The French Open has reached its second week, but not without its share of frustrations. Roger Federer withdrew from the tournament before it started, and last week, nine-time champion Rafael Nadal withdrew as well. But it has been Mother Nature and the tournament’s handling of it which has drawn the ire of some players in recent days.
Fourth-round action was suspended on Sunday due to the down pouring of rain, and all matches slated for Monday were rained out. On Tuesday, the start of play (the matches that were scheduled for Sunday and Monday) was suspended yet again because of rain. Some of them eventually got underway, but rain began to fall again.
Second-seed Agnieszka Radwanska and Tsvetana Pironkova continued to play their match despite some rain fall, which clearly bothered Radwanska. She resumed play with a 6-2, 3-0 lead, and ended up going on to lose in three sets.
Radwanska conveyed her displeasure in her post-match press conference:
“I’m just so surprised and angry, that, you know, we have to play in the rain,” she said. “I mean, it’s not a 10,000 tournament. It’s a Grand Slam. How can you allow players to play in the rain. I cannot play in [those] conditions.
Also in the morning, like, the second set it was—we play pretty much in the rain. I don’t know who allows us to play in [those] kind of conditions. I mean, I don’t think they really care what we think. I think they care about other things, I guess. So, well, I’m just pissed. I just cannot play in [those] conditions.”
Despite Radwanska’s frustrations with the way it was handled, tournament director Guy Forget sympathized with the fans when he spoke to the press on Monday.
“I’m coming in front of you tonight just to express my frustration…You suddenly realize that at other places, they would play on centre court. You guys [the media] would be working. People that don’t have a ticket would probably be watching on screens,” said Forget. “We have again to send the players back and hope that tomorrow play will resume. Once again, I think having a roof is a necessity…For those in our country who are still doubting on the necessity to expand, to modernize our stadium, I think right now the fact, you know, there is proof that it’s a necessity and we have to do it.
We can’t be like that for many years. And although we have very good hope that it will be done by 2020, I hope everything will go on in between now and then so that no one can just stop the process, because once again, it is a necessity.”
While Forget’s plea for a roof on the Roland Garros stadium may influence change in the future, the current problem with the rain delays is still a factor. Play has been suspended once again on Tuesday which will create a backlog of matches in the next few days. Hopefully, it doesn’t cause anymore of a drop in the quality of tennis in the second week of the second Grand Slam of 2016.
Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for Long Island Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.