Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

French Open after Win, Nadal Airs Grievances Defending Champ Calls Schedule 'Not Fair'

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

French Open after Win, Nadal Airs Grievances Defending Champ Calls Schedule 'Not Fair'

Article excerpt

PARIS --

Rafael Nadal wanted to get a few things off his chest.

Not about the quality of his play Friday, which fell below his usual standards at Roland Garros -- for the second match in a row, he dropped a lethargic opening set before winning.

What really bothered the usually affable Nadal was the way the French Open's scheduling decisions, and the weather, combined to force him to now play on consecutive days, when his third-round opponent today, Italy's Fabio Fognini, was "watching the TV in the locker room" on Friday.

"That's not fair," Nadal said, his arms crossed, his voice stern.

"This is not right," the seven-time champion in Paris said moments later, shaking his head and arching his left eyebrow.

What flustered Nadal, basically, was that his 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 win against Martin Klizan of Slovakia was supposed to be played Thursday but wound up postponed because of rain -- in part because it was the third match slated for its court.

The 27th-seeded Fognini's second-round win against Lukas Rosol, meanwhile, was No. 2 on its court and finished Thursday. Nadal's point: When there's rain in the forecast, everything possible should be done to ensure that two matches whose winners will face each other next should be completed the same day.

Nadal also didn't like that while Fognini-Rosol followed one women's match -- which, because they are best-of-three-sets, tend to be shorter than the men's best-of-five -- on Thursday's program, Nadal-Klizan followed both a men's match and a women's match. His match should have taken priority on a day when showers made rescheduling likely, Nadal argued, because if women "have to play two days in a row, [it] is not a big deal."

Ana Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open women's champion, sided with Nadal on that point, saying men should "get more time to recover."

"Especially now, when he has to play day after day, I think he's right. They should play early," Ivanovic said after reaching the fourth round with a 6-3, 6-2 win against Virginie Razzano, the Frenchwoman who stunned Serena Williams in the first round last year. …

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