It rained all day in Paris, which would mean the first washout at the French Open in 16 years. Roger Federer's fans might be relieved, as the Swiss opted to skip the second Grand Slam tournament of the year in favor of the grass-court season. He might have been in the upper half of the draw, and he would have risked injury.
As any player would tell, playing under soggy condition could be difficult. This may be a sign of what will happen this weekend, but it will be better not to reveal it. As past results have shown, anything can happen in Roland Garros. There are some things that are beyond control, the weather being one of them. Former player Guy Forget, the tournament director, is understandably frustrated about the situation.
"We cannot be like this for many more years. We hope to have the roof by 2020." he said.
This was the case at Wimbledon, where rain interruption was a usual scenario. (Two days of the 1997 Wimbledon Championships were washed out by rain, which forced the All-England Club to schedule play during the middle Sunday.) A retractable roof on Centre Court was completed on 2009, which would mean two things. There won't be any disruption of the marquee matches, and it would be possible to have night matches. The retractable roof on Court One will be finished on 2019, which might prompt the French Tennis Federation to consider a (retractable) roof on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
The completion of the retractable roof would be one of the most memorable moments in Wimbledon, with the fourth-round encounter between Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka as the first full-length match to be played under the floodlights. Wimbledon can be synonymous to history, and fans have seen it one too many. Let's count it:
One-time slam wonders. Pat Cash (1987), Michael Stich (1993), and Richard Krajicek (1996) won their only Grand Slam singles title at the All-England Club during the Open Era. It would be Conchita Martinez, Jana NovotnÃ¡, and Marion Bartoli on the women's side.
These players raised their first major trophy at the All-England Club. Boris Becker was 17 years of age when he hoisted the silver gilt cup in 1985. Federer was five years older when he won his first in 2003, which would be followed by more during the next six years. Martina Navratilova had a love affair with Wimbledon, winning her first (of nine singles titles) in 1978.
Goran IvaniÅ¡eviÄ‡ won the 2001 Wimbledon Championships. No one could recall the last time the men's singles final was played on a Monday. (You must be old to know it.) And Goran IvaniÅ¡eviÄ‡ was a wildcard. He reached the finals on three occasions, and he was two months shy of 30. It might have been his final chance to win his only major singles title. The rain interruptions turned out to be signs of a good omen for him.
Chris Evert might have wished for a different result. Chris Evert won seven French Open singles titles, a record that may never be broken. She also reached the Wimbledon on ten occasions, winning three times. It was an Open Era record. Navratilova beat her on five different times. The American would have wanted a fourth (or fifth) title.
Rafael Nadal won his first Wimby title in 2008. The 2008 men's singles finals would be remembered for the fading sunlight, which the spectators didn't mind at all. Nadal defeated Federer in nearly five hours, the longest finals ever. Everyone knew it won't happen again, as the retractable roof was completed the following year.