Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal to continue French Open final Monday | Tennis
Rain halted play in the fourth set of the French Open men's final, which was scheduled to resume at 4 a.m. PDT Monday. Rafael Nadal leads Novak Djokovic two sets to one in the best-of-five final, with Djokovic ahead 2-1 in the fourth set.
AP Tennis Writer
PARIS — His big lead over top-ranked Novak Djokovic in Sunday's drenched French Open final slipping away, Rafael Nadal tossed a soaked, clay-smeared tennis ball toward the chair umpire.
A drizzle had become a downpour, making the tennis balls heavy, the clay court slippery and changing the complexion of a match with so much at stake: Djokovic's bid to become the first man in 43 years to win four consecutive Grand Slam tournaments and Nadal's attempt to become the first man to win seven French Open titles.
Moments later, play was suspended with the second-seeded Nadal trying to protect a 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 1-2 lead over a surging Djokovic.
A tarp was pulled over the court and, after another hour or so, the decision was made to stop for the day and resume Monday at 4 a.m. PDT.
Officials at NBC, which aired Sunday's action, said Monday's U.S. television coverage will shift to NBC Sports Network, a cable channel in about 35 million fewer homes than the broadcast network.
It is the first time since 1973 the tournament at Roland Garros didn't conclude on a Sunday.
Djokovic, who is from Serbia, coped better with the conditions that left both men using their rackets to knock caked clay from the soles of their shoes. Nadal couldn't apply his usual heavy topspin on shots. Normally unflappable, particularly at his favorite tournament, the Spaniard began to gesture and mutter between points.
Toni Nadal, Rafael's uncle and coach, said he thought the best-of-five final should have been suspended earlier because "the court was too wet."
Tournament referee Stefan Fransson said Djokovic told him the court was slippery, and Rafael Nadal was "not happy" while pointing out his complaints about the tennis balls.