Rafael Nadal has seemed untroubled at this year’s French Open, making his way to the semi-finals without dropping a set. But the 12-time champion slammed the organisers for scheduling his match against young gun Jannik Sinner late on Tuesday.
It was well past midnight when Nadal completed a 7-6 (4), 6-4, 6-1 win over the Italian teenager in their quarterfinal clash.
“It is a not ideal finish, a match at 1:30 in the morning, but the problem is the weather. It is too cold to play,” the 34-year-old complained. “It is very, very cold to play tennis.”
The Nadal-Sinner match was scheduled fifth on Court Philippe-Chatrier on a packed day at French Open’s main show court. To make matters worse, Diego Schwartzman and Dominic Thiem’s quarterfinal went beyond five hours.
“I really don’t know why they put five matches on the Chatrier. That was a risk,” said Nadal.
“I saw immediately when they sent me the schedule because there is a chance there of a couple of long matches. That’s what happened.
“I just tried to be patient, accept everything, and be in a positive shape. That’s what I did.”
“I know football players play under these conditions, but it’s a little bit different,” the Spaniard added.
“They are moving all the time. We stop, we come back, we stop on the changeovers. It is a sport that you are stopped in a lot of moments. I think is a little bit dangerous for the body play with these very heavy conditions.”
Nadal, whose bid for a record-equalling 20th major is still alive, believes that the conditions at this year’s French Open, which has been shifted to a September start due to the Covid-19 pandemic, may favour his semi-final opponent Schwartzman.
The diminutive Argentine scripted the upset of the tournament so far as he defeated US Open champion Thiem 7-6, 5-7, 6-7, 7-6, 6-2 on Tuesday evening. Though Schwartzman has a losing 1-9 record against Nadal, he beat the ‘King of Clay’ in their most recent encounter in Rome.
“I think the conditions are perhaps a little bit more favorable for his style of play,” said Nadal of his semi-final oppoenent. “But I have to find my way to hurt him and to have a chance to win.
“I’m going to try to go on court, play my best, try to play my game, play aggressive and try to do something a little bit different than what I did in Rome. I hope to be ready to play my best.”