So, the time has come. From the draw, all eyes had turned to this completely crazy top of the table. The summit, at least on paper, of this Roland-Garros 2022 took shape very clearly: Rafael Nadal against Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals. Here we are. If the two men experienced very different scenarios on Sunday to join the quarterfinals, they are now only waiting for one thing: to know when it will take place.
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Nadal and Djoko, opposite preferences
On the side of the players, the choices differ. In a press conference, Rafael Nadal recalled the line of conduct that has been his since the introduction of night-sessions at Roland-Garros last year. “I prefer to play during the dayhe explained in Spanish. I know Roland-Garros especially during the day. But I realize that anything can happen. Every time I play here, I am aware that it could be my last match at Roland-Garros. I don’t hope that is the case. But that’s also why I would like to play it during the day“.
A sentimental argument that also hides much more tennis reasoning. “I don’t like night sessions on clayhe had asserted more directly after his 3rd round. I have already said it. I am very clear on this. I don’t like playing on clay at night, because the humidity is higher, the ball is slower and the conditions can be very heavy, especially when it’s cold. I think it makes a big difference on how to play tennis on clay“.
Rafael Nadal during the night session at Roland-Garros
Credit: Getty Images
This difference, precisely, is all that Novak Djokovic hopes for. Because, for him, facing Nadal with a lift reduced by the conditions looks like a godsend. “All I can say is that Rafa and I would make different requests“, he smiled on the set of France Télévisions on Friday when Michaël Llodra asked him the question. Since then, the Serb has insisted on recalling the underside of such a decision which ultimately exceeds the players.
Equity level, they are equal
“Top players like us have the right to make requests but these are not always grantedhe detailed at a press conference. But, in the end, it is the tournament directors and the TV broadcasters who decide. They are the ones who claim your match during the day or in the evening. You just have to adapt to it”.
In the criteria used, the fairness of the time spent in the night session must take precedence. From this point of view, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal both had the honor of an evening on the Chatrier, in the first round for the Serb against Nishioka, in the second round for the Spaniard against Corentin Moutet. And since Carlos Alcaraz, the other media attraction in the table, has already had the right to two night matches, it is unlikely that his quarter will still take place under these conditions.
So, the options seem limited, except for a choice of the women’s table, poor relation of the night programming (only 1 match out of 8 scheduled so far). But are Martina Trévisan against Leylah Fernandez or Coco Gauff against Sloane Stephens enough posters for the night slot?
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“We are also talking about the most anticipated match of the tournament”
“Roland is the heritage of French sport, just like the Tour du France. Can you imagine the Alpe d’Huez stage broadcast on a pay channel and therefore inaccessible to the vast majority of viewers? There we also talk about the most anticipated match of the tournament. And I’m thinking of the tennis-mad kid whose parents can’t afford to bring him to Roland or afford TV subscriptions. Not offering them this match, which promotes tennis and the tournament, it’s a big responsibility all the same“, pleaded Nicolas Mahut.
Behind the scenes, there were many noises this Sunday. Normally scheduled for Monday at 10 a.m., Amélie Mauresmo’s mid-tournament press briefing has been postponed to Wednesday. Certainly no coincidence. The final decision should not fall before Monday afternoon, the usual slot for the revelation of the next day’s programming. In short, we will have to wait a little longer before having the end of the story. Without this being the last as this decision will make people talk.
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