SBD/June 11, 2012/Events and Attractions

Nadal Wins Rain-Soaked French Open Final; Did TV Schedules Prevent Earlier Start Time?

It could be at least five years before the French Open courts get a roof
Rafael Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic this morning to win the rain-delayed French Open men’s final. NBC's John McEnroe noted rain began to fall "at a very solid clip” once play re-started today and said, "It’s just a shame, the weather. These guys are having to deal with this. It’s tough to play in this stuff.” Clay is the only surface on which play can continue during a light rain fall, and NBC's Ted Robinson said, “It bears repeating that this court is unique in so many ways.” Meanwhile, Robinson noted there were "no tickets sold for the final Monday of play." Robinson: "It is ticket holders from yesterday who have been allowed to return and a fair number have” ("French Open," NBC Sports Network, 6/11). The GUARDIAN's Kevin Mitchell notes French Open tournament officials “denied, unconvincingly, that international TV schedules set the 3pm [local] start in stone, despite the dire forecast” which eventually postponed the men’s final yesterday. Officials “might look at starting earlier in future -- given the long finals in slams lately -- or they might not.” Mitchell notes at 6:51pm local time, “the drizzle that had steadily drenched patrons and spectators for nearly two hours strengthened.” French Open Chief Referee Stefan Fransson made the decision to suspend play after the delay and Rafael Nadal said, "The court, it is the same as it was one hour ago, no? And now we go off? Ridiculous." Tournament Dir Gilbert Ysern said, "A roof is being considered and is on the way. But of course it's going to be in five years' time. We will have to keep our fingers crossed for the next five years and hope we are going to avoid the rain on the final days" (GUARDIAN, 6/11). FOXSPORTS.com’s Greg Couch wrote, “It rained the whole match, and officials, trying to keep broadcasters happy, kept letting the match go on and on anyway.” Nothing “had changed over the final hour of the match,” it just “kept drizzling.” Maybe officials “realized that their greed over TV money, their desperation to make broadcasters happy, had stolen Nadal’s magic and was turning their party into a disaster” (FOXSPORTS.com, 6/10).

TIME TO MAKE SOME CHANGES? In London, Mike Dickson wrote the French Open “really must do something about the configuration” of Court Phillipe Chatrier, the facility's main court. The “lack of people in courtside hospitality boxes prior to 3pm and the lack of people in the Presidential Box at virtually any time has become an embarrassment to the tournament and looks awful on television.” Dickson: “Get the real fans down the front” (London DAILY MAIL, 6/11).
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