French Open organisers, having been criticised for allegedly ensuring the players stayed on court in the rain, came under fire for sending them back to the dressing room on Thursday.
A 10-minute rain interruption in Tomas Berdych’s quarter-final with world number one Novak Djokovic left the Czech seventh seed fuming as he felt the conditions had not changed since the start of the match.
Hitting out at supervisor Wayne McEwan, Berdych, who lost 6-3, 7-5, 6-3, told reporters, “We had been playing two-and-a-half sets in light rain... I was close and having my chances.
“Then all of a sudden the decision (to stop the match). You have to take a break, take all the stuff, go in, then go out again a few minutes later.
“Really, that was one of the worst calls that I ever had on the court.”
Berdych said organisers were responding to a tight schedule after the claycourt Grand Slam suffered its first washout in 16 years on Monday followed by just two hours of play on Tuesday.
“The conditions are tough. They are not easy to play. Probably that’s when they are pushed under pressure that they are making decisions like that,” he said.
“They are relying on someone who is in a little room and saying that he’s (a) meteorologist and he’s predicting what’s going to happen or not.”
Earlier this week, leading players Venus Williams, Simona Halep and Agnieszka Radwanska, as well as Djokovic’s previous opponent Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, criticised organisers for making them play through rainy spells.
Djokovic said he appreciated the organisers’ dilemma.
“If you take into consideration the locations of all four Grand Slams, I think Paris has the most challenging position in terms of dealing with residents around,” he said.
“It’s definitely not easy. I’m sure that they’ve already heard a million times that we need a roof, that we need lights. You could see a lot of improvement with the facilities this year with the Jean Bouin stadium and the National Tennis Centre.
“They are trying to do whatever they can do within the regulations, and I’m just hoping that for the sake of this tournament and all the players that we are going to have that roof at least on the one court as soon as possible.”
The Australian Open has three roofs at Melbourne Park and Wimbledon added one in 2009, while a steel retractable roof will be fully functional before the first US Open match in August in New York, leaving Roland Garros as the only uncovered slam.