‘Nice for the crowd, tougher for players’: Alex Corretja explains how night matches will shake up French Open
Crowds at the French Open will experience night matches this year, after they were introduced mostly behind closed doors. It leaves Wimbledon as the only Grand Slam which does not deliberately schedule late matches. Eurosport expert Alex Corretja explains how the schedule change may be good for the crowd - but maybe not the players. Stream the 2022 French Open live and on-demand on discovery+
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Two-time French Open runner-up Alex Corretja says night matches at the French Open will throw up a level of unpredictability as they return for 2022 - but in front of crowds for the first time.
The scheduling change was introduced for the first time last year but the matches were played behind closed doors due to Covid curfews, meaning some of the best encounters were missed by paying spectators.
But Eurosport expert Corretja says while it is good for the fans, players may struggle to adapt to a change in condition - and they will have less time to recover, too.
Organisers at Roland-Garros brought in the change in 2021, matching the success of the US Open and Australian Open, leaving Wimbledon as the only Grand Slam which does not deliberately schedule night matches.
But because of Covid curfew rules in Paris at the time, no-one could watch the match inside the Philippe-Chatrier until the final day they were scheduled. Even then, when the curfew was extended, a quarter-final between Novak Djokovic and Matteo Berrettini had to be halted to kick out fans at 11pm, with the players finishing in front of empty stands.
How do night matches work at the French Open?
Tournament officials will schedule what they deem to be the biggest match of the day to be played at 9pm local time (8pm BST) on Philippe-Chatrier, for the first 10 days. Organisers say the night matches are “back with a vengeance” and believe it adds an extra dimension to the order of play.
Unlike the US Open and Australian Open, only one night match will be played, on one court.
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