Tennis: Ousted Denis Shapovalov takes swipe at French Open schedule, balls and bubble

Canada's Shapovalov reacts as he plays Roberto Carballes Baena of Spain.
Canada's Shapovalov reacts as he plays Roberto Carballes Baena of Spain.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

PARIS (REUTERS) - Denis Shapovalov joined the list of players griping about the French Open after bowing out of the singles in the second round on Thursday (Oct 1), venting his frustration at the scheduling, the courts, the weather and the bubble.

The Canadian, seeded nine, twice served for the match in the fifth set against 101st-ranked Roberto Carballes Baena of Spain but went down 7-5 6-7(5) 6-3 3-6 8-6 in five hours.

Shapovalov, 21, was slightly hampered by a hamstring strain and his mood was hardly helped as he was supposed to return to court shortly after with doubles partner Rohan Bopanna to take on compatriot Vasek Pospisil and American Jack Sock.

"Scheduling is absolutely awful," Shapovalov, usually one of the most engaging characters on the circuit, told reporters.

"After a five-hour match I have to play doubles now. It's just like, it's just complete trash scheduling. It's disappointing.

"I mean you're in a Grand Slam and I don't want to sound spoiled, but you expect at least some help from the tournament to help you compete. How am I supposed to come out and play doubles now after a five-hour match? It's a first round as well, they could have scheduled it way better."

Shapovalov arrived with high hopes after breaking into the world's top 10 but against a rock-solid Spaniard his expansive game became bogged down by the clammy claycourts and heavy balls that have have been a feature of the tournament, which was moved away from its usual May/June slot because of the pandemic.

"These conditions were completely stacked against me," Shapovalov, who reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final at the recent US Open, said.

"It's impossible to hit a winner with these balls. In my opinion, it shouldn't be that heavy and that difficult."

Shapovalov signed off by criticising the bio-secure bubble which is meant to help prevent any Covid-19 infections.

"Honestly, I think they're not doing a good job. There's really no bubble, especially in the second hotel, I heard," he said.

"You can leave the hotel, you can go to the city, there's no problem, there's nobody stopping you.

"New York was done way better."