Players rip French Open organizers over poor conditions
Updated: 2016-06-01 11:20
Agnieszka Radwanska and Simona Halep had harsh words for tournament organizers after falling in the fourth round of the French Open.
Courts crew sweep away water as rain falls at French Open. [Photo/Agencies]
"I'm just so surprised and angry, that we have to play in the rain," Radwanska told reporters after her loss to Tsvetana Pironkova on Tuesday. "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 that conditions."
Radwanska and Pironkova's fourth-round match began Sunday, but was postponed due to rain with Radwanska comfortably holding a 6-2, 3-0 lead.
For the first time in 16 years, an entire day's worth of action was postponed, as steady rain made Monday's scheduled matches impossible to play.
The second-seeded Radwanska and Pironkova finally resumed play Tuesday morning, but rain again forced the players off the court less than 40 minutes later. After another close to three-hour delay, the match continued for good, with Pironkova completing a stunning come-from-behind upset to advance to the quarterfinals.
After the match, Radwanska blamed the conditions for problems she had overcoming a hand injury. The damp conditions makes for a heavier ball, which Radwanska said put more stress on her injured hand.
"I had hand surgery a few years ago, and for me, playing with those balls in that kind of court is pretty much impossible," she said. "So, I mean, I tried. Maybe I played worse, did worse things other days than when we start to play that match, but it definitely, you know, shouldn't be like this."
Radwanska continued, asserting that tournament organizers have a lack of respect for players.
"We played pretty much in the rain," she said. "I don't know who allows us to play in that kind of conditions. "I mean, I don't think they really care what we think. I think they care about other things, I guess."
Sixth-seeded Simona Halep, who lost to Samantha Stosur, also expressed concern about playing in rainy conditions.
"I didn't feel safe on court," Halep said. "This is not right to happen. 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 get injured with my back, so that's — that's a big problem.
"But like I said, no one cares. We have just to go and play."
After Radwasnka and Halep's matches were completed, the tournament suffered another long rain delay, and five singles matches scheduled for Tuesday were pushed back to Wednesday. Now, the player that emerges for the top half of the women's draw must play four matches in four days to win the title.
With a roof added to Arthur Ashe Stadium in time for this year's US Open, the French Open is now the only roofless Grand Slam. Tournament director Guy Forget said in a press conference Monday that "hopefully" a roof will be in place by 2020.
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