SINGAPORE - Former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli on Thursday (June 2) defended the decision of French Open organisers to allow play to carry on despite unfavourable weather conditions.
Several top players, including Agnieszka Radwanska and Simona Halep, had complained about being forced to play in the rain, which had made the lines slippery and balls heavy. Both lost their rain-interrupted match on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, American star Venus Williams supported her fellow Women's Tennis Association players and said the conditions on Tuesday were unplayable .
But Bartoli, who reached a career-high ranking of seventh in 2012, said that while she empathised with the vanquished players, it is part of their job to cope with the damp playing conditions.
The 31-year-old Frenchwoman told the Singapore media in a phone interview from Paris: "Of course it's difficult, we've all been through this at one point. My match against Jelena Jankovic at Wimbledon in 2007 was interrupted nine times.
"I think it was playable, it was tricky and difficult for players. You have to learn to play under tough conditions... It's part of your job, you must be ready for it. That's why we practice and train so hard every day - to be ready for this."
Bartoli also tipped world No. 1 and defending champion Serena Williams to win her fourth French Open title and equal German legend Steffi Graf's Open Era record of 22 Grand Slam titles. The top-seeded American trounced 18th seed Elina Svitolina 6-1, 6-1 to progress to the quarter-finals.
Said Bartoli, now a pundit for Fox Sports: "The way she was playing against Svitolina one of the best I've seen her play for a long while. When Serena is playing her best, she is the top player in the women's game, no doubt about that. I put her as my favourite to win the Grand Slam."