Djokovic wanted court watered, Nadal did not

by: Matt Cronin June 07, 2013

AP Photo

Novak Djokovic says that he asked chair umpire Pascal Maria to have the court watered during his 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7 (3), 9-7 loss to Rafael Nadal in the Roland Garros semifinals. During the changeover before he dropped serve to lose the match, Djokovic asked Maria to get down off of his chair to check the court, but the chair umpire refused to do so. Nadal said that Maria asked him whether he wanted the court watered and the Spaniard said no.

"I spoke to supervisor [Stefan Franzen] after the match, and I was told on the court grounds people are the ones making final decision, and supervisor tells me he's the one who makes final decision on condition of court," Djokovic said. "It's a confusing situation. I was not asking to water the court because I want to make my opponent trip or do something like that. I was doing it for myself, because I felt that it got very dry and it was very slippery. There was also a lot of wind throughout the whole match, so the wind was taking out the clay from the court.

"I thought I made a right argument at the time. And then I was basically, on every changeover from 4-3 in the fifth asking, 'You know, how long are we really going to play?' Because they couldn't really tell me. They say, 'Okay, we're not going to do it for a while.' But why? In the end, supervisor tells me, 'Yes, I go to the grounds people and I talk to them, and then, I can't make a decision if one player is saying yes, the other is saying no.' Like whose opinion has more value, really?"

Djokovic said that he respects the grounds crew, but believes watering the court would have only taken up to a minute.

"I believe it would change a lot because it would not be as dry and not as slippery," he said. "[It was] too slippery. Difficult to change direction. I think that it's wrong what they did."

Nadal said that he didn't think the court was too slippery and doesn't consider it standard procedure to water the court in the middle of the set.

"I don't feel it was slippery," he said. "But everybody is free to ask the things. Is completely right that Novak ask for that. I didn't want water on court. So I just receive question from the umpire, and I say, I prefer not. But if they put water, I would not say nothing against."

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