Players blast French Open over rain play, Djokovic faces epic stretch
Top 10 stars Agnieszka Radwanska and Simona Halep blasted French Open organisers on Tuesday for forcing them to compete in pouring rain as Novak Djokovic was left facing a four-day epic playing stretch.tennis Updated: Jun 01, 2016 11:11 IST
Top 10 stars Agnieszka Radwanska and Simona Halep blasted French Open organisers on Tuesday for forcing them to compete in pouring rain as Novak Djokovic was left facing a four-day epic playing stretch.
Radwanska, the second seed, and sixth seed Halep both lost their last-16 clashes after opening healthy leads on Sunday night.
But after Monday was washed out, they were forced back out on Tuesday despite the rain never really relenting and slumped to bad-tempered defeats.
“I’m just so surprised and angry that we have to play in the rain. I mean, it’s not a $10,000 tournament. It’s a Grand Slam,” raged Polish star Radwanska after her 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 defeat to Bulgaria’s world number 102 Tsvetana Pironkova.
Radwanska had been 6-2, 3-0 up on Sunday night.
“How can you allow players to play in the rain?,” said the former Wimbledon runner-up after her loss on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
“I don’t think they really care what we think. I think they care about other things.”
Halep, beaten in the 2014 final by Maria Sharapova, suffered a 7-6 (0), 6-3 defeat to former US Open champion Samantha Stosur of Australia.
The Romanian had been 5-3 up when their contest was suspended on Sunday.
“I have no words. It was impossible to play, in my opinion. And to play tennis matches during the rain I think it’s a bit too much,” said the Romanian after her loss on Court One.
“The the court was not good. The balls were wet, completely wet during the match. So I think it’s too difficult to play tennis in these conditions. I felt some pain, yeah, in my back, in my Achilles.
“I didn’t feel sure on court, safe on court.”
They were the only two matches completed in the two hours play possible by early Tuesday evening after the tournament had suffered its first complete washout in 16 years on Monday.
Top seed and world number one Djokovic was 3-6, 6-4, 4-1 ahead of Spain’s 14th seed Roberto Bautista Agut on Court Philippe Chatrier in his last-16 clash.
Their match had been played in two spells between the rain with the first halted after 37 minutes with the top seed having dropped the first set.
That left Djokovic, seeking a first Roland Garros title to complete the career Grand Slam, facing the prospect of playing on four consecutive days to complete the fourth round, quarter-final and semi-final.
The Serb had already dropped serve five times against a man he has defeated four times in four outings.
The rain forced the scheduled quarter-finals between Andy Murray, the second seed, and Richard Gasquet and defending champion Stan Wawrinka’s clash against Albert Ramos-Vinolas back to Wednesday.
Three other men’s last-16 ties -- David Ferrer against Tomas Berdych, the clash between David Goffin and Ernests Gulbis as well as Marcel Granollers’ duel with Dominic Thiem were also still in progress.
In the women’s singles, four last-16 ties had yet to start.
They included defending women’s champion Serena Williams’ match against Elina Svitolina of Ukraine.
Venus Williams against Timea Bacsinszky, the tie between Carla Suarez Navarro and Yulia Putintseva and the clash featuring Kiki Bertens against Madison Keys were also behind schedule.
Gulbis led Goffin 3-0 in the first set on Court One when play was eventually halted but not before Goffin had complained over the conditions which he claimed were too dangerous.
Gulbis, a 2014 semi-finalist, had even picked up his bag and started to walk off in protest before he was summoned back by the chair umpire.
French Open organisers were also looking at taking another financial hit as rain continued to swamp Paris.
Tournament director Guy Forget said that Monday’s washout would lead to a loss of around two million euros.
However, with weather conditions set to improve from Wednesday, Forget was reluctant to suggest that the men’s final would be pushed back to the third Monday.
The men’s final has only been played on the third Monday on two occasions -- in 1973 and 2012 when Rafael Nadal defeated Djokovic.
Roland Garros remains the only one of the four Grand Slam tournaments not to have a court with a roof.
First Published: May 31, 2016 22:50 IST