'Wouldn't give it to a dog': Outrage over French Open balls-up

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·Sports Reporter
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British tennis star Dan Evans (pictured right) keeping warm in cold conditions at the French Open and a ball boy (pictured left) holding a tennis ball.
British tennis star Dan Evans (pictured right) keeping warm in cold conditions at the French Open, before he slammed the French Open conditions and the tennis balls (pictured left). (Getty Images)

British star Dan Evans has lashed out at the French Open and weighed in on the debate that has plagued the Grand Slam in the lead up to the tournament.

The king of clay Rafa Nadal recently hit out at French Open organisers after claiming the change in balls for the 2020 tournament could be ‘dangerous’ and risks adding extra strain on players.

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Roland Garros has switched to Wilson balls for the 2020 tournament after using Babolat for many years.

"You have to take care because with these conditions you can't practise that much because the ball is super heavy," the second-seeded Spaniard told reporters on Friday.

"Different brand than last year, a new ball. The ball is much slower than the previous years. If we add these conditions of cold and humidity, then it is super heavy."

Now, Evans has joined a host of top-tier players to slam the switch ahead of the 2020 tournament.

Evans suffered a first round loss to Kei Nishikori 1-6, 6-1, 7-6 (3), 1-6, 6-4 and was clearly disappointed after the five-set match.

But Evans was also clearly perturbed at the new Wilson balls and claimed he wouldn’t even give his dog the balls to chew on.

“It was cold. Some of those balls we were using you wouldn’t give to a dog to chew,” Evans told reporters.

“I mean, listen, it is what it is. It’s brutal. It’s so cold.

“I think the balls are the biggest thing. Maybe they got it a little wrong with the balls. It’s tough to get that ball to go anywhere.”

Nadal blasts ‘dangerous’ French Open change

Evans has joined a growing list of star players slamming the change on clay.

While the decision to change the ball was already known, Nadal felt the prevailing conditions had an even bigger impact.

Women’s star Victoria Azarenka walked off court after just three games in her opening match at the French Open on Sunday, fuming over the ‘ridiculous’ conditions on Day One.

Nadal had claimed the change was “dangerous” on the players’ bodies.

"(But) I really believe that the organisation need to take a look at that for the next couple of years, for the health of the players too, because the ball is super heavy. (It) becomes dangerous for the elbow and for the shoulders, I think."

Rafa Nadal (pictured) has criticised the new tennis balls used at this year's French Open. (Getty Images)
Rafa Nadal (pictured) has criticised the new tennis balls used at this year's French Open. (Getty Images)

Austria's newly-crowned US Open champion Dominic Thiem, who lost to Nadal in the final of the last two editions at Roland Garros, also prefers the ball used in previous editions.

"I practised two days at home with the ball. Now, of course, here. I'm a little bit sad because the Babolat at Roland Garros, it was my favourite ball, it was perfect," he said.

"Obviously it was the ball from my racket company. (It) was fast, was taking spin incredibly well. But the Wilson ball is good, as well. It's just a little bit slower. It gets a little bit bigger after a while."

World No.1 Novak Djokovic and teenage sensation Janick Sinner also noted how ‘heavy’ the balls were in ‘heavy’ and damp conditions.

With Reuters

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