‘I don’t like night sessions on clay’ – Nadal makes feelings known about Roland-Garros schedule

The king of clay isn’t keen on playing in Paris at night – but the defending champion would be rather happier about it

Rafael Nadal Rafael Nadal (Federico Pestellini/Panoramic)

When the king of clay speaks about Roland-Garros, everybody listens. And this time, Rafael Nadal has a little grumble to air.

“I don’t like night sessions on clay – I say the other day,” he said after his win over Botic van de Zandschulp steered him into the fourth round. “I am very clear with that. I don’t like to play on clay during the night, because humidity is higher, the ball is slower, and can be very heavy conditions especially when it’s cold. I think that makes a big difference on the way who played tennis on clay during the night and during the day.”

That is, however, pretty much the only gripe the 13-time champion has about the tournament. He was quick to describe the stadium improvements as “amazing”, adding: “The work that Roland Garros did and the French Federation did to raise this tournament at the highest standards possible are just fantastic. So just well done to all of them, and thanks for create a constant improvement during these years.

“I think the new centre court is amazing. The Simonne Mathieu court is so beautiful too. And the plan to keep going is there. Yeah, I am just very happy to see the most important tournament on the clay improving that much. That’s great news.”

Joker Djokovic: “Different requests”

It’s possible that Nadal will meet defending champion and old rival Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals, in a match that is very likely to be scheduled for the night session.

But the Serb made a joke of the potential clash when questioned about the timing on France Television, saying: “All I will say is Rafa and I would make different requests.”

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