"One of the worst conditions I've been part of...There is no rules": When Novak Djokovic rued 'hurricane' weather in French Open loss to Dominic Thiem

Dominic Thiem defeated Novak Djokovic at the 2019 French Open
Dominic Thiem defeated Novak Djokovic at the 2019 French Open

Novak Djokovic once expressed his frustration with the windy conditions during his 2019 French Open semifinal against Dominic Thiem. The Serb also bemoaned the lack of clarity regarding the rules in place for suspending matches in inclement weather.

That year, Djokovic entered the French Open as the top seed, on the hunt for his second title at the claycourt Major. The Serb beat the likes of Hubert Hurkacz, Jan-Lennard Struff and Alexander Zverev to set up a blockbuster semifinal clash with the 2018 runner-up Dominic Thiem.

The duo engaged in a closely contested battle amid challenging windy conditions. Thiem held a 6-2, 3-6, 3-1 lead when play was suspended due to the weather. When play resumed the next day, the Austrian clinched the third set 7-5. Despite Djokovic's valiant comeback effort, Thiem secured a hard-fought 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, 5-7, 7-5 victory after an hour-long delay caused by stormy conditions.

Following the loss, Novak Djokovic admitted that it was difficult to deliver his best performance amid the "hurricane" weather, emphasizing that the match became a battle for survival instead.

"Yeah, I mean, obviously when you're playing in hurricane kind of conditions, you know, it's hard to perform your best.
"You know, it's really just kind of surviving in these kind of conditions and trying to hold your serve and play, you know, one ball more than your opponent in the court," Djokovic said in his post-match press conference.

The Serb didn't mince words in criticizing the severe weather, describing it as one of the "worst" conditions he had encountered on court.

"One of the worst conditions I have ever been part of. That's all I can tell you," he said.

Djokovic also expressed his discontent with the lack of clear rules in place for determining when weather conditions warranted a suspension of the match, recounting his frustrating conversation with the tournament supervisor regarding this issue.

"There is no rules. What I was explained yesterday on the court in the first set when I asked the supervisor, he came on the court and he said as long as there are no flying objects coming to the court, we're good," he said.
"I didn't know that umbrella is not a flying object, which flew in in the first game of the match, but that's their decision. I guess they know tennis better," he added.

Novak Djokovic after 2019 French Open SF loss: "Dominic Thiem showed why he's one of the best players in the world, I wish him best for the final"

Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic embrace after 2018 French Open SF
Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic embrace after 2018 French Open SF

During the same press conference, Novak Djokovic heaped praise on Dominic Thiem for his performance in the 2019 French Open semifinal, graciously congratulating the Austrian on his win.

"I mean, I congratulate Dominic. He played great, especially in the important moments. Made some really good slices and passing shots. Yeah, he just managed to put one ball extra in the court at the end of the match," he said.

The Serb also shed light on how the windy weather conditions impacted the match, revealing that it gave a significant advantage to the player at one end of the court.

"Heavy forehands and down the wind from one side was much easier to play the entire match. Obviously when we came back the last time, there was a bit less wind, but still, it was a lot of advantage, so to say, playing from that one end," he said.

Nevertheless, he acknowledged Thiem as one of the best players in the world and extended his best wishes to the Austrian for the final.

"But, you know, congratulations to him. He's playing great tennis. He showed why he's one of the best players in the world, and I wish him best for the final," he added.

However, Dominic Thiem fell short in the final, as Rafael Nadal claimed a 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 victory to clinch his 12th French Open title.

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