French Open

Djokovic pleads for lights at Roland Garros

2016-05-29 13:18
Novak Djokovic (AFP)

Paris - Novak Djokovic pleaded with French Open organisers to build floodlights on Roland Garros' showpiece Philippe Chatrier court after he was forced to complete his third round match at 21:30.

World number one Djokovic, desperately seeking a first Paris title and become just the eighth man to complete a career Grand Slam, was looking at having to reboot his plans as his tie against Britain's Aljaz Bedene reached a conclusion in the deepening gloom.

The top seed had to race through his closing service games before completing a 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 win over the gutsy Bedene and book a place in the fourth round.

"It was getting dark. I just hope that soon Roland Garros will at least have lights at least on the centre court and Suzanne Lenglen court. I mean, for a Grand Slam you need to have lights," said the 29-year-old Serb.

"I'm really hoping we can have that very soon for these particular situations, especially considering the fact that forecast for the weather is not that great in the following days.

"So it's not good for anybody, waiting the whole day for players, for fans, for tournament organisers. So I'm just -- just hoping that, you know, things will go well in the future."

Roland Garros is planning a roof for Court Philippe Chatrier but that will not be completed at the earliest until 2020.

Meanwhile, floodlit night sessions are common at the Australian Open and the US Open whose cavernous Arthur Ashe stadium will also boast a roof for the first time later this year.

Even Wimbledon can see play continue after dark thanks to its floodlit roof on Centre Court.

Djokovic, an 11-time major winner, has been a French Open finalist on three occasions in the last four years.

One of his main obstacles to breaking his Roland Garros curse has already left Paris.

Rafael Nadal, the nine-time champion, was a scheduled semi-final opponent but the Spaniard withdrew from the tournament with a wrist injury on Friday. Another long-time rival Roger Federer skipped the event with a back injury.

Despite those absences, Djokovic insisted he felt sympathy for Nadal.

"It was sad seeing Rafa in the press conference. You could feel his pain, definitely," said Djokovic.

"He played terrific the opening couple of rounds here. Then something happened. So, you know, if he retired from the tournament, then something really is serious, because he's one of the greatest competitors that the game has ever known.

"It's sad to not have him in the tournament. But again, we keep on going, and I'm still in and I'm just hoping it's going to go well for me."

Djokovic next plays Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut, seeded 14, for a place in the quarter-finals.

Read more on:    french open  |  novak djokovic  |  tennis


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