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Wednesday Rainout Leads To Controversial Friday French Open Tennis Schedule

No matches are played due to rain during the French Open tennis tournament in Paris, France, 05 June 2019. EPA-EFE/YOAN VALAT
No matches are played due to rain during the French Open tennis tournament in Paris, France, 05 June 2019. EPA-EFE/YOAN VALAT



By Ricky Dimon


Selfishly, I have to say Friday’s French Open schedule is amazing. I say that while fully understanding that it is not-so-amazing for others.


But let’s start with the what and why of it:


The two men’s semifinals are being played on Court Philippe Chatrier, starting with Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer at 12:50 p.m. followed by Novak Djokovic vs. Dominic Thiem.


One women’s semifinal–Ashleigh Barty vs. Amanda Anisimova–begins at 11:00 a.m. on Court Suzanne Lenglen. The other–Johanna Konta vs. Marketa Voundousova–will be played simultaneously on the third biggest court, Simonne-Mathieu.


Given that there are no lights at Roland Garros and especially because of the Friday forecast, you can’t risk putting two men’s matches and a women’s match on Chatrier. The Chatrier options other than two men’s matches are one men’s match and one women’s match or one men’s match and both women’s matches.


But tournament officials want both men’s matches on Chatrier because tickets were solid for them as two different sessions; one ticket for one match and a separate ticket for the other one. The women’s semis–originally scheduled for Thursday–were always solid on one ticket.


The women were supposed to have a day off prior to their final, which is why being played at different times (albeit one right after the other) on Thursday would have been fine. Now with no days of rest, however, it is only fair to the four competitors that they start simultaneously–once again, especially because of the questionable forecast. This way there is little chance for one eventual finalist to hold a significant rest advantage over the other. That’s why Konta-Vondrousova is on Simonne Mathieu instead of second on Lenglen after Barty-Anisimova.


A lot of people figure the solution would be to put one women’s match and one men’s match each on Chatrier and Lenglen. This would have been sensible…aside from the fact that it would enrage one set of ticket holders (and which one?!?!) who paid to see one of the men’s matches on Chatrier.


Thus, the above is what will transpire (weather permitting, of course).


“Obviously, we would love to play on Chatrier,” Barty admitted. “For me, personally, I’m excited to be in a semifinal. It doesn’t really matter which court I play on. I’m in a semifinal. I’m going to be ready to play. Yes, of course we would have loved to play on Chatrier. It’s a beautiful court. But in saying that, all four of us will be ready and prepared and go out there and enjoy it.”


Rafael Nadal of Spain plays Kei Nishikori of Japan during their men?s quarter final match during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 04 June 2019. EPA-EFE/CAROLINE BLUMBERGI’ll enjoy it, too. As a member of the media, I can watch whichever turns out to be the more entertaining women’s semi, followed by Fedal, followed by Djoker-Thiem. It’s a perfect schedule.


But it stinks for women’s semifinal ticket-holders, because now they get either one semi or the other; not both.


Rain was a disaster for tournament officials. It always has been and it always will be at in tennis (no longer at the French starting in 2020, thankfully, as a roof will be on Chatrier). It created a lose-lose situation for the schedule-makers.


Did they do the best they could? I say yes….


…But, again, I’m selfish!


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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