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Serbia's Novak Djokovic reacts during his fourth round match against Argentina's Diego Schwartzman at Roland Garros in Paris, France, on May 29 2022. Picture: REUTERS/YVES HERMAN
Serbia's Novak Djokovic reacts during his fourth round match against Argentina's Diego Schwartzman at Roland Garros in Paris, France, on May 29 2022. Picture: REUTERS/YVES HERMAN

Paris — Tuesday’s French Open quarterfinal between world No 1 Novak Djokovic and 13-time champion Rafa Nadal has been scheduled for the controversial night session despite the Spaniard expressing reservations about it.

The night session, for which Amazon Prime has exclusive broadcasting rights in France, starts at 9pm local time and was introduced for the first time during the 2021 edition of the clay-court Major.

“I don’t like night sessions on clay. I am very clear with that,” Nadal told reporters last week. He enjoys near mythical status at Roland Garros, where he has a statue erected in his honour.

“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.”

Teen sensation Carlos Alcaraz and Alexander Zverev have both said they would not want their quarterfinal, also on Tuesday, to be scheduled for the night session. The match between the Spaniard and the German third seed was put down as the third on Court Philippe Chatrier.

The Djokovic-Nadal rivalry is such a hot bill that usual rules tend not to apply when the two heavyweights face each other at the French Open.

Last year the Covid-19 curfew was pushed back to allow fans to stay longer at Roland Garros when Djokovic knocked Nadal out in the semifinals and this year, the match will be broadcast for free on Prime Video, organisers said.

Asked about his choice during a TV interview, Djokovic said with a smile: “I can only say that Rafa and I would make different applications. As top players, we do have requests, but those requests are not always accepted.”

“The tournament director, along with TV, broadcasters, I think in the end of the day that’s who decides ... TV, whether they want your match, day or night.

“You just have to adjust to that. Obviously, depending on who you play, sometimes it’s favourable to play night; sometimes day. There is no standard or no formula that works always.”

Reuters

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