This is a complex debate: should we start the match between Novak Djokovic and Daniel Elahi Galán with the roof of the Philippe-Chatrier court? Everyone will have their opinion on the matter. The logic must also be part of the game: Roland-Garros is not Bercy, it is not an indoor tournament. And the arrival of the roof cannot transform Roland-Garros into two distinct tournaments: the one that takes place under the Chatrier, sheltered from the elements, and the one on the other courts, all unprotected.
For Novak Djokovic, this question does not really arise. That damn roof, it had to be deployed before he played his first ball on Saturday. Not particularly happy, the world n ° 1 sent the message twice: during the match in a direct way, then in a press conference, in a more calm manner.
“I spoke with the supervisor before the game and that was one of my questions after seeing what the sky looked like. Then going towards the court, there were the first drops of rain. So I asked why they hadn’t closed the roof before and played the whole game with it. I asked because I had seen the weather. Everyone uses a different way to view it, but the point is, it didn’t smell good at all“, he said after the meeting sensing the coming problems.
“Then the match started. The chair umpire and supervisor thought it was playable. I understand this choice if you don’t have a roof. But that’s exactly the kind of situation we put a roof on, so why not use it? With conditions like these, this would have been especially helpful. (…) I think it was a bad decision not to shut it down right away.”
For Djokovic, closing the roof in the middle of a game was a waste of time
Falling on the court during the first set, the drizzle, which allowed the continuity of the game because that is the specificity of ocher, quickly became a heavy rain. Optimized to withstand up to a certain degree of rain, and equipped with white lines painted with linseed oil that prevents slipping, the clay of the Parisian court was able to hold up for a while before deteriorating seriously.
At 6-0, 2-1, tied, the slip of Galan, not far from hurting, was the straw that broke the camel’s back Djokovic. The Serb had been campaigning for many minutes, as well as the public, for the closure of the court to the elements. “You paid for a roof and you don’t use it“, he had slipped to the referee in slightly approximate French a few minutes before stopping play and forcing the referee to call the supervisor.
This cut, which occurred at 7.15 p.m., or after 49 minutes of play, lasted a quarter of an hour. It cost the Serbian its common thread. His level of aerial play has returned to normal, which annoyed him, especially in the 3rd set. The wait, fast in our eyes, was too long for him who cannot afford to wait that long without playing a ball. The process of getting back into shape on the court, as fast as it also from an outside perspective, did not help to get back into competition. In a quarter of an hour, Djoko lost his momentum and that was preventable. This is what he disputes.
Everything was done backwards according to him. Because of a questionable starting decision which started a process of disorder, even if he had fun taking a broom to help the technical teams. “We wasted time. It affected our game and impacted the one who came after “, added the Serbian. “You waste time to close the roof and affect one part of the court which is more affected by water than the other. You must therefore wait until the court is ready to continue playing.”