Players hit out as rain causes disruption in Paris

Serbia's Novak Djokovic walks onto center court with an umbrella before resuming his fourth round match of the French Open.
Serbia's Novak Djokovic walks onto center court with an umbrella before resuming his fourth round match of the French Open.
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Agnieszka Radwanska and Simona Halep accused the French Open of not caring about the players after both women were knocked out in the fourth round after being made to play in the rain.

Radwanska led Tsvetana Pironkova by a set and 3-0 when play was halted on Sunday, but lost 10 games on the resumption and was eventually beaten 2-6 6-3 6-3.

She said a previous hand injury meant the heavy conditions made it impossible for her to play her game.

“I had surgery a few years ago and I couldn’t really play in those conditions, end of story,” said the second seed.

“I’m just so surprised and angry that we have to play in the rain. I mean, it’s not a 10,000 tournament (the lowest level of professional tennis). It’s a grand slam. How can you allow players to play in the rain? I cannot play in those conditions.

“I don’t know who allows us to play in these kind of conditions. I don’t think they really care what we think. I think they care about other things, I guess.”

Roland Garros witnessed its first total washout in 16 years on Monday and organisers were clearly desperate to avoid the same situation for a second successive day.

The rain was not as heavy yesterday, but was persistent.

The players resumed their matches just after midday and played for nearly 40 minutes before being taken off once more. There followed another two-hour delay before the matches were called again, despite the ongoing drizzle.

Halep had led Sam Stosur 5-3 on Sunday but, like Radwanska, was on the back foot from the start yesterday and went down 7-6 (7/0) 6-3.

The sixth seed and 2014 finalist said: “I cannot comment about the conditions, I have no words. It was impossible to play, in my opinion. And to play tennis matches during the rain, I think it’s a bit too much.

“No one cares about the players, in my opinion. I don’t care that I lost the match today, but I was close to getting injured with my back, so that’s a big problem. But, like I said, no one cares. We have just to go and play.

“The court was not good. The balls were wet, completely wet during the match. I felt some pain in my back, in my Achilles. Sam was stronger and she played better today, and these conditions I think are good for her because she has a lot of topspin.”

Asked why she thought play continued despite the conditions, Halep said: “Maybe they are scared because the days are going on and they don’t play matches.

“But it’s not our fault. It’s not their fault. But the decisions were not, I think, the best. I didn’t feel sure on court, safe on court.”

Organisers will fully refund fans that came on Monday, but, because two hours of play – almost exactly – was possible on Tuesday, no refunds can be claimed.

Several men’s fourth-round matches were also affected. David Goffin and Ernests Gulbis took matters into their own hands and refused to continue their match, while Dominic Thiem also walked off during his contest with Marcel Granollers. Asked if she could have done the same, Halep said: “I’m not that kind of person and I will never do that.”

Novak Djokovic faces a hectic schedule if he is to win his first French Open title.

The world No 1 was unable to go on court for his fourth-round match against Roberto Bautista Agut on Monday and the pair only managed two-and-a-half sets yesterday.

Djokovic recovered from losing the opening set for only the fourth time in a slam in two-and-a-half years in damp, heavy conditions to lead 3-6 6-4 4-1 when conditions were finally deemed unplayable. Just before 7pm local time, play was called off the day, meaning Djokovic faces having to play four times in five days if he is to lift the one grand slam trophy to elude him.

Andy Murray will hope the dismal Parisian weather allows him to play the role of pantomime villain.

Murray’s quarter-final against ninth-seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet is due to be played today after the remaining fourth-round matches have been completed.

Gasquet reached the quarter-finals for the first time at the 13th attempt with an upset win over fifth seed Kei Nishikori on Sunday.

Murray said: “I’m pumped to be in the quarters of a slam. Obviously the atmosphere will be tough but I don’t mind that.

“I’ve played a number of times against French players here in difficult atmospheres and I managed okay. So I’m sure I’ll be fine.”

Playing against the crowd appeals to Murray’s contrary nature and he walked onto court for the 2012 clash with Gasquet to a chorus of boos and with a big grin on his face.