‘It’s too cold’ | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 28, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:54 AM, September 28, 2020

‘It’s too cold’

Gone are the queues of spectators and gone is the sun as the French Open kicked off in underwhelming fashion on Sunday with persistent drizzle and a chill wind sweeping the almost-empty Roland Garros grounds.

Former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka complained about the playing conditions amid light drizzle and low temperatures during her 6-1, 6-2 first-round victory.

The US Open runner-up, who entered court Suzanne Lenglen wearing a thick pink puffer jacket, and her opponent Danka Kovinic walked off the court after play was suspended with Belarusian Azarenka leading 2-1.

"No, it's eight degrees, I live in Florida, I'm used to hot weather," a furious Azarenka told the supervisor who asked her to wait on court until a decision was made on if the match should continue.

Speaking to her opponent from Montenegro, 10th seed Azarenka, who next faces either Venus Williams or Slovakia's Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, said: "Do you want to wait on court?

"No," Kovinic replied.

"No, it's ridiculous, it's too cold. What's the point? Sitting here like ducks," said Azarenka, who wore a wind jacket on court and said she was worried about sliding on a court made heavier by the persistent drizzle.

The players returned after a delay of about 50 minutes and Azarenka immediately broke her opponent's serve before wrapping up victory in front of nine spectators.

Azarenka said the interruption should have been better managed.

"I think it's very tricky at the moment to have these conditions. So definitely not going to sit here and complain, but sometimes I think there are smarter ways to handle situations.

"The unfortunate part sometimes with the French Open is that there is no communications with players or players council," she added.

The French Open is usually played in May-June but this year's tournament was pushed back to late September due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The weather in Paris is therefore colder than normal for the Grand Slam event with the claycourt conditions much heavier and slower than the players are accustomed to.

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