PARIS (Reuters) – Rafa Nadal enjoys a near mythical status at Roland Garros where he has won a record 13 French Open titles and has a statue erected in his honour, but the Spaniard is no fan of the night sessions at the claycourt Grand Slam.
The night session, for which Amazon has exclusive television broadcasting rights in France, starts at 9 p.m. local time and was introduced for the first time at the 2021 edition of the major.
Organisers the French tennis federation (FFT) have previously faced criticism for matches finishing too late and Nadal, who has won a men’s record 21 majors, said conditions in Paris were not suited for such a late start on clay.
“I don’t like night sessions on clay. I am very clear with that,” Nadal, who reached the fourth round on Friday by beating Dutch 26th seed Botic van de Zandschulp, told reporters before lauding organisers for the constant development of the site.
“I don’t like to play on clay during the night because humidity is higher, the ball is slower and there can be very heavy conditions especially when it’s cold.
“I think that makes a big difference on the way you play tennis on clay during the night and during the day.”
The U.S. and Australian Open tournaments also have night sessions but, unlike the French Open, feature more than one match.
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Ken Ferris)