PARIS -- John Isner described the French Open's scheduling of No. 1 and defending champion Rafael Nadal's first-round match on Court Suzanne Lenglen as "really bizarre." It is not uncommon for Nadal, an eight-time French Open champion, to have his matches scheduled for the tournament's second show court, but it is a rare sight to see a tournament welcome back its defending champion on a secondary court for his or her first match.
The two men's matches scheduled for Court Philippe Chatrier feature No. 2 Novak Djokovic and No. 3 Stan Wawrinka.
"I mean, how many times does the guy have to win the tournament to be able to have his first match on Chatrier," Isner said. "No offense to Stan, but if you look at it I figured they'd be flip‑flopped. But I don't think Rafa really cares that much. He's just going to go out there and try to win."
Nadal will play American wildcard Robby Ginepri, who earned his wildcard by winning the USTA wildcard playoff.
"I believe Robby got up at 8:00 in the morning to hit on Chatrier this morning," Isner said, laughing.
Here are of the Twitter reactions to Nadal's court placement:
A genuinely surprised Isner calls placing Nadal on Lenglen “bizarre.” Laughs that 1R opponent Ginepri got up at 8am to hit on Chatrier.
— Douglas Robson (@dougrobson) May 25, 2014
Nadal on Lenglen does not strike me as disrespectful per se, but shows again how impossible it is for fans to plan to watch their favorites.
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 25, 2014
I like Nadal on Lenglen. Gives people a chance to watch him from closer up. Good for fans with tix. Long tournament. Not disrespectful.
— Tom Perrotta (@TomPerrotta) May 25, 2014
Would never happen at Wimbledon Part 2,543. Eight times & defending champion @RafaelNadal will make his RG start on 2nd court (Lenglen) ???
— Barry Flatman (@Barry_FlatmanST) May 25, 2014
Nadal is a humble champion as champions go. But at this stage he should be on Chatrier for his 1st round match unless he asks not to be — Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) May 25, 2014