French Open 2019: Criticism as Novak Djokovic v Dominic Thiem suspended because of bad weather

Djokovic talks to the referee
Djokovic spoke to the referee about the windy conditions
2019 French Open
Venue: Roland Garros, Paris Dates: 26 May-9 June
Coverage: Live text and radio commentary on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app.

World number one Novak Djokovic trailed Dominic Thiem when their French Open semi-final was suspended because of bad weather - a move that drew criticism on social media.

Austrian fourth seed Thiem led 6-2 3-6 3-1 when wind and rain halted play.

Former world number one Amelie Mauresmo said "we have hit rock bottom", while many pointed out it had stopped raining with daylight left.

The women's semi-final scheduling was also subject to negative comments.

"The tournament referee decided to halt the match because conditions were becoming more and more difficult (including gusts of wind of up to 90 kph)," said tournament organisers.

"There had already been two interruptions and the forecast predicted fresh showers in the hours to follow. This uncertainty led the referee to opt for an immediate postponement."

Former players and tennis journalists tweeted their complaints about the decision to cancel play on Friday, with Britain's Fed Cup captain Anne Keothavong branding it a "strange decision" and British former player Mark Petchey among those posting pictures of blue skies.

Pat Cash tweeted: "Well the match would have been finished but they decided to cancel. Played lots in the rain this week and they cancel when it's sunshine?????"
Former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash said there had been a lot of play in rain at this year's tournament
A tweet by Fuller saying: "There are three hours of daylight left and it's been dry for the last 15 minutes"
BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller pointed out that there was plenty of daylight left

Will the women's final start on time?

The men's semi-final will resume at 11:00 BST on Philippe Chatrier, three hours before the women's final between Ashleigh Barty and Marketa Vondrousova is due to start.

French Open organisers explained the decision, saying: "The conclusion of this men's semi-final is scheduled for midday tomorrow. The two players therefore have three hours to finish their match. That should be sufficient time to allow the women's final to start on time."

Scheduling at this year's tournament was already under the spotlight after the women's semi-finals were moved away from Chatrier to two other show courts when they were postponed from Thursday to Friday.

Britain's Johanna Konta said she was "surprised" at her semi-final being moved out to the 5,000-seater Court Simonne Mathieu, which was barely a third full for her 7-5 7-6 (7-2) defeat by Vondrousova.

WTA boss Steve Simon had called the decision to move those matches "inappropriate and unfair", while Mauresmo said it was a "disgrace".

Djokovic drops first set of tournament in windy conditions

Djokovic, 32, is aiming to become the first man in the Open era to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time on two separate occasions, while Thiem, last year's runner-up, is bidding to become the first Austrian player to reach a second Grand Slam final.

Both players had to play quarter-finals on Thursday after rain stopped play on Wednesday and the weather interrupted them again in the semi-final, the winner of which will play 11-time champion Rafael Nadal in Sunday's final.

There were strong winds on Chatrier, whipping up the red dirt and at one point sending an umbrella flying across the back of the court.

Thiem, 25, who has never beaten a world number one at a Grand Slam, coped better with the conditions initially.

The Austrian's powerful shots cut through the breeze, while Djokovic, playing in his first French Open semi-final since 2016, made repeated errors.

After being broken twice in the first set, Djokovic asked the umpire whose responsibility it was to decide whether it was too windy to continue, but play carried on and he dropped a set for the first time this tournament.

A ballboy chases an umbrella on court
An umbrella flew across the back of the court behind Djokovic in between points

Play was then suspended because of rain with the score on serve in the second set. The break only lasted 10 minutes before the players were back on court.

Momentum then shifted Djokovic's way as he got a break of serve, then held to level things at one set each.

Thiem went 3-1 up after breaking the 15-time Grand Slam champion's serve in the third set but he was halted once more as the wind and rain worsened.

Djokovic and Thiem left the court at about 16:45 BST, with the decision to cancel play for the day taken about 40 minutes later.

At that stage there was bright sunshine and clear sky over Roland Garros, which lasted for about another 50 minutes before dark clouds returned.

However, the expected rain did not reappear until around 18:40 BST.

Top Stories