Novak Djokovic's simple request of the French Open chair umpire goes ignored

Djokovic is playing in the latest match ever in French Open history against Lorenzo Musetti, but the chair umpire would not heed his request
Mateo Villalba/GettyImages

Novak Djokovic is having an odd day at the office. Due to the constant rain in Paris during this year's French Open, his indoor match was pushed back to accommodate the completion of a scheduled outdoor day match.

That means he did not take the court for his night match until after 10 PM Paris time. It is a late start against a tough opponent who defeated him before on clay in 2023 at Monte Carlo, Lorenzo Musetti.

When the match was even at one set apiece, Djokovic had a conversation with the chair umpire that was disturbing and entertaining.

What Novak Djokovic asked the chair umpire

Djokovic asked the umpire if the clay courts could be swept. On the hot microphone, it sounded like Djokovic told the umpire that he (the umpire) has the power to make that happen every 5 games if he wanted to.

The umpire lets him know that his request will not be heeded. Then, Djokovic smiles and says he didn't think it was an unreasonable request. Given the archaic way of determining if a ball is out by the marking in the clay, it is not irrational.

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NBC/Peacock announcers Noah Eagle, John McEnroe, and Mary Carillo openly wondered if Djokovic would ask if the match could be called for the night. Carillo said the rules "are rubbery" meaning subject to interpretation if the players wanted to do this.

It is another example of a bad look for the French Open this year. The tournament director, Amelie Mauresmo, tried to quell the concerns from David Goffin about insulting and inappropriate fan behavior by cutting alcohol sales in the stands. Still, terrible line calls (of which Djokovic was a victim early in the Musetti match) and the media trying to make Elena Rybakina out to be the wrong party when she wants to be asked more challenging questions than about her clothing are hindering this event.

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