This is a scam: David Ferrer on playing in rain at French Open

  • AFP, Paris
  • Updated: Jun 01, 2016 23:33 IST
Ferrer and Tomas Berdych played just three games of their last-16 clash on Tuesday before a halt was called to the soggy affair. (AP)

Spanish veteran David Ferrer blasted the French Open as a “rip-off” on Wednesday as the controversy over forcing players to compete in the pouring rain rumbled on.

After Monday’s play was washed out, only two hours was possible on Tuesday in which just two matches were completed.

Ferrer and Tomas Berdych played just three games of their last-16 clash before a halt was called to the soggy affair.

“A rip-off”, thundered Ferrer after losing 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 on Wednesday.

“The players are those who mean the least to the organisers. They want to make money, it may look good to some, but I think this is a scam.

“The conditions were not suitable. Fortunately nobody was hurt. I find it incredible that in such a historic tournament we have not got one or two indoor courts for when there is heavy rain. This seems ridiculous.”

Top 10 women stars Agnieszka Radwanska and Simona Halep both lost on Tuesday in the only ties completed.

Second seed Radwanska said she was “pissed and angry” while Halep accused organisers of ignoring player welfare.

A men’s last-16 tie which started on Tuesday even saw Ernests Gulbis, a former semi-finalist, pick up his bag and start to leave the court before he was summoned back by the umpire.

He said that his match against David Goffin, which he lost on resumption Wednesday, should not have started.

“I don’t understand what I was doing there. If we’re not allowed to play, why should I freeze on the court in the rain? I wanted to go under the roof,” he said.

“In Munich, we had to play when it was snowing -- we’re not in a winter sport.”

Goffin said Tuesday’s conditions were a “nightmare”.

“I was waiting all day. I was completely exhausted in the evening. I was almost certain we wouldn’t play, we wouldn’t be sent to the courts to play. Yet they said, ‘Just try’.

“And before we were on the courts it was raining. I wanted to go back home.”

World number one Novak Djokovic said he understood the anger felt by players. Djokovic should have started his last-16 match against Roberto Bautista Agut on Monday afternoon.

However, he only played two and a half sets on Tuesday before finishing the tie on Wednesday afternoon, leaving him facing a schedule of four matches in five days if he is to clinch a first Roland Garros title.

“Of course sometimes, the tournament referees and the grounds people, they are trying to do their best to evaluate the condition of the court,” said Djokovic, after his 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 7-5 win.

“Sometimes it does appear that maybe they don’t because they don’t play, they don’t maybe to a full extent understand what you go through with your movement and why is it so dangerous.

“It was funny and unacceptable as well at the same time to have a chair umpire come in in elegant shoes and try to slide and check whether or not the lines are slippery.”

Djokovic said that only a match at Wimbledon early in his career -- played over five days -- took longer to complete.

Tournament director Guy Forget said the rain had been the heaviest in Paris since 1873.

He hit back at allegations that organisers were only thinking in terms of saving themselves another financial hit by having to refund thousands of shivering and wet spectators.

Monday’s wipeout cost around two million euros, the French tennis federation estimated.

Forget said that the decision to call off play lies solely at the discretion of tournament referee Stefan Fransson.

“Respect for the game always takes precedence,” said Forget in a statement.

“Our aim was to play for as long as possible, even if that meant being criticised for playing in difficult conditions.”

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