Rafael Nadal calls French Open scheduling 'a joke'

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Rafael Nadal dropped a set in his first two French Open matches for the first time. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal lashed out at French Open organizers after beating Martin Klizan 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 to reach the third round Friday.

Nadal was originally scheduled to be the third match on Court Suzanne Lenglen on Thursday but was postponed after rain washed out most of the day's play, meaning the seven-time French Open champion will have to play six matches in 10 days to win the title.

"I think everybody knows in this room that the schedule of [Thursday] was wrong," Nadal told reporters after the win. "That's the real thing. I don't know if the director of the tournament, supervisors, guys who take the positions, they take a bad position two days ago, because when you make the schedule at 7 in the [evening], not 11 in the morning, you know which weather predictions you have for the next days."

Nadal was unhappy that his second-round match was scheduled third after a men's and women's match, while his third-round opponent, Fabio Fognini, was scheduled second after a women's match on another court. The scheduling decision meant Nadal's match was more likely to be postponed due to rain as opposed to Fognini's. As it happened, he was right. Fognini was able to get on court and win his match on Thursday and have a day of rest while Nadal was forced to play his second round Friday.

"That's not fair," he said. "And today I was playing almost three hours on court, and my opponent was watching the TV in the locker room. So if you [tell] me that's fair, I say that's not fair."

Nadal told Spanish reporters: "Because when you know that it's going to be sunny, it's fair. But when you know it's going to possibly rain, you cannot make a schedule thinking that one match could be postponed by three hours; chances are that maybe even the match will not be played."

Nadal said organizers told him they had to schedule Fognini's match against Lukas Rosol early because Rosol was in doubles later in the day.

"I am sorry, but that's a joke," said Nadal, who was upset by Rosol in the Wimbledon second round last year. "You have one more week to play doubles if you want to play doubles. Why do you want to protect the player who has to play doubles? So I'm going to write myself on the doubles draw then and I have the priority to play? That's not the right excuse to make a schedule like this.

"I don't want to keep talking, because it seems like I am the bad guy saying that, but that's the real thing, and everybody here knows that's not right."

Nadal will play No. 27 Fognini, a quarterfinalist in 2011, on Saturday.

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