Tue | Feb 20, 2018

Djokovic, Williams forced to wait at rainy French Open

Published:Monday | May 23, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Spectators with umbrellas leave the courts as rain interrupted first-round matches of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, yesterday.
Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic returns the ball to Vitalia Diatchenko of Russia during their first-round match of the French Tennis Open at the Roland Garros stadium yesterday in Paris.
Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka returns during a training session at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, yesterday. Wawrinka begins playing today.


Thanks to rain, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams were forced to wait an extra day to start their bids for history at the French Open.

The two number-one-seeded players originally were slated to play first-round matches today, the second day of the clay-court Grand Slam tournament.

However, the schedule was already being shuffled because of showers that created a delay of more than two and a half hours in the afternoon and returned to halt all play in yesterday's early evening, allowing only 10 out of 32 matches to be completed.

So the soonest Djokovic, who is trying to complete a career Grand Slam and become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win four consecutive major titles, and Williams - hoping to equal Steffi Graf's Open-era record of 22 major championships - will get started is tomorrow.

Among those scheduled to play today are the number three Stan Wawrinka, the defending champion, who beat Djokovic in the 2015 final.

"Novak is the favourite, for sure," Wawrinka said.

"I think it's going to be interesting to see what's going to happen with the other players."


Wawrinka is coming off a confidence-boosting title last week on red clay in Geneva, where he defeated his first opponent in Paris, Lukas Rosol, in the semi-finals.

That victory made Wawrinka 4-0 against Rosol, a player best known for stunning Rafael Nadal in the second round of Wimbledon in 2012.

The half-dozen matches that were suspended in progress yesterday will resume today. Those involve players such as number five Kei Nishikori, who had a two-set lead against Simone Bolelli; Number 23 Jack Sock, headed to a fifth set against Robin Haase of the Netherlands; and 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, up a break at 3-1 in the third set against Yaroslava Shvedova.