Angry Rafael Nadal blasted French Open scheduling as a “joke” yesterday and claimed he was being treated unfairly. The seven-time champion had his second round tie against Slovakia’s Martin Kliznan, which was the third match on the Court Suzanne Lenglen schedule on Thursday, cancelled as rain swamped Roland Garros.
He then played first up yesterday, completing a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 win in almost three hours. But he now faces having to play again today despite opponent Italian Fabio Fognini having finished his second round match on Thursday afternoon. Nadal was furious that on a day when the weather forecast had been especially gloomy, he was scheduled to follow one men’s match and a women’s singles.
“The schedule was wrong, it was a bad decision,” said Nadal. Thursday saw the worst weather interruptuions of the week with barely five hours of action possible and with just over half the programme completed. Nadal was further incensed when he was told that Fognini had been given an earlier start time on Court Three because he and his opponent Lukas Rosol had doubles to play.
Fognini and Rosol had gone on court just after noon on Thursday after Jelena Jankovic had needed just an hour to finish off her women’s singles
match. “Today I was playing three hours while my opponent was in the locker room watching TV,” added Nadal. “I cannot play third when my opponent has played second.
“The excuse they gave me was that they had to play doubles, but that’s a joke. In that case I should sign up for doubles. Sorry, but you can play doubles next week.” Nadal also said it was unfair that on days when the weather is poor that men, who play best-of-five sets in the Grand Slams, are made to play second to women, who still play best-of-three.
“It’s not right and I hope they realise their mistake. For the women, they always play best-of-three, it’s like any other tournament. But for us it’s completely different.” Nadal is constantly wary of his schedule having missed seven months of action with a knee injury. “The only thing I can do is smile and be positive and be ready for tomorrow.”
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