Nadal Is Unhappy In Paris
PARIS – Rafael Nadal wanted to get a few things off his chest.
Not about the quality of his play Friday, which fell below his usual standards at Roland Garros – for the second match in a row, he dropped a lethargic opening set before winning.
What really bothered the usually affable Nadal was the way the French Open’s scheduling decisions, and the weather, combined to force him to now play on consecutive days, while his third-round opponent Saturday, Italy’s Fabio Fognini, was “watching the TV in the locker room” on Friday.
“That’s not fair,” Nadal said, his arms crossed, his voice stern.
“This is not right,” the seven-time champion in Paris said moments later, shaking his head and arching his left eyebrow.
What flustered Nadal, basically, was that his 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 victory against Martin Klizan of Slovakia was supposed to be played Thursday but wound up being postponed because of rain – in part because it was the third match slated for its court.
The 27th-seeded Fognini’s second-round victory against Lukas Rosol was No. 2 on its court and finished Thursday. Nadal’s point: When there’s rain in the forecast, everything possible should be done to ensure that two matches whose winners will face each other next should be completed on the same day.
Nadal also didn’t like that while Fognini-Rosol followed one women’s match on Thursday’s program, Nadal-Klizan followed both a men’s match and a women’s match. His match should have taken priority on a day when showers made rescheduling likely, Nadal argued, because if women “have to play two days in a row, (it) is not a big deal.”
Another complaint from Nadal: He said he was told by tournament officials they wanted to make sure Rosol got on court Thursday because, unlike Nadal, he also was in men’s doubles.
“I am sorry, but that’s a joke,” Nadal said. “Why do you want to protect the player who has to play doubles? So I’m going to (sign up for) the doubles draw then, and I have the priority to play?”
A request for comment from tournament referee Stefan Fransson was declined by French tennis federation spokesman Christophe Proust, who said: “The federation does not want to respond. We don’t want to get drawn into a controversy. It’s not the first time that the scheduling has been criticized.”
Now Nadal will need to win six matches over 10 days if he’s going to be the first man to collect eight trophies at one Grand Slam tournament.
“Well, if I can win (Saturday), I’ll have a day off, and that should be enough,” the Spaniard said.