Rafael Nadal’s uncle Toni slams ‘illogical’ French Open decision for Novak Djokovic match

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Rafael Nadal’s uncle and former coach Toni has criticised French Open organisers for scheduling his nephew’s quarter-final match with Novak Djokovic in Tuesday’s night session. The 13-time champion wanted to play in the warmer daytime conditions while the top seed requested the new night session and received an advantage when he was given his desired slot.

Nadal’s coach has already hit out at the organisers’ decision to put him and Djokovic last on Court Philippe-Chatrier in the new night session slot after the world No 5 admitted he didn’t like playing at night. And his former coach has now slammed the decision as “illogical” given the final match is always played in the day.

Toni was more diplomatic than his nephew’s current coach Carlos Moya in accepting the night session schedule but still thought it made less sense. “The television channels and platforms wanted this game at night and it is what it is,” he conceded, speaking to Onda Cero.

“You don’t have to think about it anymore, play and see if you are lucky. It changes a lot. During the day it is hot and the ball bounces, it is alive and for Djokovic it is more difficult to control the ball. Playing during the day is what is more like a final. It is more logical that it was played during the day.”

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Tuesday’s order of play for the quarter-final matches in the top half of the men’s draw was arguably the most anticipated tennis schedule in recent history, with the contrasting conditions between the day and night sessions expected to play a part in the 59th meeting between Djokovic and Nadal.

After reaching the fourth round to put himself within one match of facing Nadal, Djokovic admitted: “All I will say is Rafa and I would make different requests.” Meanwhile, the 21-time Grand Slam champion said: “I don’t like night sessions on clay. I say the other day. I am very clear with that.”

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Uncle Toni’s comments on Nadal’s night session billing come after his replacement as the Spaniard’s coach – former world No 1 and French Open champion Moya – slammed the tournament for not listening to their 13-time champion. “I would not speak of lack of respect. Here at Roland Garros, Rafa has credit, he has won the tournament 13 times and if he has a request you should listen to him,” he claimed.

“He is part of the history of Roland Garros, we know that no one is greater than Roland Garros, no one is bigger than the Grand Slam tournaments, but in the end it’s a question of business and we understand.”

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