Nadal grumbles about Roland Garros scheduling
By Pritha Sarkar Reuters 28/05/2008
PARIS (Reuters) - Three-times champion Rafael Nadal criticised French Open organisers on Wednesday for the bizarre scheduling of this year's rain-hit tournament which has left him playing catch-up with rivals in his side of the draw.
The second seed should have been contesting his last 64 match on Wednesday but instead only managed to complete his first-round contest after showers dogged the tournament during its first three days.
He had initially been slotted in to play the third match on Centre Court on Monday against Brazilian qualifier Thomaz Bellucci but never managed to hit a ball.
On Tuesday, his luck did not improve as he only fitted in two games before rain again aborted play for the day.
"I had to wait for two days in the locker room. The cancellation came at 8:00 in the evening, so I had to wait the entire day doing almost nothing," said Nadal, who faces the prospect of playing four days running because of the backlog.
"These were two difficult days, because as time goes by you get more nervous and you can't practise, so I probably lost the rhythm I had acquired before this tournament."
Nadal was particularly upset that Tommy Robredo's clash against Guillermo Coria, who were in the other half of the draw and would not have expected to play their second-round match before Thursday at the earliest, had been scheduled before his match on Monday on Philippe Chatrier Court.
With showers forecast for the day, Robredo managed to book his place in the second round as scheduled, while Nadal never managed to get a glimpse of his opponent across the net.
To add to Nadal's frustration, his second-round opponent Nicolas Devilder made it through on Monday which means the Frenchman would have enjoyed a two-day rest before taking on the champion.
"I would have preferred it if the schedule had been maintained," said Nadal.
"I don't think it's quite natural that Robredo and Coria, should have played before me on Monday. That doesn't make sense and it's not logical. It's not a good thing... because they knew about the weather forecast."
Nadal's possible semi-final opponent, Australian Open champion and third seed Novak Djokovic, defended organisers' decision.
"As organisers, they have to at least try to give people who pay tickets some tennis," said the Serbian, who unlike Nadal is on schedule with his matches and has already reached the third round.
"Yesterday was terrible. It was all day raining and stopping and people were just hanging around all day. They didn't see any of the tennis.
"On the other hand, of course, in the case of the players, it may be a little bit rough to keep them waiting all day and then just let them play two games.
"This is a bit rough but I don't think they did it on purpose."
(Editing by Miles Evans)