Rafael Nadal fury over French Open ‘joke’ planning

Rafael Nadal may have been angry, but he still despatched of Martin Kilizan. Picture: Getty

Rafael Nadal may have been angry, but he still despatched of Martin Kilizan. Picture: Getty

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

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 morning.

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 yesterday and therefore will have had almost an extra day’s rest when they meet 
today.

He said: “I think everybody knows in this room that the schedule of yesterday 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 for tomorrow.

“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.

Federer had sympathy with both Nadal and tournament organisers, saying: “I understand that he’s frustrated. That’s understandable. He would like to play every second day. But 50 per cent of the players couldn’t play their match, I think. Then it makes the situation very complicated for everybody.

“I think they (organisers) didn’t do it on purpose. They do their best.”