well, as we said, they’ll always have Paris….