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Rafael Nadal likes changes at Roland Garros, except one: "I don't like to play on clay during the night"
The "humidity is higher, the ball is slower, and can be very heavy conditions especially when it's cold," says the 13-time champion—who is positive about almost all other event changes.
Published May 28, 2022
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Rafael Nadal is a big fan of the recent changes at the French Open, which include a refurbishment of Court Philippe Chatrier, a new show court and an expansion of the tournament grounds. But the Spaniard has one quibble.
“I don't like to play on clay during the night, because humidity is higher, the ball is slower, and can be very heavy conditions especially when it's cold,” he said following his third-round win. “I think that makes a big difference on the way who played tennis on clay during the night and during the day.”
The 35-year-old from Spain won 12 French Opens before court lighting was installed in 2020, though it didn't stop him from winning another title in what were even colder conditions, due to the five-month postponement of the event (due to the pandemic).
He fell to Novak Djokovic in a thrilling semifinal that finished under the lights in 2021, but won his second-rounder easily during a night session this week.
Generally, though, Nadal is positive about the recent changes at the event.
“The rest of the things are simply amazing,” he said. “The work that Roland Garros did and the French Federation did at the highest standards possible are just fantastic. I think the new center court is amazing. The Simonne-Mathieu court is so beautiful too. And the plan to keep going is there.
“Yeah, I am just very happy to see the most important tournament on the clay improving that much. That's great news.”
Nadal is the fifth seed, and next plays Felix Auger-Aliassime, with the scheduling undetermined as of yet.