Because of the wet weather, there was not much tennis to see on Tuesday — only two of the four matches originally scheduled in the main stadium actually began, so for Novak Djokovic, much of the afternoon was spent wondering when he would wind up taking the court for what turned out to be a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 7-5 victory over David Goffin in the first round of the only Grand Slam tournament the Serb has yet to win.
“I really wanted to finish tonight [Tuesday], although I know the crowd wanted to watch a little longer,” Djokovic said after wrapping up his match shortly before 9pm.
“It was a difficult day, because we have been waiting for hours and hours. I think I warmed up five or six times today,” Djokovic said. “In these conditions ... you need to adjust your game and tactics, because it’s quite different than comparing to the conditions when it’s dry and sunny.”
Unlike Wimbledon and the Australian Open, Roland Garros does not have a roof over any court, but unlike the US Open, at least there is a definitive timeline to build one.
Djokovic was pleased to learn that a cover is coming to the main court in Paris and he also is eager for them to install artificial lights. Both of those improvements would have contributed to a more stress-free evening on Tuesday for the man ranked and seeded No. 1.
He and the 58th-ranked Goffin, a Belgian who was one of the revelations at Roland Garros a year ago, did not begin until after 6:30pm, even though theirs was the second match of the day. They finished as light was fading.
Australian Bernard Tomic — whose father was barred from Roland Garros after being accused this month of head-butting Tomic’s hitting partner — stopped because of a torn right hamstring while trailing Victor Hanescu 7-5, 7-6 (8), 2-1. Three other men retired during matches: No. 28 Florian Mayer (right thigh), Alejandro Falla (stomach problems) and Bolelli (right wrist).
No. 9 Stanislas Wawrinka, No. 12 Tommy Haas and No. 16 Philipp Kohlschreiber and No. 26 Grigor Dimitrov advanced, along with 20-year-old American Jack Sock in his French Open debut.
If Dimitrov — he and Maria Sharapova are an item, so he was asked about dealing with paparazzi — reaches the third round, he could face Djokovic. That would be an intriguing matchup, given that Dimitrov defeated Djokovic on clay at Madrid three weeks ago.
“This is the kind of matches I’d always want to play in,” Dimitrov said. “I feel good on the big courts and playing against good players.”
Yesterday was a sad day for Britain as Heather Watson slid out of the French Open on Wednesday in losing her opening-round match against Stefanie Voegele.
Switzerland’s Voegele won 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 to send Watson crashing out at the opening hurdle and at the same time end British hopes, male or female, in this year’s tournament given Andy Murray’s absence from the men’s event.
After trading opening serves, Watson then let slip three straight games and was thereafter chasing the encounter and although she rallied and broke back she succumbed to lose the opening set in 38 minutes.
The Guernsey-born Briton bagged an early break in the second, then conceded, but racked up a four-game streak to level the contest.