News Column

Rafael Nadal Blasts Schedulers at French Open

June 1, 2013

Rafael Nadal described the French Open schedule as a joke after struggling through his second-round match against Martin Klizan.

The seven-time champion was scheduled to play on Thursday, but only got as far as the warm-up before the rain came down and had to return yesterday.

For the second successive match, Nadal dropped the opening set, but again he turned things around to defeat Slovakian Klizan 4-6, 6- 3, 6-3, 6-3. The Spaniard's gripe was that his next opponent, Fabio Fognini, was scheduled to play his match against Lukas Rosol earlier on Thursday and therefore will have had almost an extra day's rest when they meet.

He said: I think everybody knows in this room that the schedule was wrong. That's the real thing.

The director of the tournament, supervisors, they take a bad position two days ago, because when you make the schedule at 7pm, you know what weather predictions you have for the next days.

I cannot play third after a men's and a girl's match when my possible opponent plays second after girls. That's not fair. And today I was playing almost three hours on court, and my opponent was watching the TV in the locker room.

So if you told me that's fair, I say that's not fair. The only thing that I can do is be positive, smile, and try to win my match and try to be ready.

But that's not the right thing. This is not right.

And I hope they accept the mistake, because girls plays best of three. If they have to play two days in a row, it's not a big deal. For us it's completely different.

The excuse they told me was because Rosol have to play doubles. I am sorry, but that's a joke. You have one more week to play doubles if you want to play doubles.

Why do you want to protect the player who has to play doubles? So I'm going to write myself in the doubles draw then and I have the priority to play? That's not the right excuse to make a schedule like this. Roger Federer has no such worries and is already through to the fourth round after a 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 victory over Julien Benneteau.

The Frenchman has been a troublesome opponent for Federer in the past, winning two of their six previous matches and leading the Swiss by two sets to love at Wimbledon last year. It looked like more drama could be in the offing when Benneteau broke serve in the first game, but the 30th seed was hampered by a groin problem and went down in an hour and 31 minutes.

Fourth seed David Ferrer has also had an untroubled route to the last 16, beating Spain's Feliciano Lopez 6-1, 7-5, 6-4 today, while sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga eased past fellow Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-1, 6-2, 7-5. There were plenty of players like Nadal still to complete second-round matches, and 19th seed John Isner came back from two sets down to win for the first time in his career, beating fellow American Ryan Harrison 5-7, 6-7 (7/9), 6-3, 6-1, 8-6. Eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic almost found himself in the same predicament, but saw off Fernando Verdasco 7-6 (7/3), 6-1, 3-6, 5-7, 8-6 while there were also wins for Richard Gasquet, Stanislas Wawrinka and 35- year-old Tommy Haas.

In the women's draw, Serena Williams enjoyed a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Romania's Sorana Cirstea, while Maria Sharapova beat Eugenie Bouchard 6-2, 6-4. The Russian will play her third-round match today against China's Zheng Jie.

Twelfth seed Maria Kirilenko also made it through to the third round along with former champion Francesca Schiavone, who knocked out 21st seed Kirsten Flipkens.

Last year's runner-up, fifth seed Sara Errani, has looked very impressive so far and she continued her smooth progress with a 6-0, 6-4 victory over German Sabine Lisicki.

Source: Copyright Western Daily Press (UK) 2013. Distributed by MCT Information Services

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