Normally when Rafael Nadal arrives at Roland Garros he's totally and completely at home. A seven-time winner of the French Open, Nadal and clay go together like Jack and Augusta, Brett and Lambeau and Kobe and Staples.
But the 2013 French has been a strange one. Weather has pushed matches around, and organizers have had to do a lot of mix and matching to get as much play in as possible. Nadal has not been happy about the way the schedule has played out thus far and lashed out at organizers on Friday after winning his second round match over Martin Klizan 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.
“I think everybody knows in this room that the schedule of (Thursday) was wrong,” Nadal said after his win. “That’s the real thing. I don’t know if the director of the tournament, supervisors, guys who take the positions, they take a bad position two days ago, because when you make the schedule at 7 in the (evening), not 11 in the morning, you know which weather predictions you have for the next days.”
Of all the players that have been shuffled because of weather, it seems Nadal has been the one that's received the short stick. Nadal was supposed to play on Thursday, but rain moved him to Friday and as Beyond the Baseline points out, Nadal will now have to play six matches in 10 days if he wants to win his eighth French Open title.
So why is Nadal so upset? Because his next opponent, Fabio Fognini, was able to get his second round match in on Thursday, meaning he would have a full day of rest more than Nadal, who got scheduled to play on Friday.
“That’s not fair,” he said. “And today I was playing almost three hours on court, and my opponent was watching the TV in the locker room. So if you (tell) me that’s fair, I say that’s not fair.”
Nadal said he was told that the reason Fognini got the call a day early is because Forgnini's opponent, Lukas Rosol, had to play doubles later that day and they wanted to get the singles match in before that to make the scheduling smoother.
As you can probably guess, that answer did not make Nadal very happy.
“I am sorry, but that’s a joke,” Nadal said. “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 on the doubles draw then and I have the priority to play? That’s not the right excuse to make a schedule like this."
Nadal now is forced to play Fognini on Saturday, meaning he will be on the court consecutive days, and while I understand why someone like Nadal would be upset, especially considering his delicate health at this point in his career, I feel like upsetting him is just a case of waking the beast.
He's mad, he's playing great tennis and now Fognini has to go out and try to beat a guy that is not just trying to tear him apart, but has some added bulletin board material thanks to a weird scheduling situation during the first week in Paris.