Russian President Vladimir Putin met the winner of the French Open Anastasia Myskina and her main rival in the finals Yelena Dementyeva. It was the first time that a Russian won this unofficial world cup.
"We supported you earnestly all the time and are happy with your victory," said Putin. "President Chirac is happy too, and he has asked to convey his congratulations to you, saying that if losing to somebody, then to Russians. I hope you'll meet in more than one final. This is a good tradition, and it should be further maintained. We love you and support you, the more so that your game is very interesting and remarkable for the tension of the fight."
The sports women gave the president a memorable tennis T-shirt with an inscription, "Our Victory - the Victory of All Russia," and autographs.
On Sunday, the Russian president attended festivities in Normandy devoted to the 60th anniversary of the opening of the second front of WWII, at the invitation of the French president. Then he had a brief visit to Paris.
This was the first leg of Putin's longest and furthest trip since he was re-elected.
On Monday, after crossing the ocean, President Putin will visit Mexico. It will be the first official visit of a Russian president to Mexico. On Tuesday, June 8, the Russian president will land at the Sea Island (Georgia, US) for the annual G-8 summit to last three days.