Coco Gauff slams French Open for Novak Djokovic situation

Gauff has not yet been forced to play a late-night match, but she is already frustrated by what some players are having to go through.
Coco Gauff discusses late-night matches
Coco Gauff discusses late-night matches / Ian MacNicol/GettyImages

The French Open has not had its finest moment in 2024. The tennis has been great, but the issue is that the officiating has been inconsistent, the weather has been bad, and the tournament schedule has been a mess at times, and not because of the weather.

The biggest issue was that Novak Djokovic and Lorenzo Musetti had to play a match that did not end up finishing until 3 am Paris time. The match was held on center court, a court that has a retractable roof so matches can be played there no matter what the weather is doing. In other words, the French Open was scheduled so poorly that the match got an even later start than normal and, therefore, finished at a ridiculous time.

To be fair, there were a couple of problems that led to the match beginning so late which the French Open had no control over on that day. The men's matches all went at least four sets and one of the matches was between Alexander Zverev and Tallon Griekspoor and that went all the way to a tie-break in the fifth set. To change the time, or even the day, of the Djokovic and Musetti match would have required both good planning and guts by the organizers at Roland Garros.

Coco Gauff sounds off on Novak Djokovic late-night match issue

The match could have been moved to the next day and started early. However, that would have meant postponing the match early enough when players were not already into their pre-match routine. The French Open was too scared to do that.

One player who has not yet had to play late-night matches, unlike Daniil Medvedev who seems to play midnight matches with consistency at Grand Slams, is Coco Gauff. Just because Gauff has not been forced to play until the early morning hours does not mean she isn't miffed by the state of tennis that requires other players to do so.

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In a post-match press conference during her run in Paris, Gauff was asked about the late ending to the Djokovic match and she said, "I definitely think finishing at 3 am is...I feel like a lot of times people think you're done, but really, 3 am, then you have press and then you have to shower, eat, and then a lot of times people do treatments, so that's probably not going to bed until 5 at the earliest, maybe 6, and even 7 am. I definitely think it's not healthy. It may be not fair for those who have to play late because it does ruin your schedule."

Mostly, tournaments don't truly care about the health of the players. They worry about lost concessions and merchandise sales from postponing an important match. Event organizers are afraid to do something that hurts their bottom line. They likely see the players there simply to use for the organizers' financial gains.

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