‘Race against the rain’: French Open plays catch-up as foul weather wreaks havoc

Persistent rain and cold temperatures have thrown a wet blanket on the Paris Grand Slam tournament, leaving disgruntled fans starved of action and organisers racing to clear a backlog of matches – and more rain forecast in the days ahead.

Polish nationals Pavel and Justina were so thrilled with their experience at the French Open last year that they rushed to buy tickets for the 2024 edition as soon as sales opened in March.

They did not expect to manage just one match over two days – broken up into short spells of play and longer stretches of waiting in the rain.

Travelling from Gdansk with their daughter Maria, the trio saw just one hour of action on Court Simonne-Mathieu on Wednesday before rain stopped play, with their favourite Hubert Hurkacz a set down against Brandon Nakashima.

They returned the next day to see the No.8 seed from Poland clinch the following two sets, only for rain to again force an interruption with the players tied at 5-5 in the fourth.

“Last year was a real treat, but it’s been very frustrating this time,” said Pavel, wrapped in warm, waterproof clothing. “They’ve got sunshine and 28 degrees Celsius back in Poland, but the weather’s been filthy here in Paris.”

A protracted stretch of cold and wet weather has wreaked havoc at the French major, creating a huge backlog of matches and forcing organisers to refund thousands of ticket holders.

The sight of many empty seats in the VIP stands, a common grievance at this and other Grand Slam tournaments, added insult to injury.

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

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