Rafael Nadal had made it clear that he does not like to play at night on clay so it is unsurprising that his camp has bemoaned the decision to schedule his Roland Garros clash against Novak Djokovic for the evening.
The Spaniard is set for his 59th meeting against Djokovic in the French Open quarter-final on Tuesday and it will be a night match on Court Philippe-Chatrier with the action set to kick off at 20:45 local time (19:45 BST).
While world No 1 Djokovic will no doubt welcome the decision, it was always going to irk Nadal as he admitted after his third-round win last week that “I don’t like night sessions on clay. I am very clear with that”.
Nadal’s coach Carlos Moya made his feelings about the decision clear.
“I wouldn’t say disrespect, but here at Roland Garros, Rafa has credit,” he told RMC Sport.
“He has won the tournament 13 times, and if he has a request, you should listen to him. He is part of the history of Roland Garros.
“We know that nobody is bigger than [the tournament], nobody is bigger than the Grand Slam, but in the end, it is a question of business and we understand that.”
Last year’s semi-final clash between Nadal and Djokovic also took place at night with the latter coming from a set down to win in four.
Eurosport expert Alex Corretja explained why Nadal and Djokovic will have different opinions about playing under the lights at Roland Garros.
“Oh dear! We will have time to talk about [the conditions],” the former world No 2 said.
“Of course Rafa’s game is not as effective because usually, he likes to hit the ball with a lot of spin, meaning that the ball will go very high.
“But if he plays at night, the ball might bounce a little bit lower, and for Novak’s game, [that is] better.
“Obviously, the conditions are the same for everyone, but it depends on your game. It can suit your game more or less, and that’s why for Rafa’s game, it is always better when it’s sunny.”
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